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Just because you are eating out at a restaurant doesn’t mean you should leave good food sense behind. Here are some useful tips that will help you eat healthy when dining out.

  1. Before going out make sure you know what kind of diet you are following. If you are banting, paleo or following a balanced plan at home then you need to follow the same thing when eating out.
  2. If you’re going to a familiar restaurant and know what’s on the menu, decide what you’re going to eat before you go. That will help you avoid the temptation of ordering meals high in fat, high in refined carbs, etc
  3. Try to avoid restaurants that offer “all you can eat buffets” or “buy one get one free” because you’re more likely to eat more food (calories) than you need.
  4. Ask your waiter what the healthiest choices on the menu are. Don’t be scared to ask how particular foods are prepared or what ingredients they contain if it doesn’t state clearly on the menu.
  5. Avoid ordering before the meal “extras” like sugary cocktails, starters and AVOID the bread basket as these are all sources of extra calories.
  6. When ordering a salad, it is important to remember that salads shouldn’t be full of processed sauces. Keep it tasty but healthy. That means avoiding anything in a creamy sauce such as coleslaw, pasta salads, and potato salads. Rather add olive oil or balsamic vinegar (or both) yourself and skip the dressings.
  7. Ask for salad dressings, sauces and gravies to be served on the side, so you can control how much you are eating. many sauces are thickenied with refined starches which are not ideal or contain huge amounts of fats.
  8. Drink water throughout the meal as it will help you eat slower and full you up before your plate is finished.
  9. It’s important to understand what’s on the menu. Make sure you read the menu properly. Look out for these words fried, au gratin, breaded, pan-fried, sautéed, etc. If they are used to describe a meal, BE CAREFUL… the meal will be packed with loads of fat and calories. Rather look for foods that are steamed, baked, grilled, poached or roasted.
  10. Choose main meals that consist of seafood, lean meat and chicken and avoid processed meats.
  11. Ask for it your way, it is okay to be an assertive consumer. If the menu item is fried ask if you can have it grilled or ask the chef to prepare the food with less processed oil.
  12. The menu will usually state if small portions are available. If smaller portions aren’t available share a starter or main meal with a friend or partner otherwise ask for a takeaway box and take half home.
  13. Skip the rich desserts.These are loaded with unhealthy fats and refined sugars.

It is important to remember that consumer behaviour strongly influences what restaurants choose to serve, so if you want healthier choices, ask the restaurant to add healthy options to their menus.