The key to eating out and watching your diet is to find a happy medium between enjoying yourself and enjoying healthier food options – follow these simple tips to help you keep an eye on your weight and waist when eating out:

Order small portions

Most restaurants serve oversized portions, so:

  • Order half a portion or share with a friend;
  • Select from the starter menu instead and order a side salad if you feel it’s not enough; or
  • Just remember you don’t have to finish your meal, just eat what you want and leave the rest.

Eat slowly

To prevent overeating, chew your food more slowly and put your knife and fork down between bites. This will help you feel fuller in a shorter period of time.

Keep away from the high fat menu options. 

Focus on avoiding high fat dishes as much as possible, so avoid:

  • Sauces, gravies, bread toppings, salad dressing and fried foods
  • Dishes with cheese, sour cream, cream, avocado and butter
  • Choose grilled or baked dishes, rather than fried or roasted versions
  • Ask for toppings, sauces and dressings to be served on the side; then just add sparingly yourself

Order salads
Salads are an excellent choice as they are low in fat and help you to meet your vitamin and mineral requirements

  • Salad can be made into a balanced, healthy meal if it includes bread and sources of protein (low-fat cheese; tuna; chicken etc.)
  • Check the contents of the salad on the menu and ask the waiter to omit certain high fat foods from your salad, such as high-fat cheeses & avocado
  • Ask for the dressing to be served separately and then add it yourself sparingly and to taste
  • Order whole-wheat bread instead of white bread

Choose smart side orders 

  • Choose vegetables in season, a salad or baked potato, rather than chips or onion rings
  • Avoid cream based side dishes
  • For baked potatoes and other dishes with toppings avoid butter, sour cream and cream or cheese options – try mustard, yoghurt or some grated mozzarella instead

Order wisely at these restaurants:

Steak houses – Steak portions are usually very big. Share a steak with a friend or order a small portion.
Italian restaurants – Avoid pizzas and cream based pastas.
Japanese restaurants – and other oriental restaurants serve a variety of low fat, healthy foods. Stir-fries with noodles or rice and vegetables, beef or chicken skewers, miso soup
and sushi are good options. Avoid spring rolls and deep-fried foods.