Check out my tips to help you make healthier choices when eating out at a restaurant or cafe.
Some easy swaps you could try:
swap pies, bacon and sausages for healthier protein, such as lean cuts of meat, pulses, chicken without the skin, and lean meats like ham or fish (not fried)
swap cream and cheese sauces for tomato and vegetable sauces
swap fried rice (such as egg-fried rice) for plain boiled rice
swap chips and creamy mashed potatoes for baked, boiled or steamed potatoes with their skins on
swap cakes, chocolate creamy puddings and ice cream for fruit salads or other fruit-based desserts and lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurts
swap vegetables served with butter, oily dressings or mayonnaise for steamed vegetables served plain
swap alcohol or a fizzy drink for a glass of still or sparkling water mixed with some fruit juice – remember, even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so limit yourself to 150ml of fruit juice or smoothies each day (drinking fruit juice with a meal or diluting it with water can reduce the impact it has on your teeth).
Healthy menu tips:
More and more restaurants are putting the energy content in their food and drink on their menus or websites.
Find out more about keeping track of your calories.
Healthy tips when eating out include:
ask for salt not to be added to your meal during cooking or preparation
avoid snacking on bread and nibbles before your main meal arrives
don’t order too much – you can always order more later if necessary
bulk up your meal with a side order of low-calorie steamed vegetables
ask for sauces to be served separately so you can eat less
avoid large or super-sized meal options
Tips when ordering dessert:
share one dessert between two
swap cream or chocolate desserts for fruit-based desserts, such as apple crumble
Instead of having ice cream or cream with your dessert, ask for fruit purée or plain yoghurt.
Healthy lunch on the go:
avoid salads prepared with mayonnaise or covered in oily dressings – examples include coleslaw, potato salads and some pasta salads
check the calories and the fat, sugar and salt on the nutrition label of pre-packed salads
choose salads with dressings sold separately so you can control how much you eat
choose brown, wholemeal or higher-fibre breads
check the calories and the fat, sugar and salt on the nutrition label of pre-packed sandwiches
you may not need to use butter, spread or mayonnaise if your choice of sandwich filling is moist
bulk up your sandwich with vegetables, like tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber
healthier sandwich fillings include turkey, chicken, tuna, seafood (such as prawn and crayfish), avocado, reduced-fat hummus and a hard-boiled egg
lower-fat cheeses include edam, emmental, gruyère, mozzarella and lower-fat cream cheese
with sandwich meal deals, choose water and fruit or yoghurt if they’re available, rather than sugary drinks and crisps
Hot food tips:
healthier fillings for baked potatoes include baked beans, cottage cheese, tuna and sweetcorn, vegetarian chilli con carne and ratatouille – avoid adding butter or sour cream, which are high in fat and calories, and be wary of ready-mixed fillings, which can be high in fat and salt
with pasta, opt for tomato or vegetable-based sauces, which count towards your 5 A Day and are lower in calories and fat than cheese- and cream-based sauces, and avoid adding cheese to your pasta
go for soups with chunky vegetables – have it with a wholemeal bread roll to make it a filling meal (check out our vegetable soup recipe if you want something to make at home and take to work.