How to eat out healthily

Food Lilianas-EJTF-9W6A8217Susan Garrad

Eating out at your favourite restaurant or cafe needn’t be unhealthy. If you’re watching your weight you may feel anxious that by eating out all your hard work will go down the drain. Admittedly, it is easy to overeat or eat high-fat meals in restaurants because there is no way to control the preparation.

However, most restaurants and cafes these days have a wide variety of meals that will easily fit into your plan and still allow you to enjoy yourself, without making you feel like you are missing out. The key is to plan ahead, identify healthy choices and learn which restaurants offer low-fat, healthy food. You need to be creative in your choices and take the opportunity to spoil yourself if your budget allows.

Here are some tips to eating out that may help.

Skills and Strategies:

Select the restaurant carefully – avoid restaurants that serve exclusively fried foods, you know the ones I mean.

Call ahead to find out what is on the menu.

Exercise portion control – steer clear of menu descriptions such as jumbo, grande or king-size.

Make an attitude adjustment – eating out doesn’t have to mean blowing your diet. Have the belief that dining out can be healthy and enjoyable at the same time.


Food Lilianas-EJTF-9W6A8226

Special Requests:

Don’t be afraid to make special requests; most restaurants are happy to help. Here are some examples:

Order salad dressing, sauces and butter on the side to control the amount you eat.

Ask for a side salad with French dressing or steamed vegetables to accompany your meal.

Request that foods be baked, steamed or poached instead of fried.

Ask to substitute a baked potato for chips.

Tell the waiter ahead of time not to bring the dessert menu at the end of the meal, or have a fruit platter for dessert.

Don’t eat all your meal if you’re full – ask the waiter to bring you a doggy bag and take it home to enjoy the next day.

Don’t have the bread roll or garlic bread.

If the dish comes wrapped in pastry, just leave the pastry behind.

Avoid dishes that are rice or pasta-based as these are the most fattening.

Choose tomato-based sauces rather than cream-based sauces. Low fat sauces include marinara, provencal, ginger soy, mustard, wine, ratatouille. High fat sauces include cream sauce, au gratin, lemon and butter, carbonara, cheese sauce, hollandaise, peanut sauce, tartare sauce.

Tactics to avoid overeating:

Choose soup and salad or an entree and salad instead of a main course. Or have two entrees.

Split a main course with your dining companion.

If you’re eating out in a group order one or two main courses fewer than the number of people dining and share.

Request a doggie bag at the beginning of the meal and immediately set aside a portion to take home.

Healthy choices you can’t go wrong with:

Oysters natural with a squeeze of lemon (a dozen of course)

Barbecue octopus salad, smoked salmon

Grilled lobster, Balmain bug, fresh seafood platter (no chips or batter)

Prawn and avocado salad

Chicken Caesar salad (ask to leave the croutons out and dressing on the side)

Soup of the day (no bread)

Stir-fried vegetables and meat, chicken or fish

Fish of the day – so long as it’s not deep fried

Roast lamb, beef, pork, chicken or quail

Any meat, fish, poultry dish that is pan-fried, baked or grilled.

Bon appétit!

Naturopath Susan Garrad is the Director of Women’s Health, Naturally Bangalow. 


Recent stories tagged Food & Wine:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Vast Furniture & Homewares Ballina and Falls Festival Byron Bay.