Everyone enjoys a meal out every now and then right? Well being on a ‘healthy eating/clean eating’ plan doesn’t have to stop you enjoying your meals out, you just have to make smart choices. It can be hard with such a huge amount of choices on where to eat out and it can difficult to control your options (friend has organised a dinner and it’s not somewhere you would’ve chosen), and even worse, sometimes all the ingredients aren’t listed on the menu. These days, most restaurants have a website, which can also include their menu. If you want to be prepared, you may want to check it out. Or if you get to choose the restaurant it could be great help in choosing a healthy one! One of the main issues with some restaurants and eating out, is portion size – whether that be what you have been served up, or you decide to have 3 courses, rather than 2! Here are some tips to help making eating out healthy!

Some general guidelines:

  • Swap chips for salad or vegetables
  • Skip the bread basket
  • Ask for dressing on the side
  • Don’t order anything that is deep fried! If you wanted to, you could always ask them if it’s possible to pan fry or      grill instead.
  • Don’t be shy to ask questions about a meal or take/swap something over. Most places are happy to help.
  • If you are going to have 3 courses – share and entree & desert with someone, or have 2 entrees – one for entree and      one for main
  • You don’t have to eat everything on your plate. Remember to eat slowly and chew your food. When you are full, stop!
  • It’s not just what you eat that you have to be mindful of, it’s also what you drink when you are out! If you are going to have a glass of wine, enjoy it with a meal. Make sure you drink lots of water throughout the night as well. Moderation remember!

Another thing to remember is if you are only eating out 1-2 times  a week, you could use those outings as your ‘treat meals’. I recommend you only be ‘good’ 80/90% of the time. You do need to enjoy a few treats every now and then, so you know that you aren’t missing out on anything. Just plan your ‘treat’ meals, look forward to them! But also, one of the key things is to listen to your body. For example, sometimes I think mmmm, I might have a glass of wine on Friday night to reward myself for getting through the week. Friday comes and I don’t actually feel like a glass of wine! So guess what, I don’t have it! The same goes with having desert, having some chocolate, having whatever your treat of choice is. Just think about moderation and don’t go overboard.  Be conscious of your portions and enjoy your treat. Below I have outlined a few of the popular eating out cuisines and how to chose some healthier options when there:

THAI

Thai food is great for fresh spices and amazing flavours (it’s one of my favourites!).

Stay away from Try:
Prawn crackers Grilled calamari
Roti bread Tom Yum Soup or a variation
Rice (jasmine, fried etc) Rice noodles
Curry’s – only because you can’t be sure of what   is actually in it. If you are making it at home, you know what is going into   it! Stir fry’s or anything sautéed
Salads
Pad Thai’s can be hit and miss, again depending   on the ingredients used and the oil it is cooked in.

 INDIAN

Indian has its good and bad points – as most cuisines do. Indians tend to cook with a lot of butter and have lots of rice and breads but the spices and flavours can be amazing! If you stick to lean proteins, legumes, and even a bit of coconut milk is fine, you will be ok!

Stay away from Try:
Anything fried! Papadums, samosa’s etc Non creamy curry’s – coconut milk is ok.
Fried or stuffed breads Tandoori chicken – because its cooked in an oven   and covered in spices.
Rice Kebab’s are usually ok, just be aware of the   sauces
Cream based curries Daal is ok as well

 ITALIAN

Stay away from Try:
Pizza Unless they offer a gluten free base
Pasta Most Italian places these days offer gluten free   pasta
Risotto – less the cheese
Grilled calamari or fish etc
Anything fried
Creamy sauces Tomato/veggie based sauces (if you have gluten   free pasta)
Creamy mains – parma’s etc

CHINESE

Chinese food tends to be high in sodium (salt) and fat and there are usually a lot of fried options! However, if you choose right, you will be OK.

Stay away from Try:
Fried options – some are fried before being added   to sauces Steamed dishes
Thick, heavy sauces San choy bow – sauce on side
White rice Brown rice – only have a small portion though.
Dumplings Stir Fry’s
Fried rice

 JAPANESE

Japanese is usually a healthy option when eating out. It is generally lower in fat, just be mindful of salt content (esp with soy sauce!) Tseng explains, “Japanese cuisine is generally lighter and lower in fat content. However, consumers must keep in mind that it may be higher in sodium. Like many Asian cuisines, Japanese cuisine uses soy sauce in addition to salt to flavor the food.”  Tseng suggests using half of your normal intake of soy sauce if low-sodium soy sauce isn’t available. Look for high-nutrient menu items such as edamamemiso soup, or soba (buckwheat) noodles.

 Stay away from Try:
Sushi – have a bit, but not too much because of   the rice! Edamame
Anything deep fried – including tempura & ice   cream! Miso Soup
Rice Soba noodles
Sashimi
Tepanyaki
Grilled dishes
Stir Fry dishes

 MIXED CUISINE RESTAURANT/CAFE’S

There are lots of restaurants/cafes these days that have a bit of everything. These are usually a great option when dining out to

Stay away from Try:
Burgers Have a burger without the bun
Chips Sweet potato chips
Anything deep fried Salads
Risotto – less the cheese
Grilled options
Pan fried options

 BREAKFAST

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day and I love going out for breakfast/brunch on a weekend. It is usually really easy to eat a healthy breakfast when eating out (just watch those portions!):

Stay away from Try:
The Big breakfast Take off the deep fried things, the sausages etc   and you would be ok!
Pancakes with ice cream and maple syrup Sour dough with poached eggs and smoked salmon
French toast Omelette (no cheese), add spinach, tomato, mushrooms   etc
Muesli – will most likely be full of sugar Veggie breakfast – eggs, sourdough, spinach, avo,   tomato, mushrooms
Any other bread but sour dough

 So there are lots of options to choose from when eating out, make smart, healthy choices and enjoy yourself.

About The Author

Amanda is a mum to 2 year old Chelsea, a Personal Trainer and owns her own Women’s Only Outdoor Fitness Business, Blue Sky Health & Fitness, based in Melbourne.  Blue Sky Fitness offers Women of all ages, sizes and abilities a supportive & friendly environment in which to get fit, get healthy & be happy (but it’s also challenging!)  For more information on Blue Sky Health & Fitness classes, please visit www.blueskyfitness.com.au

Amanda has recently launched Mummy Bootcamp @ Home, to help women (mums in particular) lose weight, tone up & feel great about themselves.  For more information on the 28 Day Body & Mind Transformation Bootcamp visit www.mummybootcampathome.com.au

 

  1. 12th September 2014 at 12:56 pm,

    MoM Rewards: buggeritliz has a sapphire MoM rewards level buggeritliz said:

    Got it! Got it! Got it! Now need to do it! I love the swap choices. It’s do-able.

  2. ginoula5

    12th August 2014 at 1:32 pm,

    MoM Rewards: ginoula5 has a diamond MoM rewards level ginoula5 said:

    Great swap ideas when eating out, thanks for sharing.

  3. 11th August 2014 at 2:41 pm,

    MoM Rewards: june11 has a diamond MoM rewards level june11 said:

    If you are on a fat free diet and ask for steamed or grilled fish, make sure they don’t add anything to the surface of it when serving. A relative of mine had a gall bladder problem but had an infection in it and had to wait for surgery. As she had recovered and these was a special family occasion they went out to dinner and she had steamed fish. She was unaware that what they had added had fat in it. She was so ill that night that the Dr. sent her to hospital to be monitored and put on IV fluids.

  4. 11th August 2014 at 2:36 pm,

    MoM Rewards: june11 has a diamond MoM rewards level june11 said:

    Bear in mind that some salads contain a lot of carbohydrates or fat in their dressings. This is very important if you are Diabetic or have other problems that may be worsened.

    1. 11th August 2014 at 2:51 pm,

      MoM Rewards: june11 has a diamond MoM rewards level june11 said:

      Some take-away / eat-in hamburger places will allow you to supply an ordinary or gluten free roll if you explain your medical dietary needs and they put their fillings in them for you. This is OK for a treat or when travelling and carry rolls with you. I know for a fact that some McDonalds in Adelaide do it, not sure about all of them. Some other banners refuse to do it.
      Some resturants do gluten free meals. Some which have vegetable and salad bars have gluten free salads. Some welcome you asking which ones or any type of medical diet do not contain ingredients you are not permitted. You can ask to speak to the chefs and most will oblige. I made enquiries via internet/google at a couple of restruants beforehand. One actually emailed me a list of gluten free salads and other meals.



  5. krissy333

    31st July 2014 at 7:40 pm,

    MoM Rewards: krissy333 has a diamond MoM rewards level krissy333 said:

    that was an interesting read, think i’ll show my husband!

  6. eestigirl

    18th June 2014 at 5:20 am,

    MoM Rewards: eestigirl has a diamond MoM rewards level eestigirl said:

    We don’t often eat out but I love eating out at a restaurant with friends when we select dishes for the table and serve ourselves. Everybody is in control of what goes on their plate.

  7. Dennis12

    8th June 2014 at 2:49 pm,

    MoM Rewards: angeladennis has a diamond MoM rewards level angeladennis said:

    Great article, lots of tips to try

  8. twinmum2

    31st May 2014 at 8:59 pm,

    MoM Rewards: twinmum2 has a diamond MoM rewards level twinmum2 said:

    I always thught sushi was healthy, now I’ll have to rethink and have sashimi instead. Thanks for the advice.

  9. kazh

    30th May 2014 at 9:29 pm,

    MoM Rewards: kazh has a diamond MoM rewards level kazh said:

    Good story. Thanks for the advice.

  10. 30th May 2014 at 3:01 pm,

    MoM Rewards: scottie has a diamond MoM rewards level scottie said:

    it is the drinks that usually get me!

  11. mom57522

    28th May 2014 at 10:26 pm,

    MoM Rewards: mom57522 has a diamond MoM rewards level mom57522 said:

    Never miss dessert, my favourite part of dinner.

  12. missmel

    27th May 2014 at 2:30 pm,

    MoM Rewards: missmel has a diamond MoM rewards level missmel said:

    Fantastic tips, thank you for these!

  13. catgrrl3

    22nd May 2014 at 1:57 pm,

    MoM Rewards: catgrrl3 has a diamond MoM rewards level catgrrl3 said:

    thanks for these great substitutes, will have to keep them in mind,

  14. Happymum-2

    16th May 2014 at 12:32 pm,

    MoM Rewards: Happymum-2 has a diamond MoM rewards level Happymum-2 said:

    I tend to just enjoy, when I go out because it doesn’t happen very often

  15. 15th May 2014 at 11:53 pm,

    MoM Rewards: sarah_wardleworth has a sapphire MoM rewards level sarah_wardleworth said:

    Good read thanks for the information

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