Woman reading a book while sitting at the dining table

Healthy eating and portion control during meals out

We all love going out for a meal, but if you’re trying to eat healthy, a dinner with friends, a family breakfast or a lunchtime get together can be a challenge. But, with these simple tricks, you can make eating out a fun part of a healthy lifestyle.

1. Read the menu before you settle on a restaurant

When you know what a restaurant offers, you can avoid unhealthy places. And if you choose your meal before you arrive at the restaurant, you are more likely not to succumb to temptation because you’re hungry or distracted.

2. Have a healthy snack before your meal

This will make you less likely to order an unhealthy meal on an impulse, and less likely to overeat.

3. Choose wisely

Consider this when you’re browsing the menu: steamed and poached food is less likely to be kilojoule-rich than deep fried, so it should be healthier for you.

4. Order your meal before others

When other people are choosing the unhealthy option it is easy to be swayed. Don’t give yourself the opportunity; order first (you might even help your friends go healthy!).

5. Share dessert

Yes, we know dessert is the best bit, but if you need to hit the sweet spot, pick something with fresh fruit or share your dessert.

6. Get saucey on the side

Sauces and dressings often contain a significant amount of sugar or fat, that can turn an otherwise healthy meal unhealthy. Control your intake by ordering them on the side or avoiding creamy sauces.

7. Go halves

Many restaurants offer big serving sizes, but by splitting a meal with a friend you can halve your kilojoule intake (and your cost).

8. Stick to water

Drinking soft drinks or alcoholic drinks is a sure-fire way to bump up your kilojoule intake, so stick to water as it contains no kilojoules and is the ultimate thirst-quencher.

9. All-you-can-eat is not your friend

All-you-can-eat buffets may seem like good value and kids love them, but they make it virtually impossible to control your portions, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re trying to be healthy.