Kirsten Crothers | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 10 March 2015

How To Eat Healthily In A Restaurant (Without Ordering Boring Food)

The Debrief: There's no need to order a side salad or tap water. Here's how to have a yummy meal without cutting back

The days of eating out for the odd treat have changed, and now many people are eating out several times a week, no matter how bad it is for your bank balance. The problem with this, though, is how to balance not being disappointed with your meal while still eating healthilyy. Here are five tips to make life a little easier:

Find out how your food is being cooked

You actually can have the same food but for a few hundred calories less. Win-win situation, right?

Any food which is fried, even if it is was originally healthy, becomes instantly higher in calories. This is because it soaks up the fat it is cooked in. Contrary to belief, ANY fat (olive oil/lard/butter, etc) is around 100 calories per tablespoon. If you think of how many tablespoons of olive oil you would use to cook a simple healthy stir-fry, this can soon rack up before you’ve even considered what was in your food originally.

How do you go about finding out how the food on the menu is cooked? Restaurants are trying to become ever more fancy, and sometimes decoding the description on the menu can be similar to learning a new language.

So to make things easier….

BAD words: fried, crispy, battered, tempura, golden or crunchy

GOOD words: baked (no, not Baked Alaska), grilled, steamed, poached, boiled or slow-cooked


If you were ever obsessed with the TV series Friends then you’ll recognise the phrase ‘Joey doesn’t share food.’ However, I suggest that you do. It’s a top way to make sure you don’t have to skip on the ‘treat’ foods. If you want that lovely-looking, mouth-watering, chocolate brownie – just halve it with a friend. A problem shared is a problem halved, and with that your calorie, fat and sugar consumption, too.

Turn up fed and watered

Eating before you turn up for a meal might sound stupid, but when eating out in the evening, we generally eat a lot later than if just going straight home. This means that by the time you get to the restaurant, generally you are so hungry that a) you’re never in a million years going to pick a healthy dish and b) you’ll both order and eat way more food than you need.

Equally, if you’re in any way dehydrated, your body will get confused and think you’re hungrier than you actually are. So to solve this problem, have a pint of water and a cereal bar before you go out for your meal.

Change your side dish

By changing what you choose as a side, you could be saving around 400 calories. So for instance, ask the waiter if you can have a portion of mixed vegetables (around 50 calories) or a small baked potato (around 140 calories) with your steak, instead of a portion of chips (around 450 calories).

Go veggie

Times have changed. No longer does having a vegetarian meal mean the choice of one meal resembling a large side salad. These days you will find several different veggie options on the menu and there are even entirely vegetarian/vegan restaurants popping up now. A veggie dish avoids a lot of that nasty saturated fat found in animal products, is higher in vitamins and fibre and will often provide several of your five-a-day.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

How To Be Dairy Free Whether You’re Allergic Or Just Fancy A Break From The Cow

Here’s Your Next Healthy Under-A-Fiver Lunch To Make For This Week

Mukbang: South Korea Takes Instagramming Your Meal To Another Level

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @Food_Treatment or over on her website .

Picture: @detoxkitchen

Tags: Going Out, Food Glorious Food