Tips for Eating Out

31 January 2024 by Michelle Meyer

Tips for Eating Out

Article by Michelle Meyer, FNTP

Eating out used to only be done on special occasions. However, restaurants are becoming more and more the preference for a lot in place of their home cooked meals.

Although eating out is tempting with the choices available. However, many restaurants offer plenty of lighter options, so eating out can still be healthy.

Here are some nutritional tips help you to order the right foods for you:


Eating Protein and a vegetable based breakfast will leave you feeling satisfied and alert. E.g., Eggs, boiled or poached, fried and scrambled can be had with Mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, Smoked salmon, Sautéed greens, avocado. If fruit is what you want fresh berries with yogurt and seeds and nuts is a great choice. If you have toast, ask for wholemeal, Sourdough, homemade or rye bread.

By avoiding the sugary pastries, muffins, bagels etc. you will prevent the after breakfast sugar blues.


Try to limit your starchy food, as these will make you feel sleepy. These are pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread. Make these foods your side dish and not the main part of the meal. In addition, try making sure these are wholegrain products. Light dishes like chicken, fish, omelettes, sushi, stir-fries, and salads will leave you satisfied and energised for the rest of the day


If you are eating late try eat a substantial snack towards the end of the afternoon to avoid feeling too hungry by the time you get to the restaurant that you end up eating too much. Again, go for lighter type meals with grilled meats, fish and chicken with vegetables or salad. Ask for no dressing and add olive oil and balsamic instead..

Tips to a Memorable Meal Out:

  • Ignore any crisps, nuts, breads on the table; occupy yourself by drinking water. Ask for lemon and add to your water, still or sparkling.
  • Order a light meal like grilled meats, fish or chicken or those cooked in wine or tomato rather than thick creamy sauces.
  • Order salads and plenty of vegetables accompaniments. Ask for dressings to be served on the side.
  • Try starting with a salad as this will curb the hunger pangs and set you up for a light and good main meal.
  • The best salad dressing is Oil and balsamic vinegar.
  • Order bottled water, mineral water instead of fizzy soda type drinks. These add many calories and sugar to your meal.
  • Keep it simple; choose dishes with fewer ingredients over mixtures that are more complicated.
  • Go for soups, especially lentil, split pea, and other bean and vegetable soups; fish, salad, potatoes, and vegetables.
  • Take it easy on pre-prepared salads and sandwiches with a lot of commercial mayonnaise.
  • In ethnic restaurants, you have a variety of choices. From a Japanese menu, choose sushi, spinach (oshitashi), rice-cucumber rolls (kappamaki), cold or hot tofu appetisers; miso soup, casseroles; such as the yosenabe (fish and vegetables in broth); soba (buckwheat) noodles with variety of choices.
  • In Chinese restaurants, mixed vegetables, noodles, scallops, fresh fish, chicken and broccoli, and similar dishes are among the better choices. You may want to request no MSG. Most dishes are cooked to order with exception of soup, dumplings, egg rolls, etc. There are vast amount of vegetarian type foods available. Ask for unpolished brown rice if available
  • In Indian restaurants, make sure you order dahl. It will complement the abundance of vegetarian dishes and white rice with important vegetable protein from the beans. You may want to be a bit cautious of the very hot dishes and with the naan breads and poppadum's. Brown rice again would complete the meal. Tomato based sauces or biryani are good choices.
  • Mexican, Brazilian, and other Latin American restaurants generally offer rice, corn and bean dishes. There are some vegetables, soups, and salads. There are a number of healthy choices.
  • Italian restaurants have great soups, such as minestrone, vegetable etc. Pasta is made from white flour; however, some are offering whole-wheat and gluten free pasta now. Go for tomato-based, clam or pesto sauces with protein. Most Italian restaurants have fish, chicken and meat dishes.
  • In French restaurants poached fish, vegetables and salads are all available.
  • If you are having desert, skip pies and pastries. Opt for desserts like cheese plate without the biscuits, poached fruits and sorbets rather than ice cream. Even better, end the meal off with an herbal infusion.
  • Whether eating out or in, if your food is not good. Do not eat it. If this will cause offence, eat a small amount.
  • Keep your alcohol intake down and sip on plenty of water.
  • Do not be embarrassed to ask for your food to be specially cooked. You are paying for the meal and you do not want to be paying for it with your health.
  • Remember, if you feel like something in particular or you do not like anything on the menu, ask. Most restaurants will be able to make up something for you.
  • When the meal arrives and you see that the meal is far too big. So that you are not tempted to eat everything on your plate, ask for half of your meal to be wrapped up, before you start.
  • Share with friends, share an entrée and a salad or starter between two.
  • Take your time and enjoy your meal. Chew and taste the meal.

Study Nutrition

Michelle Meyer

I specialise in one on one programs, bringing bio-individuality and personalisation to the program. My unique approach incorporates Functional Nutritional Therapy which enables me to assist clients re-balance their bodies and prevent any deficiencies and dysfunction.