Skip navigation and jump to content
Welcome to Ireland's Youth Information Website
Follow us
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Snapchat

Accessibility Options

High Contrast Text Size

How to survive eating out healthily

Try these tips for a better dining experience


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


Share this article -

Eating out and going for lunch or dinner with friends is a great way to catch up and socialise. With things like family gatherings and birthdays, it can get hard to avoid eating out, and it can be tough to deal with if you’re trying to eat healthily. 

If you are eating out and you want to try and go for a healthier option, here are some things to keep in mind. Even if your meal choice isn't the healthiest on the menu, there are a few changes you could ask for to make it better.

Healthier options when eating out

If you know what kind of restaurant you're going to next, you can look at these tips to help you make your choice:

Italian

  • Try a thin crust pizza loaded up vegetables and get a side salad.
  • Pasta is a good option and very filling. Try one with vegetables and without a cream sauce.
  • For a healthier option go for tomato-based sauces made with vegetables, fish or lean meat, instead of the butter, cream and cheese-based sauces.

Chinese

  • Rice – go for boiled or steamed over fried
  • Stir-fried is better than deep-fried
  • Try grilled meats or a vegetarian option
  • Avoid the prawn crackers before your meal
  • Go for a broth or soup over thicker sauces

Indian

  • Try lean options such as chicken and seafood, over the lamb
  • Opt for yogurt-based sauces instead of the nutty ones
  • Swap the deep-fried samosas and bhaji for grilled kebabs and poppadums
  • Avoid the buttery naan breads and have some chapatti and plain or whole wheat naan bread
  • Opt for tandoori dishes instead of cream and coconut sauces

Burgers or kebabs

  • The amount of fat your burger contains partly depends on how it's cooked
  • Grilled burgers can actually be quite lean, but burgers fried will contain a lot more fat
  • A skinless chicken shish kebab in a pitta with loads of salad is lean and filling. Give the chips a miss and you've got a balanced healthy meal.
  • Any coated and deep-fried foods will be relatively high in fat
  • Most of the fat in chicken is just beneath the skin; take the skin off and you also take a lot of the fat off
  • Frying any food in batter or breadcrumbs means it will absorb fat. In restaurants choose grilled skinless chicken served in a bun. Add plenty of salad to get the balance right.

Japanese

  • Try soft ramen noodles instead of the teppan-fried or yaki soba noodles
  • Opt for teriyaki and yakitori dishes for a healthy main course
  • Sushi is a good option as is sukiyaki and shabu-shabu
  • Avoid the tempura and deep fried foods and try they steamed soya beans and gyoza instead 

Mexican

  • Tostados, burritos, soft tacos, enchiladas and tamales are okay, just make sure not to add extra sour cream or cheese 
  • Avoid the deep-fried corn tortilla chips
  • Avoid flauta and chimi-changas and opt for something like steamed tamales with chicken or beans instead

Thai

  • Go for stir-fries with chicken/prawns/beef/tofu and opt for steamed noodles with lots of veg
  • Try the spicy chicken or spicy mushrooms instead of things like deep-fried spring/egg rolls
  • Take it easy on the thai curries that are often based with rich coconut or peanut sauces

Fish and chips

  • The thicker the chip, the less fat it absorbs during the cooking. Homemade thick-cut chips usually contain about 7% fat. Thinner cut chips usually contain around 15% fat. Chips are not the healthiest option to go for, but if you really want some chips with your meal, go for a thicker cut, and have a smaller portion.
  • Fish is a healthy option, and with potatoes make a filling nutritious meal. Fried in batter though, it can contain a lot of fat. Ask for bread, mushy peas or baked beans to fill up and get the balance right.

Sandwiches

  • Go for wholegrain/brown bread when choosing your sandwiches or rolls instead of white. Alternatively, a wrap can be a nice choice.
  • Lean meat/chicken/fish/turkey are good filling options with lots of salad to accompany
  • If you’re picking a spread like mayonnaise, try not to get a filling that has more of it in it like egg mayonnaise or tuna/sweet corn combo with mayo
  • Keep fillings like bacon, cheese and coleslaw to a minimum
  • Some sandwiches can leave you wanting a little something else for that feeling of fullness so try a yogurt, salad, piece of fruit, or some soup to go with it

Some content thanks to Safefood.eu.

Share this article -

Published Sep­tem­ber 16th2014
Tags dinner meals healthhack
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

Need more information?

Request to speak with a youth worker in your area over the phone, by email or text. They may be able to assist you by providing further information specific to your needs.

Youth Work Ireland - Crosscare - YMCA

Contact via: Phone E-mail Text
By clicking submit you agree to our terms and conditions. ​Please note that this service is run by Youth Work Ireland and Crosscare​.​ E​nquiries are not handled by SpunOut.ie directly.
Jump to related articles
Was this article helpful?

Having a tough time and need to talk?
Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280 to chat anonymously with a trained volunteer

Standard text rates may apply*