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Eating Well with Restaurant Food

Close-up on a woman eating a poke bowl at home while moving house

Eating restaurant food can be a great way to treat yourself every once in a while… but are you unsure how to make healthy choices when ordering in or eating out? It’s easy and doable given the wide range of options available and with a little know-how by using our tips below!

  • Think about how you might include some veggies in your meals by choosing a vegetable soup starter or by adding a side salad to your main course. 
  • Choose foods that aren’t cooked using a lot of fat, for example opt for grilled, roasted, oven baked, sautéed or steamed foods. 
  • Ask for any sauces to be served on the side (creamy salad dressing, mayonnaise, vinaigrettes, etc.).
  • Choose meals that include beans, lentils or leaner meats.
  • Rather than ordering nutrient-poor sugary drinks (pop, energy drink, fruit-flavoured concoctions), choose sparkling water or a nutritious drink such as milk to make sure you’re getting enough calcium, a nutrient that most Canadians don’t get enough of.
  • If you’re ordering dessert, go for something that offers a nutritional boost and minimizes sugar, such as a fruit salad or yogurt parfait. Or why not finish your meal with a hot drink, like a latte?
  • Don’t forget to eat till satisfied, rather than clearing your plate. You can always take home the leftovers to enjoy the next day!

Let’s talk pizza!

  • Increase your fibre intake by going for wholewheat crusts.
  • Get creative and pile on the veg: tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, whatever you feel like — the choices are practically endless!
  • Choose better-for-you toppings like grilled chicken or shrimp rather than deli meats.
  • And while you’re waiting for your takeout to arrive, why not prepare a salad or some grilled vegetables to eat on the side?

Let’s talk burgers!

  • Choose non-breaded burgers, like grilled chicken breast or beef patties. 
  • Add a side salad to your meal.
  • Round off your meal with a glass of milk, a latte or a yogurt. 

Let’s talk sandwiches!

  • Increase your fibre intake by choosing wholegrain bread.
  • If you like condiments choose one lower in fat, such as mustard, rather than creamy dressings or mayonnaise.
  • Add a slice of cheese (preferably not processed) for a calcium boost!
  • Make sure you’re getting plenty of vegetables by adding a side salad, vegetable soup starter or vegetable juice to your order.

Let’s talk Asian food!

  • Focus on food that’s prepared simply—steamed dishes, stir-fries, soups, sushi, spring rolls—rather than fried or breaded dishes.
  • Use modest amounts of salty sauces, like soy sauce, teriyaki and fish sauce, as they are very high in sodium. For example, you can halve your sodium intake by only dipping every other piece of sushi in soy sauce!
  • End your meal with a yogurt or milk-based drink, such as a chai latte to top up your calcium intake.