A Dietitians Tips to Eating Out Post-Lockdown

Written by Peta Cullis

27 Oct 2021

It’s an exciting time, pubs are open, cafes are busy, and everyone is packing their social calendars with as much as possible and it’s all for good reason! It’s exciting to be able to sit in a restaurant again, but for some the thought of how all this dining out (and less outings based around walking) may impact their health is a concern. We believe you should enjoy your meals out, but we also have a few tips on how to keep balance in check while doing so!

What to Look for When Ordering

  • Pay attention to cooking methods before ordering your meal e.g. grilled vs deep fried, steamed vs sauteed. 
  • Choose grilled lean meat, chicken or fish. Avoid fried or processed meat 
  • Look for vegetable or salad-based meals such as salads and mixed dishes
  • Order salad or vegetables on the side, rather than chips 
  • Choose tomato or vinegar-based sauces or dressings, rather than creamy based options 
  • Ask for sauces/gravies/dressings on the side so you can control the portion 
  • Choose a restaurant or café that you know has healthier options 
  • Choose grilled items as these generally have much less fat than fried, battered or crumbed items 

Keeping Portions in Check

  • Order entrée size dishes, or skip entrée and choose just a main course 
  • Avoid buffets or “all you can eat” restaurants if overeating is a concern  
  • Avoid meal combos with fries/chips and soft drinks

Healthier Choices for Different Cuisines 

Pizza/Italian Food

  • Thin and crispy base 
  • Chicken, vegetables, pineapple and seafood topping. Have 1 or 2 slices with salad 
  • Pasta with tomato-based sauce (e.g. Napolitano, bolognaise)
  • Minestrone soup 

Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese Food

  • Vegetable based dishes (chow mien/chop suey) with seafood or chicken 
  • Stir-fry e.g. Mongolian lamb 
  • Steamed rice 
  • Clear noodle soup 
  • Sushi


  • Small grilled steak or chicken burger with salad 
  • Bagels 
  • Meat kebabs with lots of salad 
  • Ham/chicken/tuna and salad sandwiches, ask for no margarine/butter

Indian Food

  • Dry curries (vindaloo or madras) 
  • Tandoori lamb or chicken 
  • Plain steamed rice 
  • Roti bread 
  • Vegetable/lentil Dahl 

Choose Less Often or in Smaller Amounts

  • Fried or battered items 
  • Fried noodles 
  • Fried/coconut rice 
  • Cream/ coconut milk based dishes
  • Deep fried entrees 
  • Poppadums’ 
  • Naan bread /Garlic bread
  • Burger with the works, such as cheese, egg, bacon etc 
  • Hot chips
  • Thick/deep pan base or cheese crust 
  • Salami, bacon, ham and anchovies toppings on pizza 
  • Lasagne 
  • Risotto 

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