The parent’s guide to healthy meals out

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When you are trying to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet, dining out at restaurants can make things a bit tricky.

Avoiding unhealthy ingredients like butter, salt and saturated fats can seem impossible, and the whole experience can feel like a step backwards.

Eating out should be a fun and social occasion, but here are a few tips and tricks to keep up your sleeve to make it enjoyable AND healthy…

Limit the number of meals out

You don’t have to eat out every week — let alone several times a week. Limit how often you dine out, and it’ll feel more special when you do.

Plan in advance

Pick restaurants which have plenty of fresh and healthy options. Look up the menu beforehand and find the healthier, more balanced options. Decide what you’ll order before you get there, so you’re not tempted into a less healthy choice in the moment.

Think portion size

Some restaurants serve really large portions — particularly for children. Ask for a kids’ menu, see if the restaurant can cater for smaller portions and have either a starter OR a dessert— not both. Or why not share?


Choose healthier sides (such as a salad, or veg) rather than fries or garlic bread, to maintain a balanced plate.

Watch your language

There are a few words to be wary of. Try to avoid or reduce dishes with words such as fried, battered, crispy, breaded and creamy. Instead choose dishes with words like grilled, steamed, baked, roasted or seared.

Don’t double up on carbs

Try to avoid getting multiple high-carbohydrate side dishes. Instead of rice and naan bread, try rice and a vegetable side. Instead of onion rings and garlic bread, try garlic bread and a mixed salad.

Try these healthy tips the next time you’re dining out and let us know what you think!

31 March, 2023