It is possible to combine eating out with eating healthier even when your goal is weight loss. It’s a matter of actively choosing the better options and eating the right amount. Sometimes you find yourself out with friends or family who have a different idea of where to eat. However, there are little golden nuggets in most menus. These are our top tips on how to make healthier choices. 

At the restaurant 

A good reminder is that restaurant food always contains more fat, salt and sugar than the food you cook at home. These flavour enhancers make the food moreish as they want you to enjoy your meal and, of course, return. You can find a well-balanced meal out, but as a rule, your home cooking is more nutritious and contains less salt and fat.  

A good habit is to choose your meal based on cooking methods. Avoid fried, deep-fried and crumbed. Look for food on the menu that is steamed, roasted, baked or grilled. Choose a meal that contains an as clean source of protein as possible, such as a piece of fish, seafood, lean steak, chicken fillet or tofu instead of pie, kebab, pizza or gratins. 

When it comes to carbohydrates, choose boiled or oven-roasted—for example, boiled potatoes, steamed rice, quinoa or oven-roasted root vegetables. Avoid French fries, mash and gratins as they are high in fat. It can be good to limit the amount of sauce or dressing.  


  •  Clean protein (steamed, oven-baked, grilled) 
  •  Boiled, baked, steamed carbohydrates  
  •  Sauce on the side 
  •  Extra vegetables  

Asian restaurants generally use a large amount of fat, sugar and salt in their cooking. It’s a good idea to look at what the sauce is based on, avoiding sauces with coconut milk as they are rich in fat. A better alternative is tomato or soy-based sauces: clear broths or stir-fries using fresh flavours such as ginger, schezuan pepper, Thai basil etc. Invest in lots of vegetables regardless of the cuisine.  

  • Indian order, a grilled or oven-baked protein source such as tandoori or lentil dahl with a tomato base, avoid the sauces made of ghee and coconut milk. 
  • Thai restaurant, steamed/grilled fish are excellent options, so is fresh spring rolls, clear tom yum soup and a fresh papaya salad.  
  • Chinese restaurants offer good clear broth soups, steamed vegetables, Szechuan prawns and steamed dumplings.  


One of the best options at a sushi restaurant is sashimi. This is raw fish in its natural form, and the rice served on the side is not sweetened like the rice you find in the sushi rolls and nigiri. Order a side of vegetables to go with it, a miso soup and steamed edamame beans.  

Don’t be afraid to do special orders, it is after all you who will eat and pay for the food. As a rule, order some extra vegetables for the meal and get the sauce/dressing on the side. And remember, there are better options but never as nutritious as your own cooking. 

Pre-packed salad  

Choosing a salad doesn’t automatically mean you get a well-balanced meal. Many salads contain fatty cheeses, dressings and dips, which increases the amount of fat and calories. Others contain only a few pieces of chicken and a lot of lettuce leaves, which isn’t very filling.  

A well-balanced salad contains both carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Try finding one with a base of bulgur wheat, black rice or quinoa. A protein source such as chicken, fish, seafood or tofu is preferable. When it comes to fats, focus primarily on healthy unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados. Be careful with sauces, dressings and fatty cheeses such as goat cheese, mozzarella and feta cheese. The best dressing is a vinaigrette served on the side. You want the salad to be as natural as possible where you control the amount of dressing that goes on top. 

At the coffee shop 

Meeting a friend for a coffee often leads to the temptation of choosing a cake on the side, and some coffees resemble a dessert more than coffee. So how do you make better choices there? Try planning your coffee stop with a healthy snack beforehand to avoid the sweet section. Or choose one of the healthier options available at most coffee shops, such as  

  • Overnight oats   
  • Trail mix 
  • Raw food balls  
  • Toasted sandwich on wholemeal bread (avoid the very cheesy options) 

If you don’t arrive too hungry, you automatically make better choices.  

At the fast-food restaurant 

There is often information available on both energy content and the distribution of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in the meals in most fast-food restaurants. Feel free to look at the menu and find the best option for you. General guidelines for fast food restaurants are to avoid fried foods, fatty cheeses such as halloumi and sugary soft drinks.  

Best options:  

  • Salad with a grilled protein source is the best option  
  • Burgers without cheese and order carrots instead of French fries   
  • At the kebab shop, order a chicken shish kebab with a salad, sauce on the side 

Enjoy your meal!