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If you're eating out at a restaurant or cafe, you can make choices to ensure that your meal is healthy and balanced.
It's all too easy to have more saturated fat, salt and sugar than you realise when you're not cooking your own meal.
You can also end up eating more than you would have done if you'd served up your own portions.
We often indulge in sugary and high-fat foods when it's a special occasion. But many of us are eating out more often, and this means that it's important to think about healthier choices.
The first tip to remember is that whatever and wherever you're eating, you don't need to clear your plate. Instead, eat slowly and stop when you're full.
Simple steps can help you make sure that you make healthier choices when eating out in restaurants or cafes.
These swaps can make your restaurant or cafe meal healthier. Choose:
More and more restaurants are putting the number of calories contained in their food and drink on their menus or websites.
This can help you decide which dish to have and keep track of the number of calories you're eating.
On average, a woman needs around 2,000 calories (kcal) a day, and a man needs around 2,500kcal, depending on how active you are.
Find out more about understanding calories.
Remember, if you can't tell from the menu how a dish is cooked, you can always ask.
Other healthy tips when eating out include:
If you'd like something sweet, there are ways to choose a healthier dessert option. For a start, you could opt to share one pudding between two.
Fruit is a good choice and can count towards your recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables. Learn more about how to achieve your 5 A DAY.
The good news for pudding lovers is that fruit baked into puddings, such as rhubarb crumble or apple pie, also counts towards your five fruit and veg portions. For a healthier pudding, choose fruit-based puddings instead of puddings with cream or chocolate fillings.
Cream and ice cream can both be high in saturated fat. If you're ordering a dessert that comes with cream or ice cream, ask staff if you can have one of the following options instead:
Many of us eat lunch out and about, whether it's from a sandwich shop, cafe, supermarket, or the work canteen. The right choices can ensure your lunch is healthier.
Remember, if you make your own lunch, you know exactly what's in your lunchbox – and you can save money.
Salad can make for a healthy, filling and tasty lunch on the go. If you make them at home, you can eat healthily and save money, too.
Salads that contain some starchy foods – such as rice, pasta, potatoes or couscous – are more filling.
Add grilled chicken (without the skin), prawns, sardines, cottage cheese, lower-fat mozzarella, or strips of lean ham for protein options that are lower in saturated fat.
Then choose a variety of veg. You could add roasted peppers and courgettes, spring onions, salad leaves, tomatoes, radishes, grated carrot or green beans, or a small amount of avocado.
Watch out for salads that contain a lot of mayonnaise or other high-fat dressings. This often includes coleslaw, potato salads and some pasta salads.
Pre-packed salads often have a nutrition information panel on the label, so you can check how much total fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt they contain. Go for salads that are lower in fat, especially saturated fat, sugar and salt (or sodium).
Learn more about food labels.
Whether you're making your own sandwiches or buying them from a shop or staff canteen, here are tips to help you make healthier choices:
If you prefer hot food for lunch, you can still make healthier choices:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.