Healthy Options for When You’re Eating Out

Do you find it hard to find healthy options when you’re eating out? You’re not alone! But eating out doesn’t have to be unhealthy, read our tips to find out how.

Eating out doesn’t have to be unhealthy. There are plenty of healthy options when you’re eating out in pubs and taverns in your area. Many of our favourite ‘healthy’ dinner options are loaded with hidden fats, oils and sugars, making picking the healthiest option a difficult task.

Sometimes we don’t get to choose where we eat, leaving those of us looking to make healthier choices feeling lost and defeated, but this doesn’t have to be the case. When you arm yourself with information you can easily find a healthy option wherever your dinner date leads you. 

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

6 Healthy Options When Eating Out

1. Caesar salad — but with dressing on the side.

Caesar salad is always a popular choice and your local pub, but those looking for healthier options often bypass this dish in fear of the higher calorie content. Reality is the worst part of Caesar salad, like most salads, is the dressing. 

Try ordering your Caesar salad with the dressing on the side, then simply add the amount you wish. If you’re looking to add something else to your salad, try added grilled chicken or prawns for added protein

2.  Share your meal with someone.

One of the best ways to save calories and money when eating out is to share your meal with your dinner date! Now, we don’t mean share a single dish and leave hungry. Order one main and some side dishes. 

Personally, I love to do it with a pasta or pizza dish, then ordering a side salad and sharing both dishes. This also works perfectly with desserts.

3. Switch your burger bun to lettuce.  

Fan of a good burger? Who isn’t! Oftentimes, burgers are a great go-to when eating out. They’re affordable and you know what you’re going to get. Unfortunately they often aren’t the healthiest option when it comes to eating out. However, there are simple changes you can ask for to make your burger healthier. 

Firstly, ask to switch out the bun for lettuce. Now, don’t knock it before you try it. Lettuce burgers are great. If you can’t forgo your burger bun, try switching out your side of fries for the seasonal veggies or salad.

  4. Skip the drink — or switch to sugar free.

Looking for an easier way to make healthier options when eating out? Try skipping the drink.

Drinks — alcoholic or not – can harbour a lot of hidden unhealthy ingredients. If you’re not quite ready to skip the drink with dinner, try lower calorie alternatives such as gin and tonic, vodka, lime and soda or even a seltzer.

5. Choose the grilled or baked options. 

Have you ever ordered fish and chips and been asked if you’d like grilled or battered fish today? Choosing the grilled option is an easy way to make your meal healthier without sacrificing taste. 

Now, grilled options aren’t just available at your local fish and chip shop, restaurants are often happy to switch the fried meat on your burger, wrap or salad to grilled — all you have to do is ask.

6. Switch out the creamy sauce.

If you’re a pasta lover it’s tempting to go for the creamiest and cheesiest sauce dish possible at your favourite Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, these dishes are often the unhealthiest items on the menu, full of fats and oils. 

Instead, opt for tomato or vegetable-based sauces — they taste great too, we promise.

5 Foods Which Aren’t As Healthy As They Seem

1.  Zucchini chips. 

Fried zucchini chips are a popular choice for those looking for healthier options when eating out. However, they often aren’t as healthy as they seem. To cook the chips, they’re often coated in flour and deep fry them in oil, which turns a seemingly healthy snack unhealthy. 

Now, we aren’t saying avoid baked and home-made zucchini chips. Those are often full of nutrients.

How to make healthy zucchini chips.

We’ve sourced this great Baked Zucchini Fries recipe from Hey Nutrition Lady, so you can enjoy zucchini fries without the guilt.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x zucchini.
  • ½ cup of plain flour.
  • 1 egg.
  • 2 tbsp olive oil. 
  • Pinch of black pepper. 
  • ½ tsp of sea salt. 
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds.
  • ¼ cup of milk.
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs.

How to make baked zucchini chips: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 celsius. 
  2. Take your zucchini and cut it into wedges about 1.5cm thick. 
  3. Place your flour in a shallow bowl.  
  4. In another small bowl, whisk together the egg and the milk. 
  5. Put your breadcrumbs and chia seeds in a third bowl. 
  6. Take a piece of zucchini and cover it with flour, dip in the egg mixture and then coat in breadcrumbs. Place on a tray lined with baking paper. Repeat with the remaining zucchini. 
  7. Drizzle some oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, turning half way through.
  9. Serve immediately.

2. Premade smoothies.

There is nothing better than a smoothie or juice to start your day on a hot summer morning. However, if you’re getting your juices and smoothies from a bottle and not fresh fruit, they are likely not as healthy as they seem. Many pre-packaged drinks are full of sugar and artificial sweeteners, similar to those you find in diet sodas and milkshakes. 

If premade smoothies are your only option ensure you check the bottle for hidden nasty ingredients.

3. Organic snacks. 

Just because it’s organic, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, many organic snacks are filled with just as many unhealthy ingredients as their non-organic competition. For a snack to be deemed organic, it simply must have been produced without the use of chemical fertiliser, pesticides or any other artificial chemicals.

4. Granola. 

Who doesn’t love some granola for breakfast! What’s not to love filled with nuts, oats and if you’re lucky, dried fruit. However, this ‘health food’ isn’t always so healthy. 

Many popular brands of granola are made with lots of butter, sugar and oil, making them high in calories, and often high in sugar too. Top tip: often times a low-fat label indicates high sugar content.

How to make healthier granola. 

Try your hand at making your own healthier granola with this recipe inspired by Gimme Some Oven.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of oats.
  • 1 cup of slivered almonds. 
  • ¼ cup of chia seeds.
  • ⅓ of golden syrup.
  • 3 tsp of cinnamon.
  • ¾ tsp of fine sea salt. 
  • ½ of melted coconut oil.
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • ⅔ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes.
  • OPTIONAL: ½ cup of chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips.

Making healthier granola: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine oats, chia seeds, cinnamon and sea salt in a large bowl until combined. 
  3. In a separate bow, mix together the melted coconut oil, golden syrup and vanilla extract until well combined. 
  4. Pour out the granola mixture evenly on the baking tray, bake for 20 minutes and stir once halfway through. 
  5. Remove from the oven, add coconut mixture and stir well. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes. 
  6. Once golden brown, remove the tray from the oven and place on a wire-baking rack to cool. Once the granola has reached room temperature, stir in your fruit and chocolate chips.
  7. Serve, or store for up to 1 month in an airtight container.

5. Sushi.

Sushi is often considered a healthy option when eating out. However, it’s best in moderation as the high amounts of white rice and sodium in some sauces can quickly add up. 

The next time you go out for sushi, avoid rolls with high amounts of mayo, teriyaki and battering.

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      Katrina Stapleton

      Digital Content Specialist

      Katrina Stapleton is a Digital Content Specialist at Localsearch with a background in social media and marketing. Although most of her experience lies in the entertainment sector, Katrina has written content for a vast array of industries including tourism, hospitality, retail and property development. Katrina is an avid dog lover, who finds a way to weave her fur-baby, Mylo, into most conversations. Aside from being a self-confessed bookworm, Katrina can often be found checking out the Gold Coast's latest coffee nook, paddle-boarding or baking up a storm in her free time — all with Mylo by her side, of course! As a Digital Content Specialist, Katrina enjoys sharing her knowledge and passions on the Localsearch Blog.