A Guide to Dining Out – Good and Poor Menu Choices

When eating away from home it can be difficult to select foods which satisfy your nutritional goals. However, it is possible, with extra care, to select healthy foods from restaurants using our guide below. We have a similar menu guide for takeout.

Asian Restaurants

eating chinese foodEating Chinese

Good Choices

  • Soups
  • Stir fry vegetables, chicken, seafood, lean meat
  • Steamed rice

Poor Choices

  • Deep fried food in batter
  • Spring rolls
  • Fried rice
  • Prawn crackers
  • Sweet and sour
  • Deep fried ice-cream

French Restaurants

FranceEating in France

Good Choices

  • Clear soups
  • Grilled fish and meats
  • Jacket potatoes (no sour cream)
  • Natural oysters and prawns (no sauces)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fruit crepes

Poor Choices

  • Creamy soups
  • Cream sauces
  • French fries
  • Soufflé
  • Mousses

Greek/Lebanese Restaurants

Greek FoodEating in Greece

Good Choices

  • Grilled calamari
  • Grilled fish
  • Stuffed vine leaves
  • Souvlaki
  • Shish Kebab
  • Pita bread
  • Stuffed tomatoes
  • Tossed salad (no dressing)
  • Yogurt and cucumber dip (Tzatziki)

Poor Choices

  • Dishes in oily/creamy sauces
  • Deep fried calamari
  • Deep fried goats cheese
  • Baklava
  • Fried falafel
  • Moussaka

Indian Restaurants

Indian FoodEating Indian

Good Choices

  • Chapati/roti
  • Dahl
  • Grilled pappadum
  • Tandoori chicken breast
  • Steamed rice

Poor Choices

  • Samosa
  • Creamy curries

Italian Restaurants

PizzaEating Italian

Good Choices

  • Pasta with meatless sauce, e.g. marinara, vegetable, napoletana 
  • Ricotta and spinach cannelloni or ravioli with tomato sauce
  • Vegetarian lasagna with reduced fat cheese
  • Minestrone Soup
  • Tossed salad (avoid dressing)
  • Plain bread/rolls
  • Sorbet

Poor Choices

  • Pasta with cream, butter, oil-based sauces
  • Meat lasagna
  • Meat cannelloni
  • Italian sausage
  • Fried calamari
  • Garlic and herb breads
  • Veal parmigiana

Japanese Restaurants

eating sushi foodEating Japanese

Good Choices

  • Sushi
  • California rolls
  • Sashimi
  • Steamed rice
  • Miso soup

Poor Choices

  • Tempura
  • Sukiyaki
  • Teppan Yaki

Mexican Restaurants

Mexican RestaurantEating Mexican

Good Choices

  • Burritos/Tacos/Enchiladas with lean chicken/meat or beans
  • Salad
  • Fajitas (chicken/beef)
  • Gazpacho soup

Poor Choices

  • Frijoles (refried beans)
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Tortillas
  • Nachos

Thai Restaurants

Thai RestaurantEating Thai

Good Choices

  • Hot & Sour Soup (Tom Yum)
  • Grilled beef salad
  • Thai beef/chicken salad
  • Stir fry vegetables
  • Steamed rice

Poor Choices

  • Green/red curry
  • Coconut rice
  • Cream/coconut/peanut sauces

Vietnamese Restaurants

spring rollsEating Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Good Choices

  • Peanut sauce/satay
  • Fritters
  • Deep fried dishes

Poor Choices

  • Vegetable soup and bean curd
  • Rice paper roll & chilli sauce
  • Stir fry vegetables in soy sauce
  • Cabbage rolls

Vegetarian Restaurants

PizzaEating Vegetarian

Good Choices

  • Brown rice or pasta with steamed vegetables
  • Stir frys
  • Baked/grilled vegetables
  • Salads (no dressing)

Poor Choices

  • Pastry items - pies, pasties
  • Fried foods
  • Cream sauces

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