When you are eating out at restaurants, here are a few tips for getting the portion size right and picking the healthier menu items:

  • Order the right size

    Most restaurant meals are too large for the average person and typically have few, if any, vegetables. Consider ordering an entrée size main meal as well as extra vegetables or salad to achieve the best meal balance. An easy way to get this balance is to have half your plate as vegetables (raw or cooked).

  • Check how it is cooked

    Dishes that are deep fried (such as battered fish), served in pastry (such as pies) or covered in rich creamy sauces or cheese (such as chicken parmigiana) are very high in kilojoules and saturated fat. Look for menu items that are steamed, grilled, barbequed, roasted or stir-fried, as these will usually be better options. Salads are also a lighter option.

  • Choose healthier sides

    Side dishes such as garlic bread, chips (or fries) and wedges can really add a lot of kilojoules to your meal. Choose vegetable sides or a salad instead. If someone else orders a less healthy side, try and have them placed away from your so you’re not tempted to snack.

  • Slow down

    Eat slowly and savour each mouthful. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls and enjoy the conversation. Eating slowly helps you enjoy food more and gives you time to fill up, which reduces the risk of over-eating.

  • Drink wisely

    Alcoholic drinks are high in kilojoules and their effects can make you forget about eating a healthier meal. Keep track of your drinks (remembering the serve sizes tend to be large in restaurants) and alternate with still or sparkling water. Try and limit yourself to two standard drinks a day. Watch out for cocktails, which are high in alcohol and kilojoules.


    Do you know how much a standard drink size is for your drink of choice? Test yourself and find out more about how alcohol can affect you on the Your Room website.