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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Eating Out

Canadians continue to purchase an increasing amount of food away from home1. Eating out every once in a while isn’t a problem. But, many of the foods in restaurants are higher in sodium/salt, sugar and/or fat compared to what you might make at home. Healthy eating choices are possible when eating out!

Tips for choosing healthier foods when eating out:

Watch portion sizes.

Portion sizes of foods in restaurants and the grocery stores have grown over the past few decades2. Often the amount of food served at restaurants is enough for 2 or 3 people. Try sharing a meal with a friend or take half home for later.

Choose water, unflavoured milk or unflavoured fortified soy drinks.

Drinks like pop, fruit drinks/cocktails/punch and slushies are basically just sugar and water with few nutrients. Specialty frozen and coffee drinks can be high in sugar, fat and/or caffeine and don’t give our body many nutrients. These types of drinks can replace other healthier drink choices, like water, milk or fortified soy beverages. Flavoured milk or fortified soy drinks, like chocolate, should be chosen less often since they are higher in sugar and calories.

Look for foods that are baked, grilled, or steamed.

Try to avoid foods that are deep fried.

Choose fresh fruit, vegetables or salads instead of fries.

When ordering salads, ask for your dressing on the side. This way you can control how much goes on your salad.

Go easy on the condiments and sauces.

Mayonnaise, butter, ketchup, and sauces, like salad dressings and dips, can add extra calories, fat, salt and/or sugar. Order these on the side and use only a small amount. Try using salsa or fresh toppings like tomato, onion, lettuce or avocado instead.

Plan Ahead!

Most restaurants and fast food outlets post their nutrition information on their website or in the restaurant. All large chain restaurants will have calorie information available on their menus. Read the nutrition facts to help you make the best choices. Look for foods that are higher in fibre, calcium, and vitamins. Also, look for foods that are lower in fat, sodium/salt, and sugar. Use the links below to check out some of the foods at popular restaurants.

Date of creation: December 5, 2012
Last modified on: October 12, 2017


1Statistics Canada. (2015). Average household food expenditure, by province and territory. Table 203-0028. Retrieved from
2National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2013, September 30). Serving Sizes and Portions. Retrieved from