Healthy eating out of the home

Whether you choose to ‘have here’ or ‘take away’, there are lots of healthy options out there to choose from. The trick is to know what to look for.

In general, when eating away from home, we should:

  • follow the Healthy Eating Pyramid. Choose mostly whole food or minimally-processed foods, like fruits, vegetables, lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, reduced fat cheese, grains, and wholemeal/wholegrain bread or pasta.
  • aim for half of the meal to be vegetables
  • limit foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar or salt, such as creamy dressings, deep fried foods and sugary drinks.
  • eat slowly. Often the serve sizes will large, and it takes 20 minutes for our brain to realise we’re full. So slowing down helps us notice our fullness.

Take away tips

  • Watch the portion size. Serve takeaway foods on plates or bowls at home to see the true amount of food.
  • We don’t need to finish it all. Store any leftovers safely in the fridge for a quick 'next day' meal.
  • Try to avoid the temptation of ‘combos' and 'add ons’ like garlic bread or soft drink.
  • If your meal doesn’t contain many veggies, get a side of vegetables or salad.


Top tips for healthier take away and dining out options


Go for this…

...instead of this.

Salad / Sandwich Bar

  • Lots of colourful vegies + lean meat/egg /fish/legumes as protein
  • Greek or garden salad
  • Grain and roast vegetable salad
  • Wholemeal/wholegrain wraps/bread
  • Lighter dressings based on balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, hummus and tzatziki
  • Caesar salad
  • Cured meats
  • Marinated items (sundried tomatoes/eggplant etc.)
  • Creamy or oily dressings
  • White bread/wraps
  • Mayonnaise/chutneys/pesto


Baked potato

  • Lots of colourful vegie fillings
  • Hummus or tzatziki
  • Try a baked sweet potato for a change.
  • High saturated fat fillings such as sour cream, bacon and butter
  • Meat fillings only

Chicken and fish shops

  • Grilled or roast chicken (skin removed)
  • Grilled fish
  • Garden salad
  • Wedges/baked potato
  • Use a squeeze of lemon
  • Fried chicken
  • Battered fish/potato cakes/dim sims
  • Coleslaw
  • Hot chips/Potato and gravy
  • Adding salt, and sauces such as tomato or tartare


  • Wholegrain bread roll
  • Wholegrain salad sandwich
  • Wholemeal scroll
  • Pies, pasties and sausage rolls
  • Pizza/pizza slices
  • Donuts and iced buns


  • Fresh sushi, especially brown rice
  • Sashimi
  • Steamed dumplings
  • Rice paper rolls
  • Lean meat/seafood dish with lots of vegies + steamed rice
  • Tempura sushi or items
  • Spring rolls
  • Fried dim sims/dumplings


  • Wholemeal/wholegrain buns
  • Grilled meats such as chicken or steak
  • Vegetarian option
  • Lots of vegies/salad
  • Hummus or tzatziki in the bun
  • White buns
  • Minced meat patties
  • Burgers ‘with the lot’
  • Fries
  • Mayonnaise or butter on the bun

Pub meals

  • Grilled fish/chicken/steak with salad
  • Salads with vinegar-based dressing
  • Steamed vegetables instead of chips as a side
  • Tomato based pasta, pizzas, risottos
  • Natural oysters
  • Soup of the day
  • Crumbed or fried foods
  • Chips/wedges/Garlic/herb bread
  • Sausages and mash
  • Pasta or risotto with creamy sauces
  • Pork belly
  • Burgers with the lot and fries
  • Creamy or buttery sauces with steak


  • Look for lean meat or seafood and veg dishes with simple sauces
  • Masala dishes
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Dahl
  • Cucumber raita
  • Saffron steamed rice
  • Biryini (rice dish)
  • Samosas
  • Curry puffs
  • Creamy dishes eg. Korma, butter chicken, coconut curries
  • Pappadums
  • Naan bread/roti
  • Coconut rice


  • Pasta/risotto – tomato-based sauces and those with lots of vegies
  • Pizza – thin crust with lots of vegetables, and choose lean meats such as chicken, lamb or seafood
  • Fresh seafood dishes
  • Chicken breast or steak with salad
  • Order a side salad or steamed veg
  • Creamy or cheese-based sauces
  • Meat lovers pizzas
  • Processed meats, in sauces or on pizzas, such as ham, bacon, pepperoni, chorizo or salami
  • Garlic/herb bread
  • Lamb shanks


  • Plain pita with avocado dip or salsa
  • Lean meat burritos or tacos
  • Soft tortillas
  • Anything with black beans
  • Chicken fajitas
  • Nachos with sour cream/cheese
  • Enchiladas
  • Crunchy (fried) tortillas
  • Refried beans
  • Chimichangas/chalupas/taquitos

Asian cuisines

  • Lean meat/seafood and veg stir fries
  • Ginger, lemongrass or chilli sauces
  • Rice paper rolls/duck pancakes
  • Vietnamese salads & Pho
  • Steamed rice
  • Fried chicken or seafood dishes
  • Creamy or butter sauces
  • Spring rolls/ prawn crackers
  • Salt & pepper squid
  • Fried rice

Middle Eastern

  • Baked felafel balls
  • Grilled meat and seafood dishes
  • Grilled kofta and shish kebab
  • Hummus/babaganoush/tzatziki
  • Tabouleh
  • Tagine with tomato based sauce
  • Deep fried falafel balls
  • Deep fried dishes
  • Fried lamb kofta
  • Shawarma/doner/gyro kebabs
  • Fattoush
  • Tagine with creamy sauces



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