Eating out: Trying to make healthy choices. - Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

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Eating out: Trying to make healthy choices.

Zest profile image

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to share my experience yesterday, when I was out for lunch, and tried to choose something healthy to have to eat. I looked at the menu for a while, and there were a range of pub grub type choices - pulled pork in a bun with chips, fish and chips, satay chicken with chips - those kind of things - and I eventually chose:

Vegetable Stir-fry with Chestnut gnocchi and apricot puree - it listed a lovely range of vegetables - cabbage, red onions, peppers, various things. However, I should have thought about the apricot puree as an indication of sweetness, as it was sooooo sweet tasting - and I think it may have been due to my taste buds having changed, as a result of cooking my own foods from scratch and being careful about the sauces I use - often making them myself, to avoid added sugars.

I enjoyed the meal - but I realise how difficult it can be sometimes to avoid sugary foods when you're eating out, and trying to choose healthily.

Please comment on this thread and add your own experiences of eating out, and trying to choose healthy foods - as I'd love to hear your experiences. Or if you've got any other comments, then do share them.

This week my goal is to try to include more fruit and vegetables in my daily intake, to try to get nearer to the 10 a day that has been recommended... I think it's going to be tough to achieve. Infact, I've not really worked out how many portions I eat on average, so maybe I'll try to get a baseline first and just try to increase it by a portion or so.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.

Zest :-)

29 Replies

I agree. Simply difficult at times. Yesterday I had a cinema visit and wanted a light snack before seeing the film. I usually try to take a snack with me.

I settled on a Mexican chicken wrap from Greggs. 233 calories. It was tasty and filling and had it with a black coffee. My alternative would have been a salad and drink at Subway.

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to Roset16

Hi Roset16,

Yes, it is difficult at times. Glad you enjoyed your pre-cinema snack, and I hope that you also enjoyed the film. :-)

Wishing you a great Sunday and hope the week is treating you well. :-)

Zest :-)

Roset16 profile image
Roset16 in reply to Zest

Thank you.

The film was 'Logan' a bit too gruesome for me but I was going with a friend keen to see it.

Also good to go out and see the challenge of eating something reasonable. So many places have some healthy options but it is just searching for them

Your meal looks very tasty Zest ! At least it was a natural sweetness from the fruit :)

The last time I ate out was about 3 weeks ago. I was shopping with my sister, and we tried a new Lebanese restaurant that had recently opened. It was heaving with people, which is usually a sign that the food is good!

It served a lot of vegetarian type meals. All were Mediterranean and middle Eastern cuisine. We shared a mixed mezze platter. There was baba ganouj (roasted aubergine dip), houmous, tabouleh, lentil and rice salad, grilled halloumi cheese with tomatoes and olives. Served with brown pitta bread and a pickle garnish. It was absolutely delicious! The desserts were healthy, too. Sis had Greek yogurt with fig puree, I didn't have anything. I worked out the calories and it was roughly 600-800, I had to estimate the weight of the items, but only had small portions of each thing. The cheese was what bumped up the total :)

It made a real change from the 'usual' food on offer in restaurants, and was the same price as having a sandwich and cappuccino in M&S, were we used to go!

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to

Hi Hidden,

Great to see you, and hope you're enjoying your weekend. Your meal out with your sister to the Lebanese restaurant sounds so lovely - my taste buds are tingling at the range of delicious foods you enjoyed - and I especially love the taste and texture of halloumi cheese! Yum!!! I know it bumped up the calorie total, but it is a delicious taste. :-) That mixed mezze platter sounds really really good!

Wishing you a great week ahead.

Zest :-)

in reply to Zest

I hadn't had halloumi before, and I did really enjoy it :) I love any type of cheese, really. You would have loved the food there, as I know you like Mediteranean cooking, too :)

I'm still feeling a bit rough, to be honest. I can't seem to shake this darn bug that's going around. I've had it for nearly 3 weeks now (probably picked it up when I was out shopping that day, lol!) I'm still coughing and my voice is still only half back to normal. I haven't been able to speak properly for over a week now. The trouble is that being viral there's nothing I can take to shift it.

I tried going for a walk last week but the change in temperature and the deeper breathing, just gave me a coughing fit. Also, I don't want to spread it around too much. The only advantage, is that I don't feel like eating much! :)

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to

It's tough when you're feeling like that. Take it easy and just do what you can. You can do no more than that, and hopefully you'll be feeling well again soon. :-) xx

AtalantaX profile image
AtalantaX in reply to

That mezzo sounds delicious. I would definitely have had the yoghurt and fig purée as well - I last had that for breakfast on holiday in Tunisia a couple of years ago, I can still remember it, it was so good...

in reply to AtalantaX

I did have a taste of the yogurt, and it was delicious! I'm dieting at the moment, or I would definitely have had some :)

I work in Starbucks but a franchised one which is inside a hotel so I work for the hotel in effect. I forgot my lunch last week but as our department manager won't let our department buy any of the Starbucks food ( hotel staff get 40% discount and she wants to sell products for full price even though she sells them to other departments discounted ) I had to order food from the hotel pub.

It's such an unhealthy menu that they don't even sell jacket potatoes! I ended up with a very tasteless plain beef sandwich on white bread and a side salad drenched in oil..... £8 that cost me WITH the 40% off!....lesson learned 😏

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to

Hi Hidden,

Wow, your dept manager is very strict!!! Pity that you can't enjoy the discount on all the range of foods available. Sorry you didn't enjoy your meal - and it sounds like a really expensive one - even with the Hotel discount. I bet you'll be remembering your lunch all next week - and packing something really tasty.

It is tough finding good options eating out - I like it when the menu is available online, but sometimes decisions are more spontaneous or unplanned.

Hope you have a great week.

Zest :-)

That looks absolutely delicious!

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to Jan810

Thank you Jan810 :-) I did enjoy the range of veggies and the gnocchi was delicious too. :-)

Hi Zest,

Thanks for posting, I didn't realise there was a Healthy Eating group - I have just followed it.

Your lunch looks good. I love gnocchi, they are one of my favourite foods, but I've never had chestnut ones before. How were they?

I am having dinner out tomorrow night - it's a few months since I have eaten out - so this post should help me choose something healthy and delicious.

Hope you're having a good weekend.

Walnut Tree

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to AtalantaX

Hi AtalantaX,

Yes, the Healthy Eating community has been around a long time. :-)

I hadn't tried Chestnut gnocchi either, but it had a subtle flavour of chestnuts, which was really nice. Not sure how they made it... I've never tried to make homemade gnocchi, but I think it's relatively easy to do. Do you ever make your own?

I hope you have a lovely dinner out tomorrow - and that you enjoy something healthy and delicious!

Yes, the weekend is great, and hope yours is too.

Wishing you a great week ahead.

Zest :-)

Wife and I will shortly be coming to the UK - and doing a 5 week driving tour all over - mostly staying in Premier Inns. I love British pubs and love English Ale :) - and in the past when we have done this before, I have enjoyed the typical pub meals ( you know - the everything comes with chips ones) . But those days are now gone and I am now a "born again" fitness freak :) - and I said to my wife only a couple of days ago, that I think I am going to struggle finding healthy food in these pubs!! :)

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to Bazza1234

Hi Bazza1234,

Lovely that you're going to be visiting the UK for your 5 week driving tour with your wife. I hope you'll both have a wonderful time. At least the Premier Inn menu is online, so you can check it out before you travel, if you want to see what's available - and there will be plenty of other places to eat too - but like you say, it might be challenging to find healthy foods - but hopefully not impossible! You can always ask them to cook things to your preference - many chefs should be amenable to the requests of their customer, so you could always try that out - or contact them beforehand and discuss your requirements!?

Good luck, and have a lovely holiday, when the time comes. :-)

Zest :-)

My personal eating rule is that I can have absolutely anything I fancy when I'm out, as long as I'm always good at home. :)

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to BadHare

Good for you BadHare - it's finding out what works best for ourselves that helps. I had a massive meal (in terms of calories) on Monday evening, but I enjoyed it, and I am managing to get back on track for the remainder of the week.

Hope your week is going well - I can see you're posting lots for me to read over the weekend, and I'm looking forward to reading those things.

Also wanted to let you know that I've bought some Organic Cider Vinegar (with the Mother probiotic cloud in it) and we are having some prior to our evening meal - so far so good! :-)

Zest :-) xx

Hi Zest,

A treat is necessary now & again!

I ate something that was put in front of me on Saturday, & as a result, had a mouth ulcer by the time I arrived home. It was a small reminder of the consequence of eating badly.

I've had a string of useful emails & links this week, so just passing them on. Hope you find something interesting.

Your ACV has all sorts of uses other than digestion. I haven't been brave enough to try it as a hair conditioner yet... Sometimes I wake up craving it, which is a good queue for a salad. It's nice as a sourdough bread dip, alone or with a nut oil.

Enjoy your dinner!


Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to BadHare

Thanks Mel - just wondering - how often do you have the ACV? Before every meal, and how much do you use? We've just had about a couple of teaspoons of it in a glass of water so far, and only once a day, before our evening meal, but I guess it could be taken more frequently - e.g. first thing, and at lunch and dinner? How often do you have it? I like the sound of it in a bread dip and combined with a nut oil - sounds lovely! :-)

BadHare profile image
BadHare in reply to Zest

I don't use it as regularly now as I'm not sure if the ACV probiotics will compete with my kefir probiotics.

When I tried it before making kefir, & when I didn't drink as much, it was a teaspoon or two in my first cup of green tea, & before each meal. Some people opt for a tablespoon in water first thing in the morning, rather than before meals. Perhaps think about whether the meal you're going to be eating needs a little more help being broken down in your stomach, ie, protein, fat, hard to digest foods.

The flavour is nice in cooking, as well as salads. I use it in caponata instead of red wine vinegar, though the heat will destroy the probiotics. I use dark brown sugar, rather than caster as in this recipe as the taste goes with the ACV:

This one uses chocolate: :)

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to BadHare

Thanks very much! I really like the look of both those Caponata Recipes - and it seems synchronicity was at work, as I've only just posted a Caponata recipe I had spotted in a magazine - I've never made one before, so I am eager to give it a go, and shall be trying it later this week. I will however compare the recipes you've linked to, to see what variations I could try - based on the ingredients I have available. :-)

Great minds!!! :)

I was just going to post these, but won't if you've done so.

Caponata is also nice baked with goats cheese or mozzarella on top.

Nom, nom, nom...

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to BadHare

Mmmm, I am now thinking what cheese I have to add on top - as I'm hoping to make it tonight - and I think I'll try some haloumi cheese. Great idea to add cheese. :-)

I did have a jar of capers (specially bought for the recipe) but it was smashed today (accident), so now going to do the recipe without them - which I am not sure about how it will work out, but I hope it will be tasty anyway...

Oh, no! Do you have any other type of pickles? I'm sure it will be just as tasty, especially with halloumi on top.

Are you working your way through all of this month's Waitrose recipes? There are some other fabulous veggie recipes, including falafels, which are fun to make as well as being addictive.


Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to BadHare

I haven't seen the recipe for Falafels, BadHare - I must look out for that one. Sounds very good. :-)

The meal turned out fine - it was indeed very tasty. :-)

Nice post Zest!!!

I have high blood pressure and every time I decide to eat out I must calculate the amount of sodium contained in every food. Restaurants and fast foods use a lot of salt to prepare food. But i think, you can always make the healthiest choices even if you choose from a mexican, chinese or McDonalds. Here are some food options to enjoy with a little less regrets :)

Mexican take-out low sodium options:

Tortilla chips 8 pieces contain 120mg of sodium.

Taco or fajita shell (either hard or soft) usually contains little sodium. It is the meat that contains the greater amount of sodium. Ask for a vegetarian taco filling if available.

Chinese food low sodium options:

Sauces like soy, oyster, black bean and garlic sauce usually contain huge amount of sodium. Ask for less sauce in the preparation of your meal. Soups are usually prepared with much salt.

Appetizers with less salt are spring rolls, lettuce wraps and steamed dumplings.

McDonald’s restaurant low sodium options:

The Fruit & Maple Oatmeal contains 160 mg.

Scrambled Eggs (2 eggs) contain 180 mg.

The Hash-browns contain 310 mg.

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait contains 80mg. The Cinnamon Melts contain 370 mg.

Hope it was helpful!!!

Kind regards

Zoe -

Zest profile image
ZestStar in reply to ZoeKatsoulis

Hi Zoe,

Thanks for those suggestions, much appreciated. I am sure they will be helpful to anyone looking for low sodium options.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Zest :-)

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