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Healthy eating while eating out

Healthy eating while eating out

The food choices you make when eating outside of the home are important. Learn how to make healthier choices when you are eating out.

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Making healthy choices while eating out matters

Canadians are eating more food outside of the home. Eating out includes more than just going to a sit down restaurant. It includes meals, snacks and drinks from places like:

  • caterers
  • food trucks
  • coffee shops
  • grocery stores
  • work or school cafeterias
  • fast food outlets and restaurants
  • snack bars and vending machines
  • mobile canteens and refreshments stands

While we may think of eating out as a treat, when it is done regularly it:

  • becomes part of your overall eating habits
  • can negatively impact your health

The choices available when eating out are often:

  • more expensive
  • highly processed
  • lower in vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods

How to make healthier choices about eating out

You make many decisions when thinking about eating out. Use these ideas to make healthy choices the next time you eat out.

Be mindful about the decision to eat out

Think about why you are eating outside of the home. There may be ways to reduce the likelihood of eating out.

Try to:

  • plan ahead so that you are not tempted by:
    • coffee shops
    • fast food outlets
    • vending machines
  • carry snacks from home and a reusable water bottle instead of buying them when you are out

If you are going out to celebrate or socialize, think about different ideas like:

  • being active
  • organizing a games night
  • cooking together at home
  • participating in a hobby with others

Make informed decisions, even before you arrive

Plan ahead when choosing where to eat.

Check online menus for nutrition information.

Try to decide what you’re going to eat before walking into the cafeteria or food court. This may help you from choosing less healthy options.

Make healthier menu choices

No matter where you are eating, follow the healthy eating recommendation to help you make healthier menu choices.

Think about portions

If the meal you want is only available in large portions, try sharing it with a friend or family member.

Ask for a “take-home package” if you are served more food than you need to eat.

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Make healthy choices when eating out
  • Choose a healthy drink

Further reading

Date modified: 2019-01-14