Eating out at cafes and restaurants should be enjoyed - its a time to indulge in different foods and cuisines without having to do any of the cooking and cleaning yourself!


For some people eating out is a novelty while for others it is a regular part of their social life and work schedule especially with the festive season fast approaching. When eating out becomes a regular part of your day to day life it is important to consider the health factor of the meals you are choosing off the menu.

Here are our top tips and tricks to apply when trying to make the healthier choice whilst eating out:

  • When choosing a restaurant think ahead - look online at their menu, and ideally go for one with a wide range of items (to also accommodate those you’re eating with).

  • Many restaurants serve large portions, sometimes enough for another meal. Aim to eat to your hunger cues and portions, and save extras for another meal!

  • Ask for extra veggies to be added to your dish to bump up the nutrition content

  • Meals that are baked, grilled, poached, sauteed, smoked or steamed, are generally healthier cooking techniques. Items that are crispy, deep-fried, breaded, coated or battered are better off as treats.

  • Ask for dressing on the side so you can control the portion.

  • When eating out on-the-run - options where you can control how the meal is made are ideal. Ideas include Tank and Pita Pit, both chains throughout Auckland, which are typically in most suburbs.

Here are our recommendations on what foods should be enjoyed off the menu and what foods should be chosen only in moderation based around the most common cuisines.



  • Stir-fried meat, fish or tofu with colourful veggies

  • Thai beef or chicken salad

  • Broth-based soups e.g. Tom Yum

  • Steamed fish

  • Summer rolls aka fresh spring rolls

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Deep-fried spring rolls, curry puffs, fish cakes and moneybags

  • Noodle-based dishes e.g Pad Thai (for a more balanced dish ask for extra veggies and protein, and less noodles!)

  • Creamy curries e.g. green/red/yellow curry

  • Fried rice

  • Heavy sauces (often are high in sugar, oil and fat)



  • Tandoori chicken or prawns with vegetables and steamed rice (brown, basmati, jasmine)

  • Dhal - dish made with lentil/pulses (packed with dietary fibre!)

  • Yoghurt or tomato based sauces in curries

  • Roti (typically made with whole-wheat flour, and thinner than naan)

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Cream-based curries e.g. Butter Chicken & Korma

  • Deep-fried samosa, pakora and bhaji

  • Stuffed or butter naan




  • Sashimi

  • Edamame beans (packed with fibre and plant-based protein!)

  • Salmon and avocado sushi, or tuna sushi (if possible go for a double protein-roll)

  • Miso soup

  • Teppanyaki grilled meat and vegetables

  • Seaweed salad (rich source of the mineral iodine!)

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Tempura dishes

  • Teriyaki sauces (high in sugar!)

  • Mayonnaise-based sauces (often made with vegetable oils)

  • Katsu or fried chicken/beef/pork

  • Larger quantities of soy sauce - (be mindful due to sodium intake)



  • Thin crispy base pizza

  • Marinara or napoletana pasta (tomato-based)

  • Minestrone soups

  • Chicken Marasala with vegetables

  • Rocket or caprese side salads

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Thick or stuffed-crust pizzas

  • Creamy pasta e.g. pasta alfredo, carbonara (energy-dense sauce)

  • Salami or cured meats (high in sodium)




  • Steamed fish

  • Steamed dumplings

  • Veggie-packed stir-fries

  • Wonton or rice noodle soup with protein

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Traditional sweet and sour pork

  • Fried dumplings

  • Deep fried spring rolls

  • Fried rice

Middle eastern


  • Kebab - your choice of protein, veggies, tabouli,  hummus and cheese, rolled in a pita.

  • Rice dish with salad, your choice of protein and a hummus and yoghurt dressing

  • Grilled chicken and fresh salad dishes

  • Lamb or chicken skewers

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Combos with fries

  • Extra sauces in kebabs or on rice dishes

Pub food


  • Grilled chicken/fish with fresh salad or steamed veggies

  • Thin crust pizza

  • Salads with protein - be mindful of sauces!

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Fries

  • Battered fish

  • Thick or stuffed-crust pizzas

Cafe food


  • Eggs cooked your way with toast and veggies on the side e.g. sauteed spinach, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes

  • Roast veggie and egg frittata

  • Porridge with fresh or stewed fruit

  • Muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit

  • Toast (multigrain and sourdough) spread with avocado or nut butter

  • Roast veggie salad with protein

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Pancakes with syrup

  • Sausage rolls, pies

  • Sweet slices, cakes and biscuits

  • Large hot drinks with added syrups and creams



  • Freshly made grainy bread sandwiches or wraps with a protein-rich food (e.g. chicken, egg, tuna) and salad

  • Fruit and yoghurt tubs

Treat yourself in moderation:

  • Sausages rolls, pies, thick pizzas slabs

  • Doughnuts and muffins

This blog was especially created for our friends at southern cross while we help them out on there health journey.

Thanks from the team at Feel Fresh Nutrition!