How to Recognize Healthy Meals on Restaurant Menus

Eating out can cause a dilemma for anybody on a diet or looking after their health.  It can be difficult to choose a meal which is healthy, particularly as you don’t know the exact ingredients that will be used in each meal and the method used to cook the meal.  However, there are some ways that you  can recognize healthier meals on a menu.  Here are some tips on how to do so.

Grilled not fried

The method used for cooking offers a clue as to how healthy  an item is. Foods that are oven baked, griddled or grilled are usually healthier choices than items on the menu that are fried or battered.  Deep fried items are particularly unhealthy as the food absorbs a large amount of the fat when cooking.  If an item has side options, then avoid the fried choices such as fries and opt for either boiled potatoes or salad.


Many meals are served with a sauce, such as pasta, while others have sauce as an optional extra, for example, steak.  Sauces can greatly increase the number of calories and quantity of fat in your meal, dependant on the ingredients of the sauce.  When looking at a menu, try to choose the meals that have tomato or vegetable based sauces rather than sauces that will contain cream.


Salads are often a good choice from a menu if you are trying to be healthy. However, it is important to read the menu carefully as many salads are served with a dressing that may be oil based,. If this is the case then you can always ask for the salad to be served without the dressing or  for the dressing to be served separately so that you can minimize the amount of dressing that you eat.


If it says cream, chocolate or cheese in the name, then it is probably not the healthiest of choices.  Look on the menu for healthier choices such as fruit salad or sorbet.  In most cases, the healthiest option is to avoid the dessert trolley altogether.

Ask for help

If after reading the menu you are still unsure which the healthiest options would be, it is worthwhile asking for advice from the restaurant staff.  They may be able to offer guidance on the cooking method used or be able to tell you more about the ingredients used in your potential menu choices.