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The Do's And Don'ts Of Dining Out

While it seems more of us are dining at home thanks to cooking shows such as MasterChef, I think we can all agree it’s nice to have a meal out every now and again. I recently dined at Coast Restaurant at Darling Harbour Sydney and the food was superb and well worth a night off cooking! On these special occasions I think ‘taste before nutrition’ – and I try to choose something from the menu that appeals to my taste buds but not my waist line. 

Here are some of my Do’s and Don’ts for when dining out:



  • Stick to two courses and if you love a good dessert ask for the dessert menu with the main menu so you can choose both courses at once.
  • Go for a fruit-based dessert but if you can’t go past the chocolate dessert choose an entree size main.
  • Make sure there are vegetables with your main – ask what your main comes with and if necessary order a vegetable side dish.
  • Ask for salad dressings on the side. Salad dressings can make vegetables taste so much better but ask that it come separately, so you can add as much or as little as you like.
  • Make fish or seafood one of your choice for entree or main, particularly if you don’t cook fish regularly at home.
  • Stick to one standard serve of wine about 150ml but take into account that restaurant glasses can vary from 120-180ml in size.
  • Alternate your drinks with a glass of water, if you choose to have more than one standard serve of alcohol.


  • Avoid ordering meats well done – the blackened char grill can cause some potentially cancer chemicals to be developed.
  • Avoid deep fried foods, but if you must have chips ask for the chips to be in a separate bowl and share with the table, rather than having them all to yourself.
  • Avoid adding salt to your plate – chances are the chef will have already added some but more importantly your meal alreadycontains balanced flavours on the plate and extra salt may upset this.

Keeping this in mind you can be confident you can take positive steps to making your restaurant meals just as healthy as the ones you make at home – so go on and make a reservation; you deserve the night off!

Author: Lisa Yates, Consultant Dietitian Adv APD

Lisa Yates is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian with 16 years experience in nutrition, communications, clinical practice, as well as strategy development and implementation.


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