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How to Eat Healthy at the Restaurant?

Does the word “restaurant” invariably mean “excess” to you? Do you usually leave feeling uncomfortably bloated?

Here are a few tips you can use in popular restaurants to help you make more informed choices:


  • Choose the chicken skewer, or the chicken breast, skinless;
  • Replace fries with rice, vegetables, or a salad;
  • Use the a la carte menu (we tend to eat more than required by our hunger signals when eating a table d’hôte).

Sandwich bar

  • Do not get caught up in the 12-inch submarine hype! Start with a 6-inch submarine, and then if you are still hungry, eat a snack instead;
  • Order the sauce on the side;
  • Prefer mustard (which is fat free) to mayonnaise, or limit yourself to one sachet;
  • If you choose a combo, substitute the cookies or chips with a yogurt or a fruit, and keep it for later if you are not hungry enough;
  • If you are really hungry, order a vegetable soup with your meal.


  • If you suffer from high blood pressure, pay special attention to the type of sauce you choose, because most of them are really salty;
  • If you are hungry enough to order a first course, choose the spring rolls or dumplings (not the fried ones) rather than the egg rolls, tempura shrimps, or fried wontons;
  • Miso soup, though very salty, is a light option for a starter course when you are not very hungry, but wish join others for this service;
  • For the main course, prefer vegetable sautés to breaded meals such as General Tao chicken, or meals qualified as “crunchy”, which usually means fried;
  • Choose white rice or rice vermicelli instead of fried rice;
  • If you are not starving, think about sharing a meal with someone else, even if you have to order a soup or dumplings first.

Bon appétit!

By Marilyne Petitclerc

Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

How to Eat Healthy at the Restaurant? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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