Eating out is often a nice treat, or, for some busy families, a convenient option when there aren’t enough hours in the day to cook a meal. But eating out doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthy.


Eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight can help reduce your risk of cancer. And a balanced diet that includes five to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day is known to have a protective effect against many types of cancer.


Making healthy choices when dining out doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favourite foods. To make it even easier, choose to eat at places that are recognized under Eat Smart! — Ontario’s Healthy Restaurant Program. This program recognizes top Ontario restaurants and cafeterias for achieving excellence in providing healthy food choices and a healthy environment for their customers.

Here are a few tips for the next time you’re eating out or eating on the run:

  • Order vegetables and fruit: Order at least one vegetable side dish, a salad, a glass of juice or a fruit cup to go with your meal. Instead of ordering meat, try meals that are planned around vegetables and fruit.

  • Boost your fibre: Instead of white bread and pastas, ask for whole wheat or whole grain buns, tortilla wraps, pizza crusts and pastas. For an extra boost of fibre, try chilli or bean burritos with a salad or generous amount of vegetables on the side.

  • Choose less fat: Dine at restaurants that have lower fat menu items that you enjoy and always ask for higher fat foods, like salad dressing and sour cream, on the side. Avoid deep-fried foods, such as French fries, fish fillet and fried chicken, and go for healthier choices like submarine sandwiches with lean meats and vegetables.

  • Keep it small: Restaurant portions are usually large so don’t feel that you have to clean your plate. Ask for a half portion or take the leftovers home.

eat smart