Healthy Living in the North

Grab the good stuff when eating out for lunch

Wrap and side salad on a plate.

Going out for lunch doesn’t have to mean greasy burgers and salty fries! From tasting the rainbow to nixing the combo, Anita shares some great tips for healthy restaurant and takeout lunches.

Eating out is a treat, so you figure why not go for that juicy burger with extra fries or that cheesy meat-lovers pizza? You’ll eat vegetables later, right? But what if you’re not a brown-bagger and eat out for lunch more often? Added sugar, fat, and salt are abundant in restaurant and takeout offerings, lurking even in the non-greasy food options. Unfortunately, you can’t control what options there are to choose from. You can, however, control what you choose.

So, how do you make health-positive choices when eating out for lunch? Step one: keep reading!

Taste the rainbow!

  • Head for the colourful line of fresh veggies at your favourite wrap, sandwich, or pita place and load up.
  • Pick a side of delightful greens instead of something beige.

Don’t get sauced!

  • Request no sauce, half sauce, or sauce on the side.
  • Try out a tasty vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy one.

Nix the combo!

  • Fast food can be loaded with added sugar, salt, and fat, so give your metabolism a break and skip the sugary drink and extra side or dessert.
  • If you’re parched, try unsweetened iced tea or refreshing water.

Fibre is your friend!

  • Mix it up a little and choose whole grain options instead of white flour concoctions.
  • Fibre is the hero of any meal – it keeps you fuller for longer, helps lower cholesterol, and keeps your gut healthy.

Meatless Monday Midday Meal

  • Save the meat for dinner and try a vegetarian option for lunch – in addition to tasting the rainbow, you may see improvements to your wallet, too!
  • If your favourite lunch spot is low on vegetarian options, why not suggest they offer more and see what they come up with?

Get the down-low!

  • Find out just how much fat, calories, sodium, sugar, etc. are in your fast food go-to meal. Check out the nutritional information on the restaurant’s website.
  • Learn more about Informed Dining from Healthy Families BC.

It’s really all about choices and it’s all up to you! Don’t let your body down; feed it what it needs to stay happy and healthy until long after your working days are through!

Check out Dietitians of Canada for more tips on healthy choices while eating out.


Northern Health’s nutrition team has created these blog posts to promote healthy eating, celebrate Nutrition Month, and give you the tools you need to complete the Eating 9 to 5 challenge! Visit the contest page and complete weekly themed challenges for great prizes including cookbooks, lunch bags, and a Vitamix blender!

Anita Gillespie

About Anita Gillespie

Anita grew up in a little town near Victoria, B.C., and moved to Vancouver to pursue dietetics at the University of British Columbia. Now in her fifth and final year of the dietetics program, she finds herself completing an internship with Northern Health. Although it’s hard being away from friends and family, Anita is enjoying her time in the snowy north meeting the friendly locals. Cooking for one isn't too exciting but she tries to experiment with a new recipe each week. So far, so good!

Share