What to enjoy & what to avoid when dining out on a diet

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Want to eat out without blowing the diet? The good news is that you can still go to Nando's...

Nandos chicken

© Kate Gilbert

Eating out can be a bit of a 'mare when you're on a diet. You may start with the best intentions - ordering a sparkling water and a salad - but it's only a matter of time before you're asking the waiter for 'just a small glass' of pinot and 'helping' your friend with her chips.

The key to staying healthy when eating out is not to deprive yourself - there's no point getting a bowl of olives if you're going to give in to temptation and order extra helpings of dessert.

Many restaurants feature their menu online, so take a look before you go out and decide what you want. It should go without saying, but the general rule of thumb is to avoid dishes that come deep-fried, crispy, sautéed, buttered or creamed.

You're better off going for things that have been steamed, baked, grilled, poached or roasted. And consider your portion size – you can order starters as your main course, split dishes with a friend, or ask for a doggy bag to take home.

So what can you eat and what should you avoid? Below are our picks for the most and least calorific items on the menu - taken from the nutritional information published by the restaurants on their websites. Knowledge is power - and it tastes good.

Pizza Express
Enjoy: Pomodoro Pesto Leggera, 500 kcal
Avoid: Francesco Mazzei Calabrese, 1,148 kcal

Wagamama
Enjoy: Grilled fish ramen, 478 kcal
Avoid: Chicken katsu curry, 1,149 kcal

Nando's
Enjoy: Chicken butterfly, 310 kcal + Corn on the cob, 69 kcal = 379 kcal
Avoid: 10 chicken wings, 630 kcal + Chips, 414 kcal = 1,044 kcal

Yo! Sushi
Enjoy: Tuna sashimi, 65 kcal per piece
Avoid: Chicken firecracker rice, 413 kcal

Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Enjoy: Veggie burger, 436 kcal
Avoid: Beef burger + fries, 1,565 kcal

Pizza Hut
Enjoy: Regular pan veg supreme pizza, 870 kcal
Avoid: Large pan BBQ meat feast, 2,400 kcal

Prezzo
Enjoy: Pollo Siciliana, 355 kcal
Avoid: Tre Gusti VIPizza, 1,362 kcal

Costa
Enjoy: Skimmed flat white, 77kcal + Biscotti, 158 kcal = 235 kcal
Avoid: Large hot chocolate, 432 kcal + Lemon and poppy seed muffin, 493 = 925 kcal

Pret
Enjoy: Sushi veg super wrap 292 kcal + Popcorn, 138 kcal = 430 kcal
Avoid: Chicken Caesar and Bacon Baguette, 584 kcal + Sea salt crisps, 218 kcal = 802 kcal

THIS BURGER IS MADE ENTIRELY FROM BACON

JESSIE J - SHOW US YOUR FRIDGE

PUB REVIEW: THE ELGIN, LONDON
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