In the UK we’re particularly fond of eating out. So much so that on average we each spend over £4,000 on restaurant meals every year.

Whether you’re enjoying lunch with a friend or dining out with your family, these 7 top tips to enjoying healthy meals will help you maintain healthy eating habits without giving up on a fun day or night out.

Nutritionist Sharon Hui, shares her favourite tips for making dining out an enjoyable treat rather than a diet disaster.

1. It’s good to share

Sharing a pudding rather than having one to yourself could save you up to 200 calories.

2. Dress down your salad

When you’re out, always order the salad dressing on the side so you can control how much you use. Some dressings can be high in fat and add unnecessary calories to your meal.

3. Get saucy

Opt for tomato-based sauces when having pasta dishes as creamy, buttery or cheesy sauces can be very high in calories.

For example, three tablespoons of hollandaise sauce contains over 200 calories.

4. Decode the menu

Knowing that sautéed potatoes have been fried and that dauphinoise potatoes have been cooked with cream can help you make healthier choices.

Some dishes are obviously high in fat but ask your waiter if you're not sure.

5. Put plant foods first

Always tuck into your vegetables first. It’s better to fill up on those than on less healthy parts of the meal such as the chips.

6. Perfect your portions

If the portion is too big, don't feel that you have to finish it. Most restaurants will let you take the rest home. You can always save leftovers and use them for another meal.

7. Enjoy your meal

Eat slowly and enjoy each mouthful. Savouring your food can help you to not overeat. It can take up to 20 minutes for your body to register that you are full, so it’s important not to eat too quickly.

Find out more

Read more about our Cancer Prevention Recommendations to find out how maintaining a healthy weight and eating well can help you to reduce your cancer risk.