Be a Savvy Diner

Helping you make healthier choices

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Eating away from home has become more common, with almost half of Canadians eating out at least a few times a week. Although restaurant meals may seem healthy, they are typically higher in calories and sodium than meals made at home. Knowing how many calories you need and how many calories are in your food can help you make healthy choices.

The facts:

  • People underestimate calories and sodium in restaurant meals.
  • The average sit-down restaurant meal has more than half the calories and 1.5 times the sodium you need in a whole day.
  • High calorie intakes are linked to obesity and high sodium intakes are linked to high blood pressure.
  • Restaurant meals are often higher in calories, sodium, unhealthy fats and sugar while low in vegetables, fruit and fibre.
  • Making better meal choices can help prevent obesity, diabetes and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Knowing the amount of calories and sodium in your meal can help you make better informed choices when eating out.

How do I make healthier choices?

Calories & Sodium

Calories are a measure of energy in food. Most adults need about 2000 calories a day but the exact number of calories you need depends on your age, gender, body size and activity level. Eating more calories than your body needs can lead to weight gain.

Sodium is an essential nutrient found in salt and many foods. Most adults should aim for 1500 milligrams of sodium a day. Our bodies need a small amount of sodium to be healthy, but too much can contribute to an increased risk of high blood pressure which can put you at risk for a stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Most of the sodium comes from packaged and ready-to-eat foods, condiments and in salt that is added during cooking or at the table.