Eat out healthily but also cheaply

The international Slow Food organisation is founded upon the idea that people should have access to good local food and where possible this should be sourced as locally as possible, we at Slow food Norwich are part of this growing movement and always support local producers and markets where possible.
We were contacted last month by Julie Broadfoot who introduced us to an article about how to eat out but still enjoy good healthy food that is also inexpensive, very much fitting in with the Slow Food ethos.
We very much support the ideals and ideas that Julie has put into her article that she sent to us and very  much hope to co operate with her in the future. 
Julie has worked in the past in the food industry, is now a mum and writes articles about subjects she enjoys, such as good food, good health and home budgeting and below is part of the article that she introduced us at Slow food Norwich.....

Eating healthily doesn’t have to be the end of your social life. In fact, there are plenty of options and steps you can take to ensure you eat healthily when you eat out at a restaurant. Choosing the type of restaurant you go to, specific meal and way it’s prepared can all contribute to a balanced lifestyle and ensure you don’t sacrifice seeing friends and family for the sake of your health. In addition, this way of eating doesn’t have to be expensive and forward planning can ensure you don’t over-eat and over-spend next time you eat out.
In 2014, there are plenty of healthy restaurants around; fast food chains are no longer the only option. Look online and research the healthiest restaurants open in your area, often these offer incredibly healthy options for reasonable prices. The majority of restaurants have a menu available online, so read this and pick what you’d like beforehand. This way, you won’t be faced with a menu full of unhealthy food which you want to eat – you’ll already know what you’re ordering. This can also allow you to budget your money for the evening.
The hungrier you are, the more likely you are to overeat at your next meal. This is a huge problem when it comes to diets, as many starve themselves and this can lead to binge eating later. Eat a normal lunch and have a healthy snack, like grapes, before going out for dinner. This will ensure you’re not starving when you get to the restaurant and therefore tempted to over-order. Similarly, don’t drink too much alcohol, as this can inhibit you, as well as making you feel more hungry later, so this can result in over-eating. The cost of alcohol eating in a restaurant is not cheap so making your bill much larger than you budgeted for
A lot of meals offer a choice of different sides to have with your meal. These will usually include chips, new potatoes,salad and steamed vegetables. It’s up to you to pick the best option for you. Chips are usually deep fried and loaded with trans fat, which can cause high cholesterol. Therefore, these are obviously the worst option for a healthy meal. However, the other sides depend on your dietary needs. For example, if you eat a low carb diet, the new potatoes aren’t a good option but for many, new potatoes can be a great source of carbohydrates without over-doing it on the fat. Vegetables are always a fantastic healthy option and don’t cost any more than the less healthy options; just make sure that any dressings or butter is left off to ensure you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.
Remember, a healthy diet is about balance, so the odd portion of chips isn’t going to do much to steer you off track. Don’t become obsessed with tracking calories, just listen to your appetite and how your body feels so that healthy eating becomes a way of life rather than a diet. The best way to eat healthily on a budget is to ensure you don’t get so hungry you binge eat on expensive junk food. Keep a supply of healthy snacks in your home to keep your sugar and hunger levels topped up.