Cooking and Reuse

Ten things to think about when eating out

Eating out has become more common than ever before, whether it’s the forecourts of petrol stations or a fancy restaurant. While eating out is tasty and convenient, it has become a major cause of food waste in Ireland. Most restaurants do their best to prevent food waste but we customers play an important part too. Here are some things to think about when eating out:

 1. Share a starter

Although you may be ravenous when you first order, you may not have room for three courses. By sharing a starter, you’ll have more room for dinner! The same can be done for dessert. If you’re pretty satisfied but really crave something sweet, ask whoever you’re dinning with if they would like to go halves.

2. Ask for a doggy bag

Don’t be afraid to bring home leftovers from your plate (or even from serving bowls at the table). Most places are used to packing food to go.

3. Perfect portions

Some businesses don’t advertise half portions but are happy to serve them if you ask. 

4. Hold the sauce

Ask your server to hold off on things you know you won’t eat. Read the menu carefully and if you don’t something that comes with your dish, just ask to leave it out. Coleslaw and sauces are major culprits. Very often, a restaurant will allow you to swap out for something you do like.

5. Consider à la carte

Set menus can encourage us to overeat or leave food behind. Before you order, check out the à la carte options. A set meal you can’t finish might not be such good value after all.

6. Don’t fill up on bread

Many restaurants offer baskets of bread or poppadums while you’re waiting to be served. If you’re hungry and you know they won’t spoil your appetite, go for it. But if you’re accepting them just because they’re there, tell your waiter that you’d rather forgo these nibbles.

7. Save the sachets

When ordering food out, you’ll often get way more condiments than you need. Refuse any that you know you won’t eat. You can always ask for more.

8. Know your appetite

It’s easy for our eyes to be bigger than our stomachs, especially at a buffet or pre-paid breakfast. There’s no need to get carried away. Just because it’s paid for doesn’t mean that it’s ok to waste it.

9. Try trayless

If you’re eating somewhere that uses trays, try to go without. You’ll be less likely to pack on the food.

10. Just ask!

If you want to order a dish you’ve never tried before but are unsure of how it will taste, talk to the waiting staff. Ask them about it and try to find out if it’s actually something you’d like to eat.

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