It's a typical family moment: The weekend rolls by after a hectic week and everyone in the family looks forward to heading to a favourite eatery for a family meal together - no cooking required, no dishes to be done, just a welcome opportunity to get out of the house and share a meal.
But sometimes, family restaurants are a minefield of high-fat, high-calorie options. Because how many of us actually pay attention to the calories we parents, or the kids, consume? Given that we are eating out on a more regular basis, the quest for healthy meals is even more important.
Of course, getting the whole family to eat well when dining out requires some education, planning, and patience. Fortunately, it is now a tad easier to get wholesome meals outside - thanks to the Healthier Dining Programme (HDP).
And HDP's campaign Eatfortreats has partnered a number of restaurants - you view the full list of participating outlets here - to serve up healthier dish options but still equally yummy food! One of the FB company to show its support for the programme is Fish & Co., which has 11 main courses under its 'Under 500 calories' menu.
Other than the lower-than-usual calorie count, the first thing that struck me when I first saw the menu was how affordable the main courses actually are. You know how there is always the notion when healthy eating equates to higher prices? The prices of the 'Under 500' main courses at Fish & Co. ranged between $7.95 and $12.95 - pretty economical especially for my family of five!
But how did the dishes fare when it came to the all-important taste test?
The wifey loves her Aglio Olio so the Shrimp and Clam Aglio Olio (404kcal) was a no-brainer, which even came with a free upgrade to wholegrain spaghetti for that added healthier choice. And surprisingly, it tasted just as good!
Ditto for the Seafood Spaghetti (471kcal) that Ayd had. Wholesome pasta served with mineral-rich seafood in a hearty tomato pesto sauce - who says healthy eating is bland and boring?
Always a fan of salmon, Ale gunned for the Baked salmon with Citrus Crust served with Mushroom Cream Sauce (437kcal) while Ash wolfed down the Grilled Salmon Cajun (443kcal).
The salmon was decent but what blew the monkies' minds (and tastebuds) away was the grilled pumpkins that came as sides. Admittedly, Ash and Ale were expecting French Fries as the usual side dishes so you can imagine their slight disgust when they first caught sight of the pumpkins. I led by example and popped one in my mouth. Believe me when I say I never knew that pumpkin could be this flavourful! Well, it turned out that every single piece of pumpkin on our plates vanished in the end.
Besides fighting with the monkies over the last piece of pumpkin, I had the Premium Snow Cod with Black Pepper Sauce (284kcal) which in my opinion, was the weakest link of our meal. The cod was rather tough and the saving grace was perhaps the coleslaw that came with it.
But all in, I guess our meal at Fish & Co. showed the monkies that healthier options when dining out are always available... and more importantly, the meals can taste just as appetizing.
Lesser calories consumed is always great, but what if I told you that you could win over $2 million in prizes just by choosing healthier dining options in the “Eat For Treats” campaign too???
All you have to do is to order at least one healthier dish which has been labelled with the Healthier Choice Identifier ( < 500kcal and/or wholegrain dish) from a participating Healthier Dining Partner outlet between now toand 31 January 2016 and you will receive an “Eat For Treats” peel card on the spot.
And we were pretty lucky to score a $5 Return voucher to Fish & Co.!
All you have to do is walk up to them and politely request for a photo to be taken together with them. Don't worry, they are a friendly bunch of people. :)
Upload the photo as a comment on this Facebook post on the spot and be rewarded with an Angry Bird Inflatable Water Bottle instantly!
Be sure to keep a lookout for your ‘date’ at the following locations during the next three weekends.