Healthy Takeaway Alternatives
We all love takeout for all the very obvious reasons, but often times you want restaurant food minus the guilt (or bloating). So here’s a quick guide to help you make healthier choices while still enjoying your many of your fave takeout dishes.
Everybody loves pizza, but it’s typically considered a fairly indulgent takeaway choice.
But hey, the thing is that the traditional Italian pizza has a thin, crusty base, topped with amazing veggies, extra virgin olive oil, a good buffalo mozzarella, and salad greens on the side. Ordered like that, you’re onto a good thing! Many restaurants now also offer a wholemeal base, or if you’re wheat-intolerant you can try the ancient wheat variety called spelt.
When ordering Thai, don’t look past the list of stir-fries. These are almost without exception good takeaway choices and a super easy way to boost your intake and variety of vegetables. The only nutritional negative here is the salt content, so be mindful, particularly if you have high blood pressure. On the whole though, these are terrific options.
Opt for seafood as your protein choice if you rarely cook fish at home, or look for the fish options on the menu. They often do fabulous steamed fish dishes with plentiful Asian greens. And if you’re a curry fan, you can certainly enjoy these too, but watch the portion size as all that coconut milk pushes up the overall kilojoules.
Try spooning out the meat/fish and veggies and adding just a little of the sauce. Thai rice tends to be very high GI, so you can always heat up a packet of brown rice at home and have this instead.
The real nutritional plus about Indian cuisine is its liberal use of spices — they’re so good for us and have medicinal as well as nutritional benefits! The only issue is that the dishes can be very high in the wrong type of fat from ghee, pushing up the kilojoules.
Your healthiest options are those cooked in the Tandoor, as they tend to have no sauce but all the flavour of the spice rub and yoghurt. Look for tandoori chicken or prawns and team them with a wholemeal roti, a lentil or bean dhal and a side salad.
Japanese food is a notoriously healthy takeaway and it’s hard to go wrong here. Just watch out for too many deep fried options and try to order some extra veggies. Japanese cuisine incorporates loads of veggies, but when we order only sushi or a teriyaki dish we forget about them. Try ordering the seaweed salad (packed with nutrients), or a tofu or sashimi salad.
Balance the sushi with a serve of sashimi to boost your protein and healthy fat intake while limiting the white rice, and opt for edamame and/or miso soup on the side.
Popular culture demonises carbs, but the truth is that, in moderation, the right carbs are actually good for you…
Pasta actually has a low GI, meaning it won’t send your blood sugars rocketing after a meal – provided you keep your portion size in check. In Italy, pasta is served as a first course, which avoids the enormous serving sizes we tend to see here. By all means, order the pasta, but try to choose tomato or extra virgin olive oil-based sauces over the creamy ones, and choose lean meats or seafood to go with it plus a side salad.
Other good options are simply meat or seafood with vegetables. Just watch for loads of extra cheese or rich sauces that boost the kilojoule count.
Love burgers? Don’t worry, they don’t need to be a diet-breaker…
A small (albeit growing) number of restaurants offer a wholemeal bun and the ability to choose your own fillings. Add as many veggies as you can, perhaps some avocado in place of mayo, and a side salad instead of chips.
A chicken fillet burger is another good idea, but do check that it’s a fresh fillet (versus the deep-fried crumbed version). If you’re willing, have a veggie burger! Honestly, they’re actually super delicious.