Food HacksPosted on 02.06.2014

Tips For Ordering Healthy Takeaway

The majority of Australian adults are overweight, and more often than not, it’s takeaway that gets the blame. It’s understandable — once upon a time, takeaway was restricted to greasy pizzas, calorific burgers and fish and chips. But c’mon people, it’s 2019, and making health-conscious takeout choices is easier than ever.

The key to healthy eating is knowledge — know what to order, what to avoid, and when to treat yourself.

As always, no fear, cause the Menulog team has built a nifty guide to help you make healthier decisions when next ordering in.

Healthy Thai

Entree: Tom Yum | Instead of: Curry Puffs

Soups are usually a fairly safe option, so long as they’re not packed with cream or salt or fried things. Not only a great, healthy alternative, tom yum is also objectively delicious. Spicy and sour, it’s packed full of fresh ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and chilli.

Pro: High protein, low calorie.
Con: Watch added coconut milk (which tends to be high on the calorie count).

Main: Satay Chicken | Instead of: Panang Curry

Satay chicken is lean and usually grilled, and while the peanut sauce packs a few calories, it’s crammed full of healthy proteins. More protein = more muscle = lifting more food to your mouth. Ask for the peanut sauce on the side, and use conservatively.

Pro: High in protein.
Con: The satay sauce is high in calories and fat.

Tip: Soak up tasty sauces with veggies, like broccoli and leafy greens, instead of rice.

Healthy Italian

Entree: Rocket Pizza | Instead of: Garlic Bread

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional slice of takeaway pizza. Opt for thin crust, go heavy on the mushrooms and vegetables, and go easy on the cheese.

Pro: Vegetables are high in vitamins and fibre.
Con: Keep an eye out for fatty cheeses and toppings.

Main: Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca | Instead of: Lasagne

Tomatoes should be your new best friend. This vegetable (technically fruit) is versatile, delicious, and perhaps most importantly, a rockstar hangover cure (in juice form, that is…). Pretty much any tomato-based pasta sauce is likely to be a healthy winner, provided it’s not accompanied with a wheel of parmesan.

Pro: A pasta full of veggies will be high in fibre and vitamins.
Con: Most restaurant pasta is white, which is less healthy than whole wheat pasta. Watch out for cheese.

Tip: Order hollow pasta like penne to trick yourself into eating less.

Healthy Indian

Entree: Tandoori Chicken | Instead of: Samosas

Tandoori chicken tastes so good that you’d think it was one of the more gluttonous dishes, but in fact, it’s very nutritious! Chicken is a lean meat, and tandoori is cooked with very little fat or oil. The secret is the tandoor, a cylindrical oven that can fire up to high temperatures. The flavour and vibrant red colour come from the zesty yoghurt-and-spice marinade.

Pro: Low fat, high protein.
Con: Nothing, really – just accompany with some vegetables and chill on the naan and rice.

Main: Daal | Instead of: Butter Chicken

Daal might sound like a term of endearment from The Castle, but it’s way more exciting than rissoles. The main ingredients are high protein beans or lentils, which are boiled with turmeric. They can then be mixed with a variety of other ingredients, including tomatoes and tamarind, for a tangy kick.

Pro: High protein, high fibre.
Con: Some daal can contain high amounts of oil.

Tip: Share your food.

Healthy Chinese

Entree: Steamed Vegetable Dumplings | Instead of: Spring Rolls

Dumplings appear in many all across the world, but it’s hard to compete with Chinese dumpling mastery. If you avoid the deep-fryer (steamed only, people), mystery meats and salty sauces, dumplings can be a light, healthy and satisfying treat.

Pro: High in fibre and vitamins.
Con: The contents of dumplings can be hard to determine.

Main: Stir-Fry | Instead of: Sweet and Sour Pork

For flavour, colour and texture it’s hard to go past stir-fry. It’s fast, diverse and can contain pretty much anything you want it to – including a huge range of fresh vegetables and lean meats.

Pro: You can pack it full of as many nutrients as you like.
Con: Salty or sugary sauces.

Tip: Eating with chopsticks can slow your consumption and leave calorie-laden sauces and dressings behind.

Healthy Japanese

Entree: Edamame | Instead of: Agedashi Tofu

Beans. Who knew? Edamame are simple, tasty and just so, so moorish. They’re also extremely nutritious, packed full of protein, fibre and nutrients.

Pro: High in protein, fibre and nutrients, low in fat.
Con: Often served with salt.

Main: Sushi and Sashimi | Instead of: Tempura

Fish, vegetables, seaweed and rice: this one’s a no-brainer. Keep an eye out for sneaky high calorie ingredients like tempura, fried chicken and mayonnaise, though, and don’t go overboard with the soy.

Pro: High in fibre, vitamins and protein, depending on ingredients.
Con: The calories in white rice can add up quickly. Eat sushi with a high ratio of fish and vegetables.

Tip: Wasabi is proven to have anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effects.