We all love a good takeaway, don’t we? Nothing beats tucking into a pizza or a chow mein on a Friday night in front of the telly. However, a lot of our favourite takeaway meals are stuffed with added fat and salt, which can spell disaster if you like to keep an eye on your waistline.
Don’t panic. The good news is that if you make smart choices with your order, you can still enjoy your favourite takeaways relatively guilt free. Here’s our quick guide to picking the healthy option next time you ‘order in’:
The Chinese takeaway menu can be a nightmare for your diet, as a whopping 60-85% of the calories in a Chinese meal can come from fat. A lot of the dishes are packed with salt too, so you really need to be smart when picking a healthy choice.
It can help to learn the lingo used in the menu. Dishes with the words ‘jum’ (poached), ‘chu’ (broiled), and ‘kow’ (roasted) in the name are great because they suggest that the food hasn’t been fried. Naturally, stay away from anything with ‘fried’ or ‘breaded’ in the title, as this stuff is likely to be deep fried and packed with unnecessary calories.
Order steamed or boiled rice with your main dish, as it is a relatively low calorie way to make the meal nice and filling. Order brown rice if you can, but if it’s not on the menu, don’t sweat it. Boiled white rice is far better for you than its special fried counterpart, and far lower in calories.
When serving out your meal, spoon the meat and vegetables onto the rice and leave the fatty, salty sauce behind. Try eating with chopsticks too, as this can reduce the amount of oil that you pick off the plate.
Indian cuisine is wide and varied, so it’s actually quite easy to pick a healthy takeaway off the menu.
Tandoori dishes are great, as they don’t have any fatty sauce and the extra fat from the meat drips off in the oven. However, if can’t resist a saucy dish, go for something tomato based, like a bhuna or a rogan josh, and steer away from creamy dishes like kormas and passandas.
As with a Chinese, bulk up your meal with steamed basmati rice and avoid the fried stuff. A good alternative to the high-sugar naan bread are chapattis, which are flat breads made out of wheat flour and very tasty.
If you fancy something a bit more authentic, go for a lentil dhal. Dhal is very popular in India and incredibly nutritious, without all the extra calories.
If you’re on a diet or watching what you eat, the word ‘pizza’ might send you into a cold sweat. However, while it isn’t the healthiest food in the world, everything is fine in moderation and if you make the right choices you can enjoy a tasty Italian meal that is relatively low in calories.
When ordering a pizza, always go for the thin or ‘Italian’ base. Pan bases soak up lots of fat and add unwelcome calories to your meal.
Top your pizza with a chicken, fish, or vegetable topping, as they will bulk out the pizza with extra nutritional value without adding many calories. Steer away from oily pepperoni and extra cheese as these will only add fat, oil and salt to your meal. Many pizza places have the option of a half-cheese or low fat cheese topping, so be sure to ask when you phone your order in.
What are your favourite takeaways? Let us know in the comments section below!