Healthy Takeaway Options
At times we all need to do it — pick up something for dinner on the way home after a long day. While many fast food and take away options are high in fat, salt and calories, when consumed in moderation, healthier take away options can be a regular part of your balanced healthy eating regime at home. The key to success when it comes to choosing take away options is to look for varieties that have some positive nutritional attributes — vegetables, salad and lean protein. Deep fried foods such as pizza, fish and chips, and fast food meal deals offer little nutritional value. And, with larger serving sizes for less money and plenty of extra fries, desserts and soft drinks, encourage us to overeat. On the other hand, simple options including BBQ chicken, sushi and stir fries can be nutritious options that still have the lure of a treat style meal — minus the extra fat and calories — if you make the right choices! What are best options when you have a hungry family needing a meal in minutes, but are still wanting to try and eat as healthily as you can? I have included six options below.
Thai food is often considered a ‘healthy’ choice thanks to its brightly coloured vegetable dishes. However, the truth is like many Asian cuisines, Thai food tends to be cooked using plenty of oil and high fat sauces. For this reason, heavy curry and noodles dishes should be avoided. But if you order a plain vegetable, tofu or prawn stir fry, you could get away with as little as 10-15g of fat, or better still a soup or Thai Beef salad can contain <10g of fat per serve.
A popular choice, Japanese food is generally lower in fat and calories than other cuisines but you do need to be careful of the fried dishes. You generally cannot go wrong with sashimi or even a small amount of brown rice sushi. Bulk up the meal with miso soup, seaweed salad and Edamame beans which are packed full of nutrition for very few calories.
BBQ Chicken and Salad
Often considered as one of the best choices nutritionally, the biggest thing to be mindful of is what part of the chicken you are eating and which type of salad you are choosing. Chicken breast and a plain green or Greek salad are generally low in fat and calories. But, if you choose a creamy pasta salad and the chicken drumstick along with plenty of tasty chicken skin, your fat intake could be as high as 40g for this ‘healthy’ choice.
Grilled Fish and Salad
If you are lucky enough to have a fish shop near you, grilled fish and salad is a low fat, nutritionally-balanced meal. The main issue with takeaway fish is that it’s often deep-fried and served with chips, potato scallops and other fried accompaniments. These are best left for occasional treats at the beach rather than a quick weeknight meal.
Mexican food is generally high in fat thanks to the guacamole, sour cream and fried chips. But, if you can order a burrito bowl — with just the meat and salad filling, minus the bread — you are left with a low-calorie dinner meal packed with plenty of nutrition. If you swap the rice for extra vegetables, it will be an even lighter choice.
If you can stay clear of the large serves of Lebanese bread and dips, the mix of tabouli, falafel, lamb or chicken skewers, kofta and cabbage rolls can offer a nutritious, filling meal for less than 15g of fat per serve. Just remember, the more vegetables and salad you eat, the lower your fat and calorie intake will be.