Most of us have 9 to 5 jobs on paper, but work even longer hours. We’re usually exhausted by the end of the day. It’s no surprise therefore that our health takes a backseat, with cooking being an alien concept and Deliveroo being at the top of our credit card bills. We rely on quick and easy food – ready meals that we can just pop in the microwave and we buy waffle mix instead of spending ages sourcing the separate ingredients and making it all from scratch.
After one too many takeouts, you may have started to notice the need for a new wardrobe due to an ever-expanding waistline. Your doctor is warning you that your health isn’t exactly optimal. And you’ve noticed that walking up the stairs is getting you out of breath. In short, all those pizzas and burgers are starting to catch up with you. But if life is stopping you from cooking healthy in the kitchen, unhealthy takeout food isn’t your only option. There are plenty of options out there that are legitimately good for you.
What to Order at a Pizza Parlour
The average large Domino’s pizza hovers near the two thousand calorie mark. But not every pizza is created equal. There are several ways that you can ensure your pizza is actually a healthy, rather than a guilty pleasure:
- Look for the light option – Many restaurants, such as Pizza Express in the UK, run a light menu. The Leggera, for example, will only add 600 calories to your gut.
- Blot the oil – If your pizza looks a little oily, get a paper towel and blot it away. It can make a difference of 30-40 calories per slice.
- Go for the thin crust – less crust equals less calories, simple.
- Choose veggies – They’re good for you and high in fibre, keeping you fuller for longer.
- Avoid meaty pizzas – It’s fine to add a little bit of chicken or Canadian bacon, but avoid meat feast pizzas that pack on the pepperoni, cheese, and meatballs. The saturated fat on those is ridiculous.
Indian = Healthiest Choice?
We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that other than your local salad bar, an Indian restaurant can be one of the healthiest takeout options. And they’re getting even better at the source, with Indian restaurants responding to market demand for greater choice in their meals.
With eating out now the norm for many of us, Indian food can be a solid first option for these reasons:
- Healthy ingredients – Indian food is full of healthy ingredients, including turmeric and ginger.
- Deep fried is a no no – Avoid anything that’s deep-fried and you should be fine.
- Roti or Naan? – Go for roti over naan. It’s made with whole wheat instead of white flour. We also happen to think it’s tastier.
- Healthy alternatives – If you want creamy, order a side of raita instead of a creamy dish.
- Fresh is best – Good Indian restaurants will use fresh ingredients and no preservatives.
- Feeling super hungry? – Instead of an extra naan or roti, go for filling veggies such as saag (spinach), or daal (lentils). They’re super flavoursome and usually quite healthy.
Mexican food has an incredible reputation for its flavour, but the same can’t be said for what people think it’ll do to your health (hint: it’s not positive). However, Mexican food doesn’t have to be full of salt and saturated fats.
Here’s how to do it:
- Know your beans – Go for regular black beans, instead of the refried variety.
- Don’t eat the nachos – They’re full of empty extras such as sour cream and cheese, which won’t fill you up. Also, they’re not even Mexican. Americans made these up to cater to the Tex-Mex crowd.
- Lean protein – If you want a burrito, go for a lean protein (chicken, for example) and opt for a bunch of veggies. You can have some cheese, but make sure they go easy on the amount. For that extra flavour, ditch the sour cream and choose guacamole instead.
- Strip it back – If you’re really counting the calories, skip the wrap and go for a naked burrito.
- Big is actually better – Instead of 2 small burritos, go for a big one that’s full of filling. Each wrap has a bunch of calories, so best to limit yourself to a single big, tasty burrito.
For Your Favourite Chinese Place
You know those wee cartons you get at Chinese takeouts? They’re really meant for two, as they’re usually stuffed with over 1,000 calories worth of tastiness. Our first tip: share your carton with your partner, roommate, or friend.
- Go steamed – Opt for steamed dumplings or vegetables and avoid the fried stuff.
- Choice your sauce wisely – Black bean sauce has fewer than 150 calories per cup and it’s also low (well, relatively speaking!) on fat.
- Avoid sweet and sour – It’s code for ‘fatty and unhealthy’. Each of these dishes is deep fried and has a pink sauce that just looks unhealthy!
- Keep it wholegrain – Avoid fried rice and go for the brown stuff instead.
Considering the scope of this topic, we can’t exactly give you a full picture of what’s healthy and what’s going to negatively affect your arteries and waistline. However, it’s a start and should point you in the right direction. The rest is, well, up to you.
Make sure you read those labels before placing your order and get to know the ingredients. Remember that something may look healthy, but may be full of yucky fats, sugars, and calories. Restaurants are starting to realise we’re becoming more concerned with what we eat, so do a Google search for healthy takeouts in your area. Yes, they do exist.