Everyone loves a takeaway. They’re tasty, convenient and can feel like a really special occasion.
We can’t stress enough that your food choices are not a ‘diet’, but healthy eating habits for life. That’s why the occasional takeaway can definitely fit into your lifestyle!
A takeaway doesn’t need to hinder your progress when it comes to healthy eating or even weight loss. It’s just best to have them less frequently (once or twice a month) and get back to your normal healthy eating habits after.
If, however, you’d like some ideas on how to make those takeaways a little bit more nutritious, here are a few handy tips and swaps.
1. Plan ahead
If you know that you are going to be having a takeaway, have a look at the menu ahead of time and decide what you’ll have.
This way, you’ll be making your choice before you’re starving – which makes it far easier to make a healthier choice!
Don’t be afraid to ask if dishes can be altered to make them healthier and more well-balanced.
2. Be mindful of portion sizes
Takeaways generally offer larger than normal portion sizes. It may be worth sharing a meal or keeping half a portion for lunch the next day with a side of vegetables.
Takeaways often offer meal deals that include starters, a main, sides and a fizzy drink. Whilst these seem to be great value for money, they’re too much for one person. It’s best to stick to a single meal choice or share a meal offer with a friend or family member.
If you can, choose either a starter or a dessert, rather than both.
3. Opt for a healthy side dish
If you’d like to have a side dish, why not ask for a side salad or vegetables, instead of rice or chips? Alternatively, ask for a smaller serving of rice and chips and pair it with a side salad.
If you’ve already got some veggies in the fridge, don’t be afraid to create your own side dish to go with your takeaway.
4. Avoid fried, battered, crispy & creamy foods
Fried, battered, crispy and creamy dishes are often extremely high in calories.
Instead go for grilled, steamed, baked, roasted or stir-fried meat/tofu and vegetable options with tomato-based sauces.
5. Stay carb savvy
When it comes to takeaways, it’s pretty hard to avoid refined carbs and sugar altogether.
Of course, enjoying them as they come is fine if you intend to enjoy a takeaway occasionally.
But if you would like to healthify your takeaway, or tend to have more regular takeaways, be picky with the type and quantity of carbs you eat.
- Swap a burger in a bun and fries for a burger with a side salad or a naked burger with fries
- Swap pizza and a side of garlic bread for pizza with a side salad
- Swap naan bread for yourself for naan bread and a side salad to share
- Swap fizzy drinks for sparkling or plain water
Healthy takeaway swaps
Fish & chips
- Ask for a smaller portion of chips
- Have a side of salad if they offer one (or make your own at home)
- Choose fish coated in breadcrumbs rather than batter
- Choose a thin crust pizza instead of a deep pan one
- Load up on vegetable toppings such as artichokes, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and rocket
- Pick unprocessed meat toppings such as grilled chicken, ground beef, prawn or tuna
- Share a pizza or have an individual/small size instead of a large one
- If you’re having a side, choose a salad instead of chips or garlic bread
- Choose a tomato-based sauce instead of a creamy one
- If portions are large, consider sharing a dish
- Have a salad or some extra non-starchy vegetables on the side
- Avoid deep-fried dishes such as spring rolls
- Choose vegetable side dishes such as edamame or lettuce wraps instead of rice or noodles
- Go for steamed dishes or stir-fries with plenty of vegetables
- Avoid anything with ‘sweet’ in its name, as these dishes are extremely high in sugar
- Choose grilled or sauteed meat or tofu with plenty of stir-fried vegetables
- Choose tomato-based sauces such as madras or jalfrezi
- Avoid deep-fried and creamy dishes
- Opt for tandoori-cooked meat or tikka dishes (on a skewer)
Burgers and kebabs
- Choose a shish kebab instead of a doner
- Pick grilled chicken burgers over breaded or fried chicken
- Avoid battered burgers