It is hard enough to diet, without being faced with the temptation of a takeaway menu and the thought of a night away from food preparation. Healthy choices are available, and almost all types of takeaway can be enjoyed without too much risk to the diet.
Pizzas can easily be transformed from fat-laden monsters too easy meals by avoiding thick- or stuffed-crust options. Go for thinner bases and choose toppings wisely; meats have a high-fat content and should be avoided or used sparingly. Extra cheese should be replaced with extra vegetables – a double health benefit there, one of your ‘five-a-day’ achieved without fuss. Express.co.uk recommends choosing sea-food topping for a different and healthier taste sensation.
Pasta meals often come with creamy sauces, delicious but dangerous! Tomato or other vegetable-based sauces are just as tasty and save significant calories. For example, swap carbonara for a tuna pasta salad, still, a lovely meal, but will not induce that feeling of overindulgence afterward.
Chinese food can be a pitfall for the unwary; some dishes are fabulous; others are packed with unwanted calories. In general, avoid anything that has ‘crispy’ in the title, as it usually means it has been deep-fried. Egg-fried-rice should be swapped for plain rice, and spring-rolls should be left off the menu. Interestingly enough, according to Mirror.co.uk, it is not the main meal dishes that can corrupt good intentions; it is the side dishes, which tend to add to the fat content and calorie count. Choose meals without batter and keep side-dishes to a minimum, opting for plain rice when possible. Express.co.uk cites Szechuan prawns with half a portion of plain rice as being a perfectly acceptable healthy takeaway option – delicious!
Indian food has a possibly unfair reputation of being the most fattening of all takeaway foods. While an Indian meal can mount up alarming calorie levels, it is possible to enjoy one without fear. Again, avoid the side dishes and extras that can be the equivalent of a small meal by themselves; poppadum’s, bhajis, pakoras, and naan should be ignored, but chapattis and plain rice can be left on. Rather than the creamier kormas, masalas and passandas opt for tandoori or madras curries and select healthy low-fat meats in the curry such as prawns or chicken or even try a vegetable curry.
Japanese food tends to be one of the healthier takeaway choices, according to the healthy living community website RealBuzz. As always, opt out of the fried options and do keep an eye on the salt-filled soy sauce. In general Japanese food tends to be low fat with an abundance of sea-food.
Thai food also has many healthy options, and a deliciously, satisfying meal can be enjoyed without ruining a diet. Many Thai curries have coconut milk, which is high in calories and 25% fat – steer clear in favor of clear soups and noodle dishes that can safely replace them with a far lower calorie count.
Your favorite Mexican takeaway can also stay on your dining list, but again you will need to make the healthy choices. Realbuzz tells us that a beef and cheese enchilada with sour cream contains more than twice the calories of a chicken fajita wrap.
Kebabs and burgers also have healthier choices. Doner kebabs tend to be high fat and slathered with mayonnaise, not right! Opt for a shish kebab where cubes of meat or vegetable are skewered and grilled, served with little or no sauce. Choose lean meat burgers, eschewing those with battered or breaded ingredients. Bacon, cheese and fattening sauces should be removed (or not applied in the first place!) while salad should be added. Leaving off the bun, too, can save calories.
The local fish and chip shop is usually the first to be discarded when the diet begins, and Weightwatchers encourages this, advising it is very hard to get a good meal within dietary guidelines. If you must indulge, ask for thicker-cut chips and grilled or baked fish.
A meal out can be planned as carefully as any other meal. Many eateries offer calorie guides on menus or their websites. Some also provide smaller plate sizes or children’s portions. Take advantage of these and enjoy your night out.