We get it, you don’t always have time to cook. And with so many great apps available nowadays to make takeout food that much easier to grab-and-go or have delivered, almost all of us do it at least once a week. But just because we want the convenience doesn’t mean we also want the calories.
That’s why we’ve assembled these 19 easy hacks to make takeout healthier, while keeping it delicious.
- Dying for a pizza? Opt for a pesto base and top it with goat or feta cheese. Or go for lots of fresh vegetables (not just jarred hot peppers and olives) and skip on the fatty deli meats.
- If you’re really craving some meat on the slice, opt for ham or fresh pieces of chicken or steak. They’re definitely the healthiest out there in terms of fat content. Skip the processed pepperoni, bacon and sausage.
- Blot your slice! It may seem ridiculous, but some say you can save yourself some extra calories by getting rid of the grease.
- Stay away from pan pizzas and go for whole wheat, thin crusts wherever possible.
- Stay away from extra cheese or sour cream, and pile on an extra serving of fibre-filled black beans and guacamole instead. But stay away from refried beans – they often come with extra fat.
- Always order your sauce on the side, and dip sparingly.
- If they’re available, corn tortillas save you calories and add more fibre to your diet than shells made with wheat. If they aren’t available, go for soft-shelled tacos instead of the fried, hard-shelled variety.
- We know, they’re delicious, but skip the spicy rolls with fried tempura bits and mayonnaise and treat yourself to some fresh sashimi pieces or rolls with fresh fish instead. If you can’t resist, just order one “must-have” roll.
- Opt for rolls made with brown rice or quinoa. The extra protein and fibre will fill you up with complex carbs rather than starchy white rice.
- Instead of dunking your sushi into salt-heavy soy sauce, swirl your chopsticks in the sauce first and then pick up your piece for just a hint of flavour.
- Craving some chicken? Always go for rotisserie over the fried variety.
- If you do have a fried craving that can’t be satisfied with rotisserie, limit yourself to a breast or a leg and stick with salad as your side.
- Going for Portuguese chicken? Skip the bun and pick either the rice or the potatoes, and round it out with a salad instead.
- Swap out the General Tso Chicken for some Kung Pao chicken. The first is fried and laden with fat, while the second is stocked with vegetables and roasted chicken.
- Order steamed brown rice over white rice or any kind of fried rice, and mix it in with a veggie-filled side or main.
- Grab the steamed dumplings rather than the fried variety.
- If it’s lo mein you’re after, order the veggies instead of the chicken. You’ll save yourself more than 300 calories while stocking up on vitamins. Ask for extra veggies if you get the chance.
- Swap Chicken Tikka Masala or butter chicken on your next Indian night for the chickpea-laden Chana Masala. You’ll save yourself a whole bunch of calories from the heavy cream and ghee (clarified butter).
- If your local Indian takeout offers tandoori, be sure to take advantage. The meat is cooked in a clay oven on skewers, making it one of the healthiest options on the menu.
- Order whole wheat roti instead of calorie-heavy naan bread, and skip the rice. Or, if you really need a rice fix, keep it to half a cup only (roughly the size of your fist).
Takeout is notorious for its large portion sizes, often giving us way more food than we could possibly need. A great way to automatically ensure you don’t overindulge is to put away half the food before you even sit down to eat. Plus, then you’ll have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Hey — you ordered healthy, so you deserve it.