We all love a good takeaway… but this treat can more often that not see us counting the cost (and calories) afterwards.But there are ways that you can still enjoy your favourite takeouts without feeling guilty (trust me it is possible).
Regularly eating too much fat, saturates and salt – all common in takeaways – can also play havoc with our long-term health, energy, sleep and our waistline.
Here are a couple of out favourite take aways below, with ideas on what to order and not miss out on those social occassions with your friends and family.
Chinese is a fan favourite among most people with Curry, chow mein, sweet and sour, spring rolls and fried rice are what we’re most likely to go for.
Here a few healthy tips:
For starters, choose chicken satay skewers – the chicken is usually grilled and comes with cucumber chunks. Or opt for steamed dumplings – just 40 calories each.
Soups are a filling choice Clear varieties contain the fewest calories –hot and sour has just 80. But even crab or chicken and sweetcorn soup come in at a reasonable 170 calories.
Choose main dishes made with beef, chicken or prawns (that aren’t battered or fried). A serving of beef with green peppers and black bean sauce has 410 calories, while Szechuan prawns with vegetables contains 300.
Noodle-based chow mein is good for controlling portions – it’s just one carton of food. Studies show the more food we’re faced with, the more we eat.
Use chopsticks to slow you down – that way your body will have more time to recognise when you’re full
Most starters are a calorie nightmare a portion of barbecue spare ribs has a huge 870 calories. Wontons, pancake rolls, spring rolls, crispy seaweed, sesame prawn toast and battered prawns are all deep-fried, so best avoided.
Prawn crackers might be free with your order, but they’ll cost your waistline – each bag has 570 calories.
Fried rice – egg, vegetable, chicken or special – means oil is added, so stick to boiled or jasmine.
Anything named “special” – fried rice, chow mein, chop suey – usually has lots of extra ingredients like meat, prawns and eggs, so more calories.
Duck is normally served with its fatty skin and is often deep-fried (crispy aromatic duck, for example). Each filled pancake has 120 calories.
4 pieces sesame prawn toast = 610 caloriesSweet and sour battered pork = 960 caloriesEgg fried rice = 560 caloriesTOTAL = 2,130 calories
Chicken and sweetcorn soup = 170 caloriesChicken chow mein = 590 caloriesTOTAL = 760 calories
Save 1,370 calories
Around a quarter of us put an Indian at the top of our takeaway list. With Chicken tikka masala and chicken jalfrezi the biggest hits.
Here are a few healthy tips:
Poppadoms are deep fried, but if you can stick to just one, that’s only 115 calories. Serve with raita (cucumber dip) and tomato sambal (chopped tomato and onion) rather than higher-sugar mango chutney.
Chicken and prawn curries are usually lower in calories than beef or lamb. Partner them with boiled rice instead of oil-containing pilau, which has around 100 more calories per carton.
Make healthier decisions with your curry
Veggie curries – cauliflower, chick peas, lentil (dhal), aubergine or spinach – are good for boosting filling fibre.
Dry dishes, such as tandoori, tikka or bhuna, are usually much lower in calories than those with sauce. Tandoori has around 370 calories per serving.
The spicier the curry, the better – a small portion will satisfy your taste buds and you’ll eat more slowly, giving your body the 20 minutes it needs to send a message to your brain to say you’re full.
Biryani is a great choice as it includes rice as part of the dish, so you don’t need to order an extra portion on the side.
Bhajis and samosas are deep-fried, so high in calories. A typical serving of bhajis contains 430 calories.Sauces are usually made with stacks of oil or ghee (clarified butter), so spoon the meat and veg on to your plate but leave out the sauce.Curries cooked in creamy sauces are the highest in calories. Masala and korma dishes, for example, are made with cream and ground almonds, while pasanda dishes are cooked with cream.
Naan bread adds huge amounts of calories – 500 calories for plain and 750 calories for peshwari.
Onion bhaji = 430 caloriesChicken tikka masala = 1,250 caloriesPilau rice = 500 caloriesTOTAL = 2,180 calories
Chicken tikka starter = 250 caloriesKing prawn balti = 605 caloriesPlain rice = 390 caloriesTOTAL = 1,245 calories
SAVE 935 calories
Pepperoni is our top topping, followed by a classic margherita. It’s the variety of base and what you put on it that makes the difference in calories.
Here are a few healthy tips:
You don’t need a starter or side, but if you can’t resist, potato wedges are usually the best option – just don’t add dip.Traditional Italian and thin-crust pizzas are much lower in fat and calories. For example, from Domino’s, a slice of cheese and tomato from a large pizza has 218 calories with a stuffed crust, 158 calories with a classic crust, 130 calories with a thin and crispy crust and 115 calories with an Italian-style crust.Good toppings include onions, chillies, mushrooms, peppers, spinach, olives, asparagus, pineapple, tuna, prawns, chicken, sweetcorn and extra tomato.Ask for half the amount of cheese to be used – and don’t drizzle with extra oil.Skip the garlic bread – it’s loaded with 130 calories per slice, even more if topped with cheese.Skip the dips – they’re packed with salt, and creamy dips are high in calories. Garlic and herb dip has 170 calories, while honey and mustard has 110 calories.Avoid meat toppings, such as salami, pepperoni, bacon and ham to help cut calories, fat and salt. Skip extra cheese too.
2 slices cheesy garlic bread = 340 calories½ large stuffed-crust meat pizza = 1,050 caloriesTOTAL = 1,390 calories
½ portion potato wedges = 170 calories½ large thin and crispy crust vegetable pizza = 550 caloriesTOTAL = 720 calories
Save: 670 calories
4. Fish and chips
Here are a few healthy tips:
Don’t feel guilty about the fish – cod, plaice and haddock are nutritious (yes, even with the batter). They’re packed with protein, which helps us feel fuller for longer – a small portion provides 40% of our daily needs.
A portion of battered cod is a source of potassium, phosphorus and vitamin B6, and is especially rich in selenium, iodine and vitamin B12.
Add mushy peas – a portion provides 13% of your daily fibre needs.
Go for a fish cake – with around 200 calories it’s usually half that of fish.
Size matters – choose the smallest available and share a portion of chips.
Don’t add curry sauce – it’s an extra 110 calories, with few nutrients.
Skip the salt pot – a typical portion of cod and chips contains 0.4g salt on its own. If you can’t bear it without, try a salt substitute like LoSalt.
Skip the ‘scraps’ – all those bits of crunchy batter are packed with calories and fat.
Don’t add bread and butter – each slice has 150 calories.
Avoid pies – the pastry makes them high in calories and fat (470 calories each) and they don’t have as many nutrients as fish.
Large cod in batter = 540 caloriesLarge chips = 640 caloriesSlice of bread and butter = 150 caloriesTOTAL = 1,330 calories
Small cod in batter = 290 calories½ portion large chips = 320 caloriesTub of mushy peas = 100 caloriesTOTAL = 710 calories
Save: 620 calories
1. Downsize. Choose rice or naan, not both; skip chips; share dishes and limit (or better still, don’t order) starters.
2. Use a napkin. Not to wipe your mouth, but to blot up fat from fried or greasy foods such as spring rolls, pizza, chips etc.
3. Hold the condiments. Skip the mayo, ketchup and relish with your fries and burger, ditch the mango chutney with your curry and don’t add soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce to Chinese dishes. Condiments are often high in sugar and/or salt, too.
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