Expert Tips To Eat Healthier When Ordering Takeout

Expert Tips To Eat Healthier When Ordering Takeout

Ordering takeout or food delivery has become more convenient than ever. Food is 10 minutes to one hour away with the click of a button (or taps on your smartphone screen). You can even get food from a restaurant across the country with certain services! Many restaurants survived because of takeout and food delivery during the coronavirus pandemic. And while some people enjoy going back out to eat, some people remain cautious and prefer to eat at home. 

Regardless of a pandemic, takeout and delivery make a meal stress-free. There’s no preparation involved and you can grab a meal on your way home, or have it delivered to your door. There is nothing wrong with this, but there is a problem with the food choices people make when partaking in these services. You see, takeout and food delivery meals tend to be greasier, saltier, and more unhealthy than something you cook for yourself. This isn’t always the case, and you can make a difference. 

It’s possible to make healthy decisions when you choose a restaurant. This applies both to eating at the restaurant or getting food to go/delivered. The following tips are from expert dietitians and we hope they help you make healthier takeout and food delivery decisions. 

Choose Your Protein Wisely

Some people live by the rule that they order takeout or delivery items that they can’t make at home. Often times, this results in a rack of ribs, fried chicken, or lamb shank smothered in a rich sauce. Try your best to choose lean proteins like wild caught fish or grass fed/grass finished beef. This will lower your caloric intake, but not as much as plant-based proteins such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, or other legumes. 

Beware Of “Healthy Choice” Options

It’s sad to say that a salad isn’t always the healthiest thing on the menu. Croutons, bacon crumbles, cheese, candied nuts, and more elevate the calorie count exponentially. Additionally, high-fat dressings increase the sodium, calorie, and trans fat intake. Even though some choices may sound “healthy,” it may not always be true. If you want to get a salad from a restaurant, simple changes can actually make it healthy. Skip the fatty dressings and don’t add unhealthy toppings. Stick with plant-based ingredients and you’ll feel the nutrition!

Skip The Beverage

The beverage is often the downfall of a meal that has healthy potential. Enjoying a large sugary soda or juice can spike your blood sugar and increase your caloric intake. Consider them empty calories that you don’t need! People often underestimate how many calories they intake from beverages every day. When you order takeout or delivery, it’s much easier to pass on the sugary beverage. You have water or sparkling water at home, both of which are much healthier options.

Ditch The Dairy

When most people see cheese they say, “Yes, please!” Although certain dairy products have some nutritional value, they can often do more harm than good. If a dish has a cheese sauce or is dairy-based, ask the restaurant if they have a dairy-free option. With the popular plant-based dairy alternative craze, it’s very likely that this is the case. Additionally, condiments like sour cream or ranch dressing contain unnecessary dairy that can pack on the pounds and increase mucus production. 

Avoid Anything That’s Fried

Fried food, no matter if it’s meat, seafood, or vegetables, is never the healthiest option on the takeout menu. Food is often fried in unhealthy oil or lard, and the breading can contain excess dairy and other flavor additives. For a healthier preparations, always stick with baked, steamed, grilled, or roasted ingredients.

Upgrade Your Carbs

There are simple carbs and then there are complex carbs. Complex carbs come in the form of vegetables and whole grains, and restaurants often offer these substitutions if you ask. For example, ask for brown rice instead of white rice. Choose baked or roasted sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. If you order pasta, consider a gluten-free alternative like chickpea or quinoa pasta. Whole grains and other complex carbs take longer to digest, so you don’t experience a blood sugar spike. And you’ll actually eat less and don’t experience that bloated feeling that comes from unhealthy grain consumption.