When the weekend arrives and you fancy a treat with the family or a night in with the girls – there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to. Takeaways are often tarred with the assumption that they’re all unhealthy for you and shouldn’t be eaten if you’re dieting, but this isn’t always true. There are some really simple changes you can make to your usual takeaway order that will allow you to enjoy it knowing you haven’t completely blown your diet.
Terri-Ann Nunns, diet expert and founder of the Terri-Ann 123 Diet Plan, shares her advice for popular takeaways including items to avoid and items to enjoy!
Pizza is always a popular option for a Saturday night treat – especially if you’re looking for something the whole family can enjoy and share together. The good news if you are dieting is that most takeaways now offer low calorie options, such as Pizza Hut’s new flatbread range. The range is all under 650 calories and includes options such as chicken & pepperoni, BBQ steak & chicken and a veggie flatbread. Domino’s are also diet friendly as they have introduced their new ‘Delight Range’ which has three varieties (Delight Chicken, Veggie or a create your own) that are all under 650 calories when you order the small size. The main thing to bare in mind when ordering pizza is the base – opt for a flatbread or thin and crispy and avoid deep pan and stuffed crust as they are very dense and carb heavy.
Top items to avoid: deep pan pizzas, stuffed crust, large sizes, red meat heavy toppings, extra cheese
Top items to enjoy: thin and crispy bases, toppings that are high in vegetables, fish or lean meats
Chinese takeaways offer a range of healthy dishes and can be a great option if you’re looking for a low calorie and low fat takeaway. They have a lot of steamed dishes on the menu including varieties of fish, dumplings and vegetables which are all cooked without oil, meaning the fat content is significantly lower than other dishes. Stir fries are also a great go to if you’re ordering a Chinese as they’re low in fat and packed full of vegetables. If you’re looking for a side avoid anything that’s marked as ‘crispy’ as that means it’s deep-fried. Instead, opt for boiled rice or steamed vegetables as a tasty alternative.
Top items to avoid: battered items such as sweet & sour chicken balls, fried rice and deep fried items such as prawn toast or spring rolls
Top items to enjoy: steamed or boiled dishes, fish based dishes, soups, and stir fries
When it comes to ordering an Indian, there are some really simple swaps you can make to still get the most of your takeaway treat. For starters, avoid anything deep fried including onion bjajis or pakoras and opt for tandoori cooked meat, or fish such as prawns, as these will be lighter in fat. For mains, avoid creamy curries such as a korma and go for a tomato based dish such as a madras. The creamy sauces contain lots of hidden calories. Finally if you’re after a side to accompany, swap a naan bread for a chapatti as they are much lower in calories, but still do the same job to dunk in your curry!
Top items to avoid: creamy curries, starters such as bhajis or pakoras and naan bread
Top items to enjoy: tandoori-cooked meat, vegetable based curries, plain rice or chapatti
For some it’s tradition to have a fish & chip supper on a Friday night and that doesn’t have to be any different if you’re dieting. Generally speaking, fish is really good for you as its low in fat and high in essential nutrients – you just need to be mindful of how you cook it. Your local chippy is likely to deep fry the fish in batter, so if possible ask for the fish in breadcrumbs as this will reduce the fat content. Even better, if you have the option to get fish cakes – go for those! Remember to be mindful of your portion sizes, most will offer an XL portion so try to opt for a small chips or grab a large and share them. Also try and resist that bread bun to make a chip butty, as it will just result in a carb slump.
Top items to avoid: jumbo & XL size portions, salt, batter, curry sauce, bread bun
Top items to enjoy: fish cakes, mushy peas or beans, fish in breadcrumbs, small portions
If you’ve been for a few drinks on a Saturday your mind is bound to wander to getting a kebab on the way home! If you do find yourself in this situation, try and make sure you don’t get too carried away when ordering. First of all, ensure you only get a small portion – that goes for chips and the kebab itself. Opt for pitta bread with salad and fish or grilled meat as opposed to deep fried items. Also, watch out for sauces – avoid anything creamy such as mayo or garlic sauce and go for chilli or BBQ if you feel you need some. Sticking to these simple tips will mean you’ll also definitely feel better when you wake up in the morning too as you’ll avoid a major carb slump.
Top items to avoid: large portions, deep fried/battered items, sauces and dips, extra cheese, chips
Top items to enjoy: pitta breads, salad, fish, grilled meat, chilli sauce
Terri-Ann’s top tips to be consider when ordering a takeaway:
– Watch out for dips: there are so many condiments on offer from takeaways, but this is where unwanted calories creep in. Shockingly, the Domino’s Garlic & Herb Big Dip contains 675 calories – which is often more than a whole meal can contain! It’s best to avoid these creamy based dips, such as mayo and sour cream & chive, as they are often more calorific.
– Be mindful of your portion size: often it’s easy to get carried away when ordering a takeaway, especially when it’s a treat you’ve been craving for so long! However, ensure you take your portion sizes into consideration. Most places offer small, medium and large sizes of dishes and if you’re looking to keep your calorie intake reduced it’s wise to opt for a small or medium portion. That way, you still get to have a tasty treat, just with fewer calories.
– Avoid sauce based dishes: If you’re ordering an Indian or a Chinese, try to avoid anything that is heavy in sauce, especially creamy ones. Opt for a dish that mainly consists of meat, such as chicken tikka or tandoori chicken, and steer clear of anything that comes with a sauce as this is often where the ‘hidden calories’ tend to be.
– Steer clear of sides: this is where people tend to over order and therefore, overeat. Try to avoid getting side dishes as they can really see your calorie intake pile up. If you do want something to accompany your meal go for a side of grilled vegetables or agree to share one with someone else so that you’re less likely to eat the whole dish.
– Try and avoid a carb slump: anything that’s heavily carb based such as deep pan pizzas, pastas and naan breads are best to avoid. They will leave you feeling bloated and uncomfortable and are also very calorific.
This article was provided by Terri-Ann Nunns.
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