Time to Make Better Takeaway Choices

[Read Time: 4 min]

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with occasionally enjoying a takeaway treat- we all do, and the following article is by no means trying to say you’re never allowed your favourite treats again! 

However as I’m sure many of you know, many takeaway choices aren’t in line with many of our health and fitness goals.

So, let me show you some swaps and considerations for the next time you want to eat-out or get takeaway!

MACCAS

Ah, the old cheeky wallet-draining drive thru. Some of us may go occasionally, some of us may go way too often- i’ve heard (many, some quite entertaining) justifications for heading through one of these in my time!

Chips, burgers, ice cream, milkshakes- THE LOT are available. However, how else you may ask, can I fulfill my drive-thru ‘cravings’ without being indulgent when I already have this week?

Maccas have a few pretty decent grilled chicken options available believe it or not, and I HIGHLY encourage you to give them a go:

  • Grilled chicken burgers (just watch the cheese/sauce/bacon added- maybe pick one of these and ask for the rest taken off)

  • Grilled chicken wraps (same as above)

  • Grilled chicken bites (grilled chicken ‘nuggets’)

If you’re a Maccas breakfast regular and you didn’t know, you’re allowed to mix-match your mcmuffin! Ask for one with 2x eggs and maybe a slice of (Short cut) bacon only (skip on the cheese and sausage), and maybe go for a coffee instead of an OJ, and you’ve got a much more nutrition savvy, drive-thru breakfast!

 

ASIAN

One of my favourite ranges of cuisine! So much of it is fresh, balanced and delicious, but some of it needs extra watching and mindfulness when eating and ordering (especially if you eat it regularly). Here are some things below which I would save for treat occasions only:

  • Anything deep-fried (spring rolls, curry puffs, panko crumbed items)

  • Coconut based curries

  • Large plates/containers of fried rice and/or fried noodle dishes

  • Large plates/containers of fried dumplings

  • Dipping breads (roti, naan) and their sauces

There are many, many dishes in Asian cuisine however, which are nutritionally balanced, and form a fantastic regular meal however, and will take an over-arching form as below:

  • Stir-fries of a meat/seafood/tofu + vegetables and palm of rice

  • Salads containing a variety of vegetables + a meat/seafood/tofu source

  • Noodle/veg/protein based soups, like Tom Yum soup or Pho soup

Sushi is another one on the fence.

It is delicious, popular and can absolutely offer a healthy balanced meal. However, to put things into perspective, 1 sushi hand roll ~ 2x slices white bread.

That means if you regularly sit down to 3-4 hand rolls, that’s 6-8 slices of bread at a time.

Next time you opt for sushi, choose a couple of hand rolls (opt for fresh fish or grilled chicken/tofu options rather than the crispy chicken/soft shell crab/panko prawn rolls and/or ones with mayonnaise or cream cheese), and some sashimi + salad on the side for a more balanced meal.

ITALIAN 

Italian food is delicious, WHO DOESN’T love some pizza or pasta. Just like I said previously though, if we’re eating it somewhat regularly, we should be opting for  slightly smarter options nutrition-wise.

Save for treat occasions:

  • Takeaway pizza, especially those covered in cheese and processed meats

  • Large bowls of pasta, especially those in cream predominant sauces (EG carbonara)

  • Lasagne

  • Any pasta dish also served with bread on the side

  • Antipasto platters, especially those heavy in processed meat (salami, prosciutto)

Some smarter options:

  • Sharing pizzas or large bowls of pasta with somebody, ordering salad or cooked veg on the side

  • Opting for pizza with lots of veg on top and a lean protein source (EG chicken breast/seafood)

  • Opting for tomato-based pasta sauces

  • Choosing pasta OR bread, rather than having both

MEXICAN 

Nachos, burritos, ¿por qué no los dos? (why don’t we have both?) (please  tell me you know the ad I’m quoting)

Mexican cuisine is delicious. Like (most) of you likely do, I love it! Unfortunately however, many restaurants here in AUS offer ‘westernised’ Mexican food, laden in cheese, sour cream and oil. There are, however, increasing numbers of new restaurant/takeaway chains offering healthier, fresher options more in line with traditional Mexican food.

Things to watch/save for special occasions when getting takeaway:

  • Nachos

  • Quesadillas

  • Enchiladas

  • Burritos (tortilla + rice + cheese + sour cream)

  • Fajita dishes offering both tortillas and rice

Like I mentioned, places like Fonda, Guzman y Gomez, Salsa’s and Zambrero are now offering some fresher, more nutrition-savvy options for the health conscious, which still taste great. Opt for things like the following:

  • ‘Naked’ burritos (rice, veg and protein source without the tortilla)

  • Salads containing veg variety + protein source (meat/chicken/fish/black beans)

  • Fajitas (choose rice OR tortillas and save the other for the next day)

PETROL STATIONS ON THE RUN 

Even though I’m a big advocate for planning and packing your own food, we’ve all been caught at a petrol station before where we just want to pick up something fast.

With the abundance of treat options in there, muffins, donuts, lollies, chocolates, chips and more, it’s easy to slip into treating every afternoon on the way home from work.

Let’s be smarter than that and proactive with our goals, sticking to more nutrition savvy options like:

  • Pre-packed salad packs (EG chicken/tuna/egg and shredded veg)

  • Yoghurt drinks (EG YoPro)

  • High protein, low sugar flavoured milks/shakes (EG Rokeby farms, BsC or Aussie Bodies Protein shakes)

  • Beef jerky

  • ‘Meal-prep’ ready meals (EG YouFoodz, MyMuscleChef) (some petrol stations only)

Hopefully, I’ve helped you identify how to navigate takeaway/restaurant options a little better, in a manner which is in line with your health and fitness related goals!