Healthy Takeout Meals

March 28, 2012

Eating takeout is not always the healthiest option, but is certainly convenient, inexpensive and filling – and can get you out of your culinary rut

Eating out and grabbing a takeout meal is certainly convenient, can be inexpensive, filling, and can get you out of your usual culinary rut, but it’s not always the most healthful option. Eating just one takeout meal can pack enough calories to cover your needs for an entire day, not to mention the sky-high levels of sodium, fats, and sugars. It’s no surprise that continually eating convenient takeout meals can lead to a host of health problems; but still these options are sometimes hard to resist. SupermarketGuru wants to share with you some of the things to ask for, ingredients to avoid, and benefits of certain takeout cuisine. As an informed consumer you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the convenience of takeout.

First things first, choose a restaurant that prepares all of its foods fresh to order, that way you will have a higher chance of being able to customize your meal. Choose dishes that are grilled, steamed, baked, slow cooked, full of veggies, etc. Dishes with “fried” in the description should be avoided as should, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, alfredo, or in cream sauce, as they are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Similarly ask for sauces and dressings on the side, that way you can control the amount as well as have fresher, less-soggy leftovers. In regards to sodium, the CDC reports that 77 percent of our (excessive) sodium intake comes from restaurant and processed foods, so if you’re trying to cut back requesting sauces on the side is definitely a great option.

Chose filtered water over sodas, sweetened teas and other sugary beverages – choosing water will not only save on calories, but money as well.

Choose meals with more veggies and less meat, cheese, and dairy products. This will lower the cost and caloric punch of your meal.

Go ethnic! Think Thai, Vietnamese, and Indian which use a lot of interesting veggies, and wonderful spices that not only make for a tasty meal but one that is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Thai and Vietnamese cooking often uses bamboo, which is a great source of fiber and the prebiotic inulin, as well as the phyotactive- lemongrass, turmeric (a powerful anti-inflammatory), coriander, cinnamon and more.

Indian food, contrary to popular thought, can also pack a powerful nutritional punch; including a variety of fresh vegetables and spices cooked in a multitude of ways that help retain their freshness and nutrients. Most Indian cooking is also prepared from scratch therefore less preservatives are used.

In the mood for Mexican? Choose grilled over fried, soft tacos over hard, and of course go easy on the sour cream, cheese, and have a healthy helping of guacamole.

Next time you choose to have takeout or prepared meals in your market, remember SupermarketGuru’s tips to keep it healthy.