Guilt-Free Takeaway

In the mood for takeaway without the side serve of guilt? Find out everything you need to know to enjoy your fast food fix without breaking your healthy eating plan.

Fast food drive-thru

While of course there are plenty of guilt-laden takeaway options out there (hello, oily pizza and fries), just because you don't want to cook, doesn't mean you have to fall off the healthy eating wagon. It's all about making healthy choices and actively trying to select a balanced meal.

  • Traditional takeaway options like burgers and pizza are loaded with saturated fat, salt and kilojoules. However, simply swapping the no-nos for something slightly healthier can see you enjoying a treat but without all of those unwanted kilos. For example, try substituting a mass-made burger for a quality beef patty on sourdough bread, or a side of deep-fried chips for a salad.
  • It's also important not to get fooled by serving size. Just because a serving portion that's enough to feel a small country is piled onto your plate, it doesn't mean you have to eat it all!
  • If you're a sucker for marketing and upselling, make sure you know your order before you hit the counter. No, I don't need a larger size and no, I don't want fries with that...
  • Many fast food chains are now increasing the transparency of their cooking methods and nutritional information, so take advantage and read through their brochures and information to see which options are your best bet. Look for high protein, low fat, low carbs and low sugar.
  • Just because you've run out of time to cook something doesn't mean you have to go with takeaway. Plan ahead and cook up a big batch of curry, stir-fry or lasagne and store it in individual portions in the freezer. That way, you'll always have a home-cooked meal to go home to -- even when 2 a.m. pizza is calling your name on the way home from a big night!
  • If you're opting for takeaway because it's close to payday and you don't have the cash to fork out for a deluxe home-cooked meal, consider budget-friendly options like a simple omelette, a tomato-and-ham toastie or check out many other great ideas under $10 right here.
  • Try to balance your takeaway meal by always choosing a side salad rather than fries or wedges.
  • When buying burgers, choose a low GI bread option and ask the staff to load it up with fresh salad, hold the bacon and limit the cheese.
  • For seafood, go with grilled fish rather than battered or crumbed. Chips are a no-no (does stealing a few from your husband's plate count?).
  • If buying pasta, choose tomato-based sauces rather than rich cream or cheese-based options.
  • Forget the can of soft drink and grab a bottle of water instead.
  • Opt for thin-based pizza loaded up with vegetables with minimal cheese.
  • Lean proteins such as chicken or tofu will offer a healthier alternative, while skin-free chicken will also help lower the fat content of your meal. Choose grilled or steamed meats rather than fried.
  • Avoid deep-fried options, particularly when it comes to entrees like samosas and spring rolls. Consider lighter salads or fresh rice paper rolls instead.

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Tags: fast food meal planning tips

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