Eating in a restaurant or grabbing a meal to go is certainly convenient.
It 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 fast meal can pack enough calories to cover an entire day, not to mention the through-the-roof levels of sodium, fats, and sugars.
Try these tips while staying on your health track.
The occasional treat doesn't do any harm.
With a little bit of food menu savvy to avoid danger dishes, you can still indulge in your favorite takeout treats.
You don't have to avoid this food altogether when losing weight.
Choose a restaurant that prepares all of its foods fresh to order, that way you'll have a better chance of being able to customize your meal.
Choose dishes that are grilled, steamed, baked, slow cooked, full of veggies, etc.
Be choosy and ask questions about the food you're ordering.
What is the food cooked in?
Is it fried or deep fried?
Indian food, contrary to popular thought, can 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.
Try dishes baked in the Tandoor oven, like chicken tikka, tandoori or shashlik that come without a sauce.
Most Indian cooking is prepared from scratch therefore less preservatives are used.
Avoid creamy sauces like tikka masala, which contains a huge 47 g. of fat, and rich passandas and kormas.
It's not the meat, it's the sauces that are the problem.
Go for something tomato-based or with vegetables, like a rogan josh, and eat it with brown rice.
Think again before you order "extras" because poppadoms, samosas and bhajis are loaded with saturated fat.
Indian breads are another fat trap.
Naan bread is full of refined sugar, and fruity peshwari naan is even worse with added coconut.
If you have to have a naan, have just a small piece or order it instead of rice.
Danger words: korma, chicken tikka masala, poppadoms
Chinese ~ take-out-food.
Plain rice or noodles are healthier accompaniments to Chinese food.
Dishes with vegetables, chicken and noodles are not as stodgy and are easier to digest.
Go for a fine noodle, like Singapore noodles.
A fresh stir-fry of meat and fresh vegetables is better.
These don't use sticky creamy sauces and maybe only a couple of tablespoons of oil.
At the Chinese take-out restaurants, the danger lies in the deep fried foods, so you want to avoid prawn crackers and anything cooked in batter, like pork or prawn balls.
Danger words: special fried, batter.
Thai ~ take-out-food
Think Thai and Vietnamese, 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.
This is the most healthy takeout choice of all and is a better choice for the dieter.
Thai meals are generally made up of steamed rice, fish and vegetables, and dishes are individually cooked so are fresher than a vat of mass-cooked sauce.
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.
Thai dishes can still be laden with fat though.
A Thai green curry with sticky rice contains 29 g. of fat.
Avoid these and other curries that are coconut cream-based.
Coconut is often very sweet to enhance the flavor of the dish and may have added sugar, so avoid this on a strict regime.
As with Chinese food, stir-fried is a healthier choice.
Danger words: coconut cream, Thai green curry, sticky rice
Italian ~ take-out-food.
Pasta is a healthy form of carbohydrates and is better served with a tomato or vegetable sauce, instead of a creamy or cheesy choice.
For example, an arrabiata is a better choice than a carbonara or lasagna.
Pasta filled with vegetables is a healthier option like cannelloni with spinach and ricotta, rather than heavy ravioli.
At an Italian restaurant, meat dishes are often on the menu and can be a healthy meal with salad.
For starters order a healthy side salad instead of a garlic bread starter that oozes butter.
And if you have to have a pizza, go for a thin crust with a basic topping, like a margarita.
Danger words: garlic bread, carbonara, lasagna, pizza
Mexican ~ take-out-food.
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.
Burgers ~ take-out-food.
If you do fall for the "burger trap" you can ease the blow to your weight loss regimen by cutting out the bun and the sauce.
Order your burger without a bun and top with salad, a squeeze of lemon juice or a low fat sauce.
Many popular burger outlets also offer lower fat versions with no sauce and less fat, so look out for those options.
Danger words: fries, burger buns, mayonnaise, creamy toppings.
And, always choose filtered water over sodas, sweetened teas and other sugary beverages as choosing water will not only save on calories, but money as well.Tweet
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