When you’re short on time or travelling, fast food can be an easy fallback at meal time. Unfortunately, takeaway cannot always provide the same nutritional value as a home-cooked meal. The high fat and high sugar options at most fast food places can be overwhelming. Thankfully, you can often find healthier dining options hidden among the menu.
While it’s not necessarily healthy to eat fast food regularly, having it every now and then isn’t going to derail your progress! Here are some tips to help you find the BETTER take away options - that are generally tastier as well!
Traditionally, pizzas were made on a thin crust, which is definitely the healthier way to indulge a pizza craving. Nowadays it's all too common to see deep dish or thick pizza bases, and don’t even get me started on those cheese-stuffed bases!
Generally, pizzas that have processed meat or cheese as the main ingredient aren’t always the healthiest option! Then we add in the garlic bread and soft drinks, and hello feeling a little sick if you eat too much! Vegetarian pizzas that consist of lots of vegetables (and not just three to four varieties of cheese!) or ones with unprocessed meats (such as chicken breast or steak) tend to be a better choices. Also try to find pizza places that use fresh ingredients and make their bases from scratch, they may be a little more expensive - but they will also taste better and use higher quality produce!
Most people think of sushi as a healthy choice in takeaway. While it might be better than loading up on slices of pizza, there are less-than-healthy menu items at your local sushi place as well.
Generally, tempura, fried or crunchy fillings have been deep-fried, which means that they tend to be higher in unhealthy fats. And that’s before they are topped with generous amounts of mayo! When it comes to sushi, I recommend choosing rolls with fresher fillings, such as salmon, tuna or chicken, cucumber, avocado and similar. If you have the choice, brown or black rice offers extra fibre and a really nice texture. Edamame is the ideal side dish or starter, giving you a good dose of protein and fibre.
Burgers and fries may be forever paired together, but it’s not always a winning combo when it comes to our health! Portions are often way too generous, and the extra toppings can quickly push any last sign of ‘healthy’ over the ledge.
There are ways to make takeaway burgers a bit better for you. If you get the option, choose whole grain buns instead of white bread for an extra hit of fibre. Pass on any burger with double or triple in the name and look for grilled meat options (rather than fried) or vegetable patties. When it comes to the toppings, it can be a good idea to steer clear of bacon and processed cheese. Instead, load up on fresh vegetables such as lettuce, avocado and fresh tomato. It’s also a good idea to give the sauces a miss, that way you’ll avoid extra sugar and salt.
While most Mexican takeaway can provide us with fibre and protein, it’s also quite easy to go overboard!. The serving size offered in many of the dishes can be quite large as well, so it’s probably best to choose the smaller servings available.
When it comes to the ‘base’ of your meal, I recommend going for a soft tortilla over taco shells as these are generally lower in fat. Now I’m not saying that fat is bad, but it’s one of those nutrients where it can be quite easy to overeat without even knowing it! Another great option is a nacho ‘bowl’ as you’re likely to get much more of the salad ingredients, beans or protein, which are jam-packed full of nutrients.
To finish, add a small amount of guacamole or salsa instead of cheese and skip the sour cream altogether.
We are spoiled for choice when it comes to takeaway, but that doesn’t mean we should be eating it more often. While fast food companies have taken some steps to add fresher, healthier meals to their menus, many dishes are still high in sugar, fat, salt and preservatives.
Following these recommendations can help you eat healthier when you’re on the run and need a convenient meal option. So long as you’re not making fast food a regular habit, it’s okay to have the occasional burger! Especially if you select a healthier variety - your tummy will thank you for it!
Love, Kayla xx