How to Choose Healthier Takeout & Fast Food

In general, it’s not a healthy option to eat fast food or takeout meals. It’s almost always a far better choice to prepare and cook food at home. However, there are situations where you end up without much choice, and take out or fast food is your only option. Perhaps you’re running behind schedule and it’s dinner time and you have nothing ready. Maybe you are on the road travelling away from home. Or maybe you just feel like having someone else prepare your food today. Whatever the reason, know that you can still make healthier choices when you’re eating take out. Here are a few suggestions to help you.

Avoid Creamy Sauces

Creamy salad dressings, sauces, and condiments are often high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Try to stay away from them whenever you can, or order your sauce on the side so you can apply just a little bit to your food.

Reduce the Ketchup & Barbecue Sauce

Ketchup and barbecue sauce are both very high in sugar. Limit these items as much as you can.

Don’t Add Salt

Most fast food and takeout meals are already very high in sodium. Whenever you can, ask for your meal without added salt and don’t pick up the salt shaker and add on more.

Stay Away From Deep Fried Items

If you can, avoid items that have been deep fried, such as French fries, onion rings, or chips. Choose a side salad or a baked potato instead.

Eat Some Vegetables

Look for items that have fresh vegetables included, such as salads, sandwiches, and wraps. Watch out though, because many fast food salads┬ácontain calorie-loaded dressings, fried meats, noodles, or croutons that are high in calories. Try to avoid these items and ask for your dressing on the side. If your salad comes with a dressing packet, don’t use the whole thing. You’ll still get the flavour without all of the calories.

To keep yourself feeling full, add some protein to your salad in the form of nuts, seeds, beans, or grilled (not fried) meat.

Watch your Portions

Many takeout and fast food places have very large portions, and it’s tempting to upgrade to a combo or a large size when the price difference is very small. However, larger portions mean more calories, so be mindful of how much you’re eating. If you go to a takeout place that only has very large options available, consider sharing your meal with someone or cutting it in half and having the rest later.

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