Many of us love ordering a lazy takeaway to eat on the sofa after a long week at work – but the treat can easily see us consuming hidden calories in their hundreds and sometimes thousands.
Takeaway foods such as pizzas, burgers and curries with all the extras aren’t exactly known for their health benefits and they can often be laden with excess salt and saturated fat.
Until widespread change comes into place, there are ways you can enjoy a less calorie-laden takeaway – and it doesn’t mean crunching on salad or missing out entirely. Here, we asked nutritionists to share some easy tips for slashing the high-fat, fast foods.
1. Mix and match
Newsflash: if you’re ordering a takeaway and you have a perfectly good kitchen nearby, you don’t need to buy a whole meal. “If you’re ordering a curry, you can serve it with some cooked vegetables at home rather than ordering fried rice,” says nutritionist Jenna Hope, who adds that this will save you and your family both calories and money in the long-run.
“Equally if you’re opting for pizza, add your own vegetable-based toppings rather than opting for extra cheese or the restaurant’s unhealthy added extras,” says Ms Hope. “I’d suggest avoiding stuffed crusts too and opt for the thinner crusts to save on unnecessary calories.”
2. Avoid the added extras
All those starters and side dishes can add a lot of extra saturated fat and calories into your meal. As a reminder, the recommended daily calorie intake is around 2000 calories a day for women and 2500 for men.
“Often, there’s no need to go for the garlic bread, naan bread or extra dips when you’re ordering a takeaway,” says Ms Hope. “Usually you’ll find that a main meal is more than enough to fill you up without leaving you with that uncomfortable bloated feeling.”
3. Pass on the desserts
Meal deals can often trick us into buying more food than we need as we’re convinced we’re getting a good deal. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, buying dessert can add hundreds of calories onto your overall total.
“If you’re ordering a takeaway at home there’s no need to buy the brownies that are advertised along with the main,” stresses Ms Hope. “Getting into the habit of buying dessert with every takeaway can quickly add up on the calories.”
4. Drink water instead of a sugary beverage
No surprises here, soft drinks are packed with empty calories. Plus, they’re high in sugars that can wreak havoc on your teeth and skin, and can increase your risk of developing diabetes in the long run.
Instead, try to get into the habit of drinking a glass of water during a takeaway meal.
5. Ask for dressings and sauces to be served on the side
When it comes to losing weight every calorie counts, and the simplest thing such as adding mayonnaise or chilli sauce can hike up your count.
“Most of the time you’ll be able to add your own dressing or sauce for far fewer calories,” says Ms Hope, who recommends buying low-fat alternatives from the supermarket and keeping them in the fridge.
If your local takeaway has a secret sauce that you simply can’t live without, then ask them to serve it in a container on the side. “You’re more in control of the portion size when you add the sauces yourself,” says Ms Hope, who believes this trick can shave thousands of calories off your Saturday night treat.
– With PA
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