21 ways to enjoy healthier takeout

by | Feb 18, 2022 | Last updated Feb 18, 2022

Whether you’re planning a date night, you’re catching up with a friend, or you’re looking to enjoy a cozy night-in, takeout is always an enjoyable option. And let’s be honest, not having to cook is always a treat. 

So, we’ve put together 21 ideas to enjoy healthier takeout from different cuisines to help you enjoy your favorite dishes while also prioritizing your health goals. 

Italian takeout

  • Choose tomato-based pasta sauces like marinara or primavera instead of cream-based options like alfredo and carbonara. Tomato-based sauces have less fat and fewer calories while still allowing you to recreate that Lady and the Tramp scene, if you’d like.
  • Add grilled chicken or shrimp to your pasta to add some protein and make it more satiating.
  • Opt for a thin-crust pizza for a more upscale feeling and fewer calories, or add a veggie or two (think: peppers and mushrooms) for added fiber. 

Thai takeout

  • Choose summer rolls over spring rolls. While they may not sound seasonally appropriate right now, they’re a fresh and flavorful option with fewer calories.
  • Enjoy a chicken satay appetizer. This protein-packed lean meat is grilled and seasoned deliciously, and it’s also on a stick (making it easy to feed to someone else, or if you’re solo, it’s just fun).
  • Order mango or papaya salad. This spicy salad is a delicious way to get your fruits and veggies in, and fill up on fiber. 

Chinese takeout

  • Ask for sauce (which is usually high in sugar and sodium) on the side. You might even be surprised by how little you need to enjoy the flavor. 
  • Choose steamed veggie as a side. Delicious vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts complement any dish, and they’re rich in fiber to help you feel satiated.
  • Order steamed dumplings—instead of fried ones—for the same protein and veggie content, but fewer calories and less fat. 

Japanese takeout

  • Order tuna rolls—a crowd-favorite fish that also happens to be low in fat, high in protein, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids (an important fat used to carry out many key functions in our bodies). 
  • Choose brown rice sushi when possible for more fiber in each bite.
  • Consider chicken teriyaki with veggies. It’s a delicious and well-balanced order, especially if you ask for light sauce. 

Mexican takeout

  • Pick a healthier shell (think: corn or whole wheat tortillas vs. fried taco shells or regular flour tortillas).
  • Get a veggie-packed appetizer, like grilled jalapenos, vegetarian chili beans, or grilled corn—each as pleasantly shareable as nachos, but offering a serving of green foods in the process.
  • Choose grilled chicken, fish, or tofu for your protein. Things like barbacoa and carnitas are higher in calories and fat (though they do make a delicious treat every once in a while!).

Indian

  • Try tandoori chicken for a meat that’s roasted (vs. fried) and full of flavor. It’s also an excellent source of protein. 
  • Add legumes, which are not only rich in fiber, but also a great source of protein. Dal is a tasty lentil-based dish prepared with cilantro, ginger and green chiles. Or, try chana masala, an entree of chickpeas cooked with green chiles, lemon, and cinnamon.
  • Order a side of dhokla—steamed cubes made from fermented legumes. They’re simultaneously satiating and low in calories. 

American takeout 

  • Start with a broth-based soup like chicken noodle or minestrone, instead of a creamy one like a chowder or bisque. Broth-based soups will fill you up on fewer calories and can also be a good source of vegetables and protein.  
  • Swap in a black bean or vegetable patty for a beef one. You can still enjoy all the fixings while also enjoying more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 
  • Order dressing on the side for your cobb, caesar, or seasonal salad to choose how much dressing you’d like to use.

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