How to Eat Right When Ordering Take Out

Sometimes, we just need an afternoon or night off from cooking and fortunately, there’s no shortage of convenient alternatives. Be it ordering take out from your favourite restaurants and hawker stalls, or using meal delivery services, making healthy and informed choices can be a challenge when you have no control over what goes into your food.

Don’t let your nutrition fall by the wayside when ordering out! Here are some foolproof tips to guide you in making healthier and smarter choices the next time you place an order.

Stay away from fried food

While it may be tempting to indulge in oily food, choosing baked, grilled, roasted, or steamed side dishes such as steamed vegetables, dumplings, or rolls are much healthier options. Be sure to look out for terms in the menu that are red-flags: “fried”, “crispy”, “battered”, “breaded”, and “crunchy”. These almost always indicate that they are high in unwanted saturated fat and calories.

Make it balanced

When ordering from a restaurant, it may be easy to forget that you should order a variety of complementary food. This means either choosing meals that contain a good balance of proteins, fruits, vegetables, and grains, or ordering enough side dishes to supplement your main.

Opt for whole grains

As more and more places are offering healthier alternatives to the staples on their menu, ditch the white rice or white bread and opt for whole-grain products such as brown rice or wholemeal bread. Not only are they more nutritious, they are also good substitutes for people with allergies or medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Watch out for “empty” calories in your drinks

If you want to also grab a refreshing beverage along with your order, be wary of the sugar level in your drinks as they usually contain “empty” calories from excess sugar and fat. These contain little to no essential vitamins or minerals, and might be the hidden culprit in ruining your diet. However, you don’t have to remove sweet drinks from your diet completely, as choosing low or zero sugar options are also a good alternative.

Control your portion sizes

Instead of immediately eating out of the takeaway containers, plate your food out on the regular dishes you use for better control of your portion sizes. This way, you can comfortably gauge if you’re eating too much, or getting enough food for a balanced and filling meal.

Use this as a helpful guide in making savvy choices! Remember, eating in moderation is always key when ordering in or eating out.