Not in the mood to cook and planning to eat out or order something? No matter if you simply want to avoid cooking or want to change your boring eating habits, ordering food online can help you. You’re not the only one who tends to eat out lately. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 65 percent of people order food on a regular basis. Of course, there is a plethora of fast food options out there, but it still has a reputation for being seriously unhealthy. What if we told you it was possible to eat healthy food while ordering takeout? Yes, this is possible!
However, eating out can be healthy if you want it, and if you order your food carefully, taking into account the state of your nutrition.
Dr. Kiran Dalal, Senior Dietitian, Fortis Escorts, Faridabad, spoke to Health Shots about ways to make healthy choices when eating out or how to choose healthy food options for fast food or delivery.
“Following these tips will help you stick to your health goals without having to give up your social life,” says Dr. Dalal.
7 tips to make ordering takeout healthier:
1. Keep it small
People are poor at estimating their portion size, and thus it can be difficult for them to eat the right amount. So whether you’re ordering food online or eating out, make sure you start with a salad before you go to the main course.
According to the University of Pennsylvania, people who eat a salad before their main course eat fewer calories than those who don’t because the salad is full of healthy fiber. Fiber is known to keep you full and reduce appetite. In fact, if you end up ordering a large portion, try saving half of your food for another meal or sharing it with someone else.
2. Read the list carefully
If you’re not familiar with the menu, read it before you hit the restaurant. “When you are hungry or distracted, you are more likely to make bad decisions,” says Dr. Dalal. “Because sticking to a diet plan can be difficult when you see and smell food, especially if you are hungry.” Choosing your kitchen before you arrive helps you avoid making impulsive judgments that you may regret later.
If you order frequently or eat out, you should check the menu for nutritional information (if any) on the restaurant’s website.
3. Eat a healthy snack
If you are hungry, you may eat too much or eat a large piece. One way to avoid this is to eat healthy snacks before dinner, such as fruit, almonds, or soup. This will prevent you from overeating. “A low-calorie, high-protein snack like yogurt may help you feel full and avoid overeating,” adds Dr. Dalal.
4. Check how food is cooked and prepared
The amount of calories in food depends on how it is prepared. Steamed, grilled, roasted, or boiled food is a good option. These cooking methods, on average, result in less fat and therefore fewer calories. Whereas fried, fried, crunchy, crunchy or fried foods are usually higher in fat and calories.
5. Give priority to vegetables and protein
If you are ordering meals, make sure they are rich in protein and contain plenty of vegetables. Legumes, whole grains, and chickpeas are all good sources of protein. Replace harmful starchy alternatives with broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots for greens. Also avoid unhealthy foods like French fries, cheese, and sauces.
6. Skip the sweet drinks
Everyone wants something sweet and bland to drink with their meal, but this is not a healthy option. “If you’re ordering healthy food for takeaway or delivery, drinking water before and with a meal, especially if you’re drinking it in place of sugar-sweetened beverages, is a great decision,” says Dr. Dalal. Replacing nutritious appetizers or water with sugar-sweetened beverages such as cola, iced tea, lemonade, and soda can help reduce your calorie and sugar intake.
7. Swipe the candy
If you’re still hungry at the end of your meal, opt for green tea, fruit, or yogurt instead of dessert. But if you can’t miss the desert, order one and ask for spoons to share with your friends or family.
Also, keep these tips in mind:
- Eat slowly and chew well for early satiety
- Keep your sodium in check
- Get the sauce on the side
- Focus on mindful eating
- Ask for a healthy swap (alternatively, order a salad of fries)
- Ask the server to help figure out the menu
- Avoid drinks that contain calories
Enjoy your food with these tips for making healthy choices the next time you’re dining out!