Healthier takeaways

When you're eating at different restaurants or ordering takeaways, this page has some practical suggestions for making healthier choices.

Indian

You should try to:

  • choose lower-fat options - such as tandoori or madras with chicken, prawns or vegetables
  • plain rice and chapatti instead of pilau rice and naan
  • avoid creamy curries such as korma pasanda or massala
  • base your meal on starchy foods - choose plain rice or chapatti
  • have plenty of vegetables - choose vegetable side dishes and a dhal

Italian

If you're having pizza, choose lower-fat toppings, such as vegetables, ham, fish and prawns. You could ask for some extra veg on your pizza.

If you don't want to increase the saturated fat content and number of calories in your meal, don't ask for extra cheese.

For a healthier option when you order pasta, go for a sauce based on tomatoes or vegetables, rather than cream.

Rather than garlic bread, which often contains a lot of butter (and so is high in saturated fat and calories), you could try bruschetta, which is a ciabatta bread topped with fresh tomatoes and herbs.

Chinese

You should choose lower-fat options such as:

  • steamed fish
  • chicken chop suey
  • Szechwan prawns
  • steamed or plain rice rather than egg-fried rice

Remember, anything in batter will be high in fat. Sweet and sour pork is usually battered. Make sure you ask if you’re not sure.

You should also watch out for deep-fried starters such as prawn crackers, dim sum and spring rolls.

Thai

Try to stick to stir-fried dishes or steamed dishes containing chicken, fish or vegetables.

Green and red curries contain coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat, so if you do choose a curry, try not to eat all the sauce. Try having some steamed rice with your meal.

Fish and chips

There are lots of ways of making your fish and chips a healthier option, such as:

  • have a portion of baked beans or mushy peas and bread with your fish and chips
  • choose thicker chips where possible – thicker chips absorb less fat
  • try to have a smaller portion or share your chips
  • ask for your fish and chips without salt - if you want some salt then add it to taste yourself
  • don't eat all the batter, because it soaks up a lot of fat - if you can get it, fish coated in breadcrumbs soaks up less fat
  • if fish and chips are cooked in oil at the right temperature, they will taste better and absorb less fat - so watch out for soggy batter and chips because this is often a sign that the oil wasn't hot enough

Burgers and kebabs

If you're having a burger you can still go for the healthier option.

Try to:

  • choose grilled burgers made from lean meat or fish
  • ask for your burger without cheese or mayonnaise
  • ask for extra salad
  • go for a shish kebab served with pitta bread and salad rather than a doner kebab

Takeaways can be high in fat, saturated fat and salt, therefore we should try to eat in moderation. 

When eating out, look for calorie information on the menu as this can help you decide how healthy the meal is. Look for healthier options when eating out such as water instead of a fizzy drink or a salad instead of chips.

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