7 Cuisines: Healthiest Takeout Options
We all know that cooking our own meals is usually the best option for our health, and in most cases, our wallets. One trip to the grocery store may yield enough pantry staples and fresh produce to cook numerous healthy meals, especially if you are creative about mixing and matching your grains, proteins, and vegetables. Cooking at home also puts you in control of how a meal is made, and what ingredients are used, so you can reduce fats, oils, and sodium, as well as ensuring your family stays safe from any of their allergens.
That’s all well and good, but sometimes — we just don’t want to cook! After a long day, it can feel like such a luxury to pick up takeout on the way home from work, or have dinner delivered while we relax in our pajamas. So what’s the best way to balance eating out with eating healthy? Scan the menu for your favorite restaurant’s healthiest options — look for items that don’t have oily dressings or fatty sauces, and load up on vegetables and protein as much as possible. If your restaurant serves large portions, set aside part of your meal to have the next day — when you go to eat it, you’ll be so pleased with yourself for thinking ahead! Next time you feel like ordering takeout, check out these suggestions for the healthiest takeout options from 7 different cuisines.
Healthy Options for Thai Food:
- Get an order of summer rolls stuffed with fresh veggies and tofu instead of fried spring rolls.
- Ask for brown rice instead of white; brown has more fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
- Chicken satay is an easy way to add lean protein to your meal. Order extra to chop into salads the next day!
Healthy Options for Greek Food:
- Hummus is made from protein-rich chickpeas and is a great source of fiber and protein. Use it as a dip for vegetables or smear on a pita.
- Dolmades are stuffed grape leaves, and their nutritional value fluctuates depending on what they are stuffed with, but the leaves themselves are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants.
- Fakes Soupa is a lentil soup high in protein and fiber, and also contains folic acid, zinc, and iron.
- Order a greek salad with chicken, and go easy on the feta. Make sure the oily dressing comes on the side so you can control how much you use.
Healthy Options for Chinese Food:
- As mentioned before, brown rice has more nutrients than white rice so be sure to substitute that when you order.
- Get steamed dumplings instead of fried. These pockets of dough are stuffed with vegetables and lean protein, and you can ask for low-sodium soy sauce for dipping.
- A traditional dish like beef and broccoli or chicken and broccoli have high sources of protein and fiber.
- Buddha’s Delight is a stir-fry made with tofu and a variety of steamed vegetables tossed in a light sauce. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to find this fiber- and protein-rich dish delicious!
Healthy Options for Italian Food:
- When ordering pasta, choose tomato-based red sauces over cream-based sauces. Add vegetables and skip sprinkling cheese on top.
- Opt for thin crust pizza over thick, and load it up with as many vegetables as you can.
- Bruschetta, toasted bread piled with chopped fresh tomatoes and spices, makes for a filling and low-calorie appetizer.
- Cacciucco, a hearty seafood stew usually served without pasta, is a high-protein, low-calorie option for either an appetizer or entree.
Healthy Options for Japanese Food:
- Miso soup, a light broth with tofu and vegetables, is a surprisingly filling appetizer that may help you eat less throughout the rest of the meal.
- The fish in sushi or sashimi is full of protein, and the fresh fish at a good Japanese restaurant is always a delicious treat.
- Edamame – these soybeans are a great source of protein and are fun to eat as an appetizer.
Healthy Options for Mexican Food:
- Choose whole beans instead of refried — black and pinto are both full of fiber and protein, plus contain healthy antioxidants.
- Omit or go light on fatty toppings like cheese and sour cream.
- Skip the flour tortilla and instead of a burrito, order a bowl with brown rice, beans, veggies, lettuce, guacamole, and salsa.
- Tacos – corn tortillas filled with grilled carne or pollo asada and vegetables are a low fat, high protein choice for meat-eaters.
- Ceviche is raw fish marinated in lime, lemon, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes, making it a low-calorie, high-protein dish.
Healthy Options for Indian Food:
- Try dal, a high-protein lentil dish. Choose ones made with a tomato base over those made from cream in order to reduce fat intake.
- Order chicken tandoori for a flavorful protein that pairs well with rice and veggies.
- Chana Masala is a dish made from high-protein chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, and a variety of healthy spices. The leftovers reheat well and make a great snack!
- Aloo gobi is a delicious combo of cauliflower, potato, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cumin, and while it might look like a mess, it’s a very tasty, heart-healthy one.