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How to Order Healthy Indian Takeout

Order Right: 6 Techniques For Healthier Indian Takeout

I love to dine on Italian or Chinese takeout, but there is something so delicious about Indian food. It may seem like a healthy option, but it's often filled with creamy sauces, heavy carbs, or loads of clarified butter. It's best to have someone who knows their way around the menu if you've never ordered before, but if you're ready for Indian cuisine the healthier way, then here are six techniques to help you do Indian takeout right!

  1. Say no to samosas: Deep-fried samosas and pakoras may sound delicious to your taste buds, but your belly will beg you to just say no. The rest of your meal will be delicious and filling; there's no need to overload on these unhealthy starters. Instead, opt for a fresh salad if you're in need of an appetizer.
  2. Roll with roti: You may be partial to naan, but it's time to roll with roti. Most naan is made from white flour, brushed with butter, and can be stuffed with calorie-laden fillings. The unleavened wheat or whole wheat option of roti is your best bet. But beware of roti prata, since it's fried!
  3. Go for grilled: Keeping things light in the veggie and meat department is so easy with Indian food! Look for dishes with the word tandoori in the title. These are traditionally grilled dishes that rely on tasty herbs, spices, and yogurt for flavor instead of heavy sauces.
  4. Pass on paneer: Homemade cubed cheese paneer is a decadent treat, but it's best to steer clear of this dairy option. It has tons of calories and offers little nutritional value. Beware of seemingly healthy dishes like saag paneer; it heavily features spinach, sure, but loads of paneer will be lurking in the sauce.

Keep reading for two more techniques for healthier Indian takeout.

  1. Cut the cream: If you see makhani and malai in the name of a dish, then don't give it a second thought. Respectively, these "butter" and "cream" dishes are some of the least healthy and most fatty options on an Indian menu. Instead, go for tomato-based curries and sauces that skip on the dairy, like chana masala; you can find this popular dish at nearly every Indian takeout spot.
  2. When in doubt, ask! You're not expected to be an expert on Indian cuisine. Ask plenty of questions, and don't be afraid to inquire about special requests. It may be uncomfortable for a moment, but you'll be proud of your willpower and initiative later.

Source: Flickr users stu_spivack, michaelwhays, and sweetonveg

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