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How to Order Healthy Takeout

Before Making That Call: 14 Takeout Tips to Always Remember

When you're feeling exhausted with no time to cook, takeout happens. Even if you're in a bind for time, there's no reason to let all your healthy day's work go to the wind with one bad binge. Here are 14 takeout tips to always keep in mind — regardless of what kind of cuisine you'll be enjoying!

  1. Think first: Don't call your takeout spot in a frenzied state. Come up with a well-thought order, and stick to the plan when the time comes to talk. This way you won't have buyer's remorse after ordering a huge pizza with all the fatty fixings.
  2. Pass on the fried stuff: The rest of your meal will be delicious and filling; there's no need to overload on unhealthy starters. Crispy Chinese egg rolls and fried Indian samosas filled with veggies are fresh on their own, but all that oil changes the equation.
  3. Order broth-based: Soups can be a healthy addition to your takeout night, but you've got to look at more than the name. For example, many Thai soups are filled to the brim with healthy produce, but they're also loaded in coconut milk — very high in saturated fat. Always ask and opt for a broth-based soup whenever possible.
  4. Eat vegetarian for the night: Cutting calories with takeout food can be a laborious process. Even if you're not positive about every ingredient going into the mix, letting go of meat is an easy way to create a lighter dinner that offers all the flavors you're craving.
  5. Choose whole wheat: Refined grains always manage to sneak into our day when we're not cooking at home. With all the healthy benefits that whole grains offer, making the shift to whole-wheat bread is a no-brainer.
  6. Love lean meats: If you're craving something meaty, always order lean options. Instead of sausage, bacon, and ground beef, learn to love less-fatty options. Turkey, ham, and chicken-based plates are often lower in calories and saturated fat.
  7. Always ask questions: You're not expected to be an expert on every type of cuisine. Ask plenty of questions. It may be uncomfortable for a moment, but you'll be proud of your willpower and initiative later.

Keep reading for seven more helpful takeout tips.

  1. Say yes to subs: Don't be afraid to ask for a switch! You'll find that the kitchen is more than happy to make a healthy substitution. If that's not an option, just ask for a half order or omit something from your plate entirely.
  2. Pick up sticks: Unless you're truly a chopstick pro, picking up a pair will slow you down and hinder shoveling your food with the same ease of a fork or spoon. Eating with chopsticks whenever possible will help you slow down, eat less, and feel satisfied instead of stuffed.
  3. Go grilled: Look for entrées with the word "grilled" in the title or description. These are traditionally grilled dishes that rely on tasty herbs, spices, and yogurt for flavor instead of heavy sauces or butter.
  4. Add condiments with care: No more dousing your food in sugary and sodium-laden side sauces. Focus on the fresh flavors of your healthy choices. The condiments might even have more calories and fat than the food you're covering them with!
  5. Turn up the heat: If your palate can handle it, go for medium to hot spice whenever possible. It can be a powerful tool in boosting your metabolism by kicking up your body's temperature and speeding up your body's fat-burning process.
  6. Ditch dessert: Takeout desserts just aren't worth it. Most of the time they show up squished to the side of a container, lacking the same appeal as a slice fresh from the kitchen. If you need to end the meal on a sweet note, munch on a little fresh fruit instead.
  7. Share your favorites: If you just can't say no to an indulgent dish, get a small order, but be sure to share with friends or family as a treat. Don't make it your main course! Having a bite or two will help you get your fill of a favorite flavor without any added guilt — just be sure you actually share it.
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