What to take away?

  • By
    Roxanne Fisher - Health editor - bbcgoodfood.com

Follow our handy hints when ordering in and avoid the inevitable guilty-comedown...

What to take away?

Healthy eating and Friday night feasting rarely go hand in hand. Three of our favourite takeaway temptations; Chinese, Italian and Indian, often pose particular calorie-conundrums as we battle with the dilemma of choosing between virtue and vice.

Don't let your hard work go to waste. Everyone deserves a treat but follow our handy hints when ordering in to lessen the inevitable guilty comedown. Can't resist those old favourites? Making your own will mean you know exactly what goes into your dish of choice and will help you keep control of your recommended daily allowances.

Indian Kerala prawn curry

Our western taste for creamy Indian curries and hearty naans can play havoc with our waistlines - and often isn't too heart-friendly either. Tandoori dishes are one of the easiest ways to enjoy a healthier takeaway as the meat is normally grilled rather than fried, cutting down fat as well as calories.

Stick to tomato based sauces and choose something with a bit of spice, guaranteed to quickly satisfy your taste buds. Swap your naan for a couple of poppodums topped with raita or tomato sambai and choose plain over pilau rice, which is cooked with extra oil.

Cold shoulder:
Creamy based curries like masala, pasanda, korma, naan bread, pilau rice, bhajis.

Tuck into:
Tomato-based or dry curries like tandoori, madras, jalfrezi, rogan and bhuna dishes, plain rice, roti, chapatti, poppodums. 

DIY dishes:
Try using sunflower or rapeseed oil when cooking Indian food at home and use wholemeal flour and rice rather than white to make your dishes even more wholesome... chicken balti, creamy veggie korma & easy chicken biriyani.


 

Chinese pork one-pot soupChinese

Our favourite Chinese takeaway dishes tend to be battered, fried and crispy rather than the cuisines' more traditional low-fat offerings. Over-eating is a big stumbling block so fill up on rice and soup starters while looking to steamed and stir-fried options to fill you up.

Cold shoulder:

Fried rice, crispy duck, sticky sauces like sweet & sour, battered chicken/prawn/pork balls, prawn crackers, wontons, spring rolls, sesame toast, spare ribs.

Tuck into:
Steamed/boiled rice, plain noodles, crab & sweetcorn soup, steamed dumplings, steamed fish, chicken chop suey, Szechuan prawns, vegetable stir-fry.

DIY dishes
Making your own Chinese favourites means you can cut down the amount of salt you'll be taking in. Also, practice using chopsticks in the comfort of your own home. You'll eat slower and therefore give your tummy a chance to tell your brain when it's full... sweet & sour chicken with vegetables, prawn chow mein & black bean pork with noodles.

 

ItalianTuna pizza

Bowls piled high with creamy pasta and deep-pan, cheese-laden pizzas can significantly set back any diet. The good news is there are still lots of lovely low-fat alternatives that will fill you (not fatten you) up. Opt for thin-based pizzas and pastas with a tomato or vegetable sauce plus, ditch the garlic bread in favour of better-for-you ciabatta.

Cold shoulder:
Deep-pan or thick/stuffed-crust pizza bases, pepperoni or extra cheese toppings, creamy pasta sauces, garlic bread, lasagne, fried calamari, ravioli.

Tuck into:
Thin crust pizzas, lean meats, vegetable and seafood toppings, bruschetta, ciabatta, Italian soups (pasta fagioli, minestrone, etc).

DIY dishes
If making your own Italian feast, favourites like carbonara and lasagne needn't be off the menu. Use less oil when cooking and stick to lean meats and lower-fat soft cheeses to make your sauces creamy... creamy ham, leek & mushroom spaghetti, the ultimate makeover: spaghetti carbonara & superhealthy pizza.

Try out our expert tips for healthy cuisine cooking...
Top 10 tips for healthy Italian cooking
Top 10 tips for healthy Mexican cooking
Top 10 tips for healthy Moroccan cooking
Top 10 tips for healthy Thai cooking
Top 10 tips for healthy Caribbean cooking
Top 10 tips for healthy Indian cooking

What are your top takeaway tips?

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