I know the struggle. You come home from a long, hard day at work, nothing is prepared for dinner and you just want someone else to do the cooking and cleaning up. You just want to order in but you don’t want that post-takeaway guilt. So you turn to shakes, packaged meals, and supplements. But these are short-term fixes with short-term results.
The thought of having a live-in chef (preferably Jamie Oliver) makes me weak at the knees. Imagine someone whipping up a beautiful, healthy, tasty and interesting meal every single night. He would also do all the associated cleaning up, shopping, and kids’ meals too. A girl can dream, right?
The good news is that you’re not doomed to the kitchen for the rest of your life. You can still enjoy eating out and getting takeaway by choosing healthier options. Don’t be afraid to ask chefs exactly what you’re eating; in a time of allergies, intolerances and a multitude of dietary requests, restaurants and food outlets should accommodate your questions.
Here's a guide to help you make better choices when eating out or getting takeaway:
Best choices: Steamed dumplings; clear soups/broths; rice paper rolls; salads with vermicelli noodles; steamed fish; meat dishes such as oyster, garlic, chilli, plum, and black bean; mixed stir-fry veggies.
Avoid: Deep-fried entrees; prawn toast; fried rice; crispy chicken; honeyed duck; lemon chicken; sweet and sour pork/chicken.
Tip: When it comes to sushi, you need to remember portion control! Choose an amount that is suitable for you and stick to it.
Best choices: Raw or cooked fish; egg; prawn; tofu; chicken; avocado, cucumber or lettuce; miso soup; salads with minimal dressing.
Avoid: Fried or tempura fillings (crispy chicken or tempura prawn); large amounts of creamy mayonnaise
FISH AND CHIPS
Best choices: Steamed dim sims; grilled calamari or octopus; grilled fish; grilled prawns or scallops; Greek salad or side salad with dressing on the side.
Avoid: Potato scallops; fried dim sims; fried, crumbed or battered fish; any deep fried/crumbed/battered seafood; chips.
Tip: Opt for gourmet pizza restaurants where you have more freedom to choose your own toppings.
Best choices: Thin crust; lean meats – chicken, lamb, fish or seafood; reduced fat cheese or ask for less cheese; plenty of veggies; order with a side salad.
Avoid: Thick crust; high fat meats (pepperoni, salami, bacon); cheese-filled crust; too much cheese; garlic bread.
Best choices: Roti; plain naan; chicken tikka; tandoori chicken; madras; vindaloo.
Avoid: Garlic, cheese-filled or meat-filled nann; pappadums; coconut cream curries such as butter chicken.
Best choices: Tomato-based sauces; grilled/baked fish or seafood pasta; ravioli and tortellini filled with veggies, marinara or Napolitano; gnocchi with tomato base; risotto on stock/white wine base; salad or extra veggies on the side; chicken cacciatore.
Avoid: Cream-based sauces; garlic or herb bread; ravioli or tortellini filled with cheese; risotto with added cream; high fat meats (salami, pastrami, parmigiana); heavy creamy, cheesy lasagne; pizzas with thick crust; cheese.
Best choices: Rice paper rolls; steamed dim sims; Thai beef salad; jungle curry (no coconut milk); stir-fries with lean meats, vegetables or tofu in sauces such as oyster, sweet chilli, chilli and garlic, ginger and shallots.
Avoid: Deep-fried spring rolls; curry puffs; satay chicken or beef; coconut milk soups; pad Thai or noodle dishes; green/red massaman, pangang curry or any other coconut curry dish; duck dishes; coconut rice.
Tip: Ask for extra salad or steamed veggies rather than breads, chips or other add-ons.
Best choices: Eye fillet steak; skinless chicken; small baked potato; garden salad with vinaigrette and lean meat; open burger with extra salad; steamed vegetables with lean meat.
Avoid: T-bone or scotch fillet with fat; roast or fried chicken with skin; potato chips or wedges; cream dressings or cheese sauces; deep-fried or crumbed fish or seafood; sausages or processed meats; anything fried, battered or overly processed.