healthy_takeawayWe all like a treat every now and then – and occasionally, that treat is a meal from our local takeaway. Sometimes, everyone in the house wants to get takeout for their dinner and if we’re on a diet, we can feel a little bit left out – like we can’t enjoy the same foods as everyone else.
The truth is, you can eat out at any takeaway, but you have to make the right food choices. Some takeout meals are much worse than others, so you just have to make some wise food choices – and don’t be afraid to tweak the menu!
For example, if you’d like a baked potato, you can ask for it without butter or oil. You don’t have to take everything exactly as it comes, so don’t be afraid to ask the takeaway to tweak your meal. Below is a list of the worst takeaway foods for health and weight loss – as well as some alternative choices.
Note: all portion sizes mentioned below are for one standard takeaway portion.
Chicken Korma Curry
Korma curry is a sweet curry made with a variety of ingredients, depending on the restaurant, but usually with ground almonds, double cream or coconut milk. Many people love korma for its sweet taste, but it is packed with calories and saturated fat – making it a bad choice for anyone watching their waist line. Korma is usually served with naan bread – and this in itself contains loads of calories. Calories and fat per serving: approx. 800 calories and 50g (!) of fat.
What to Eat Instead
Try dry chicken tikka pieces served with a large green salad – chicken tikka is usually packed with flavour, giving you plenty of taste without the calories. Calories and fat per serving: 155 calories, 4g of fat.
Spaghetti Carbonara
Unless you’re actually in Italy, chances are, your spaghetti carbonara will be made with lots and lots of double cream and possible even cheddar cheese. Proper spaghetti carbonara is usually made with egg yolks and a little parmesan cheese, and it’s actually fairly healthy. Takeout spaghetti carbonara is another matter, however, containing around 500 calories and 26g of fat per serving.
What to Eat Instead
Opt for a veggie based pasta dish using a tomato sauce – tomato based pasta sauces will always be much, much better for you than cream based sauces. Why not try pasta primavera instead? This contains only 230 calories and 5g of fat per serving.
Fried Chicken Burger
Seasoned crispy chicken – it’s a favourite of many. But it’s full of fat – it’s deep-fried in oil and tends to be coated in high calorie breadcrumbs. Add a white burger bap into the mix and you’ll cause a spike in your blood sugar – which will leave you feeling hungry again in a couple of hours. Calories and fat in a large fried chicken burger: 715 calories and 14g fat.
What to Eat Instead
Instead of a chicken burger, opt for a couple of large, chicken breast fillet strips – the larger the piece of chicken, the less fat it will contain as the fat will have had less chance to permeate into the meat. Chicken breasts are also much leaner and are lower in fat and calories than chicken wings or drumsticks. Calories and fat in 2 chicken breast fillet strips: 230 calories, 7g fat.
Double Cheeseburger
Sometimes, only a cheeseburger will do – charred meat, melting cheese and tangy relish. But does it really have to be a double? Double the meat means double the calories, and if you add fries and a full-sugar coke to the mix, you could easily eat over your daily calorie count for the day without even trying. Calories and fat in a double cheeseburger: 440 calories and 23g fat.
What to Eat Instead
If you must have a cheeseburger, make it a single cheeseburger – and if you like, lower the calorie and fat count even more by asking for it without cheese. Calories in a regular single cheeseburger, with cheese and condiments: 340 calories, 19g fat.
Doner Kebab
A kebab can sometimes feel like a real treat at the end of a night out – doner meat wrapped in a warm, fluffy pitta, loaded with salad and usually plenty of heavy mayonnaise. Often, people eat kebabs after drinking alcohol – but this just means that you’re taking in even more calories and fat than is necessary. Doner meat is very heavily processed and contains hardly any vitamins and nutrients – the only good thing about this meal is the lettuce. Calories and fat per serving: anywhere between 1000 and 2000 calories, and 30 and 65g fat.
What to Eat Instead
Not all kebabs are bad! Don’t worry – you can still eat a kebab, but just make it a plain chicken kebab. Add loads of salad and ask for either no mayo or half-fat mayo to cut down on the calories. Chicken kebab meat is usually just marinated chicken breast meat, meaning that it’s lean and much lower and fat in calories than donor meat. Calories and fat per serving: 500g calories, 12g fat.
Top Tips

  • Choose thick cut chips versus skinny fries – chips absorb less fat and oil than fries
  • Always pad out your meals with lots of salad or vegetables
  • Ask for wholemeal products where possible – wholegrain pittas or brown rice
  • Ask for dressing or sauce on the side so that you can control how much you eat
  • Eat meals that contain lots of protein – they’ll fill you up much more than a big bowl of fries
  • Ask for steamed side dishes rather than fried
  • Don’t supersize – it might be cheap, but eating more food than you need is not good for you

And if you are looking for more healthy options for takeaway food and eating out then click here for lots of tips


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