Healthy Takeaways – Do They Really Exist (and How to Choose Them)?

on 03rd Jul, 2017
The UAE has seen a rapid expansion over the past few decades, with the population of Dubai growing 200 percent between 1990 and 2012 along. With these changes, the country has embraced a more Western lifestyle as the area’s like Dubai turn into international hubs for business and trade. Along with these cultural shifts have come a change in eating habits.

Fast food establishments and takeaway options now fill the landscape and people have been eating less healthy foods as a result. However, the fast-paced lifestyle means many professionals and families have to eat on the go more often. Many wonder if there is such a thing as healthy takeaway and, if so, how do you find it.

Luckily, there are healthy eating options available even for takeaway food. To help you choose the right establishments and meals to support a healthy, clean eating lifestyle, here are some tips to get you started.

Review Menus in Advance

Whenever possible, take a look at the takeaway restaurant’s well before you intend to order. If you aren’t hungry when you examine your choices, you’ll be less tempted to choose unhealthy options because they look good now. Plus, if you are trying some place new, it keeps you from feeling rushed once you come in the door and are asked what you want.

Many restaurants have menus available online or on takeaway menus. So, before you decide if this is the right place for you, see what options are available. That way, you can make healthier choices while under less pressure, making it easier to stay on the right track.

Keep an Eye on the Portion Size

Some takeaway restaurants have developed a habit of giving oversized portions to their customers. But, many people assume if it all came as a single order, then the portion provided is appropriate for a meal. Instead of taking a restaurants word for it, reassess the servings before you eat.

One method, when multiple size options are given for a meal, is to almost order the smallest option. Then, take your time and eat mindfully. Once you’re finished, you may be surprisingly satisfied even on a smaller portion.

Another option is to see if the restaurant will divide the meal in half, placing one order into two containers. This gives you the ability to only see one part of the meal instead of the entire portion at once. Eat the first half slowly, and then see if you are still hungry when you’re done. If you are, then the rest is available. But, if you aren’t, then you have a second meal to save for later or to share with a friend or family member.

Avoid Fried Foods

Whenever a food item is fried, you can rest assured it comes with added fat and calories. To make matters worse, they normally contain a lot of salt too. When regularly consumed, fried foods up your chance of being obese and developing conditions like heart disease and diabetes. You can also end up with high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Frying a food also makes the entire item less nutritious than if it was cooked another way. It can alter the quality of meats and vegetables, compromising the vitamins you need to stay healthy. Further, because many restaurants focused on fried foods reuse their oil for some time, even the oil itself becomes less healthy and is more easily absorbed by the foods, leaving you consuming even more of it than you would otherwise.

Fill Up on Vegetables

In general, the more vegetables in your meal, the better. Raw and lightly cooked options are full of vitamins and minerals, giving your body the nutrients it needs to function properly. You also get a healthy dose of fibre to help you feel fuller, and they are typically lower in calories than many other food options.

One great way to have a healthy takeaway meal is to choose a well-made, fresh salad. Make sure it begins with a bed of dark, leafy greens or an ancient grain. Then, it should offer a variety of fruits and vegetables to help round out the meal, providing a satisfying taste and textural experience. If you prefer to add meat to your salad, stick with leaner options like grilled chicken or smoked salmon. You can also get extra protein from items like quinoa, edamame (soya beans), nuts, or beans.

Limit your use of cheese to help keep the fat content down, and stick with light dressings or use full-fat dressings sparingly. When in doubt, ask for the dressing on the side so you can control exactly how much ends up on your salad.

Choose High-Fibre, Less-Processed Grains

Bowls and sandwiches are both popular in the takeaway world, and they can be healthy options if you select the right grains. Options like white rice and white bread offer less nutritional value than their counterparts, so make sure you choose a great grain as the foundation of your meal.

For bowls, consider quinoa or brown or wild rice to start. These offer more fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. In the case of quinoa, you also get a protein boost to help you feel satiated after you eat.

When designing a sandwich, stay away from processed white bread whenever possible, as these aren’t the most nutritious options available. Instead, look for whole grain options whenever they are available or choose a fresh sourdough for a healthier choice than traditional white bread.

Just like when you build a healthy salad, a great bowl or sandwich needs to be loaded with fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting a healthy option. Limit the number of fried ingredients to keep things lighter and don’t overload on sauces or condiments to keep calories low.

At Circle Café, we pride ourselves in creating healthy takeaway meals to suit any appetite. Come in and explore our menu to see how easy it is to eat right even when you are on the go.