Make Takeout Healthy

Have you gotten into the habit of eating out? While homemade is generally healthier, here are nine ways to ensure that you keep a handle on your diet. 

  1. Always think vegetables. How are you going to get veggies into the meal? If you don’t want to cook, then fill a salad bar container with raw veggies. Avoid too many marinated veggies.
  2. Hit the seafood section. Many upscale grocers will steam or broil your fish selection for free or for just a small charge. That way, you’re getting the unadulterated fish without the hassle of cooking it. Try some steamed shrimp, clams or lobster. The price alone will keep your portions healthy!
  3. Have an indoor picnic for dinner. For a fresh take on healthy eating, buy a loaf of wheaty bread, strawberries, a favorite low-fat cheese, some thinly sliced roast beef or turkey, a small tub of olives, pre-cooked shrimp, cherry tomatoes, pre-sliced green or red peppers and bite-size carrots. When you get home, throw it all on the table and—after properly cleaning the produce—declare dinner served. This type of “grazing” dinner is fun, easy and a pleasant surprise. Make it a bimonthly ritual.
  4. Skip the buffets. Those by-the-pound Chinese, noodle and chicken wing buffets at large grocery stores can be a health nightmare. First, the containers are large, so you tend to buy too much. Second, many of the foods are fried and many more are packed with oil, salt and sugar to boost the flavor.
  5. Order by the serving size, not by weight. When ordering prepared foods from behind the counter, ask the server to give you enough the number of people eating. For example, “I need enough to serve three people, and I’m serving a salad and brown rice along with it.” If the server is no help, then go by the palm of your hand. You want a serving size of meat or protein about the size of your hand. The rest of the meal you can round out with vegetables and whole grains.
  6. Go for sushi. Low in fat, high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, sushi is one of your best bets when running into your local grocer for dinner. Can’t stand the thought of raw fish? Most groceries stock a selection of cooked fish sushi or even veggie-only sushi.
  7. Pick up a rotisserie chicken. Add a salad-in-a-bag, a box of instant brown rice and some sliced tomatoes and you’ve got a healthy, easy, barely-have-to-cook meal.
  8. Remove the skin. Much of the internal fat from a rotisserie chicken drips out in the cooking, but the skin still holds lots of the stuff.
  9. Choose prepared soups made with veggies in place of meat, like black bean soup, lentil soup or minestrone. Little fat is added to these soups. However, avoid creamy or cheesy soups like broccoli-and-cheese or cream of asparagus. If you’re not sure, ask about the composition of the soup stock. The best is vegetable broth, followed by chicken broth, then beef and finally cream.

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