Healthy Takeout: It Really Does Exist, and Here’s How to Order It

Posted by on Monday, December 23rd, 2013 with Comments Off on Healthy Takeout: It Really Does Exist, and Here’s How to Order It Comments

If your takeout order typically arrives in a paper bag practically seeping grease from the bottom, you may want to rethink your delivery routine. You won’t even need to convince your coworkers to try the new health food place or refuse to partake when the boss orders pizza: just a few small adjustments can turn your lunch into a satisfying, delicious, and healthy takeout meal. Here are tips on how to navigate the most common takeout options without compromising your health.

Office takeout lunch

Join in the office lunchtime fun without compromising on health.
Image source: flickr user massdistraction

Chinese food: The easiest way to reduce your Chinese takeout calorie intake? Order an entree with grilled chicken or shrimp instead of fried (hint: avoid any dish with the word “crispy” in its name). Next, swap brown rice for white: not only does it have fewer calories, but its higher fiber content keeps you feeling fuller throughout the day. Finally, ask for reduced-sodium soy sauce instead of the saltier stuff.

Pizza: When it comes to pizza, think thin — or at least hand-tossed. Thinner crusts have significantly fewer calories and refined carbohydrates than deep-dish or stuffed-crust, which can lead to a rise-and-crash of blood sugar and energy levels shortly after eating. Pile on veggies instead of sausage and pepperoni, and order a side salad with vinaigrette instead of breadsticks or cheesy toast.

Thin crust vegetable pizza slice

Thin crust plus lots of veggies equals a better-for-you pizza.
Image source: flickr user avlxyz

Sandwiches: Ordering in from a gourmet sandwich spot? Cut your carbohydrate load by opting for a cup of broth-based soup (like a vegetable or chicken noodle) and a half sandwich. Choose mustard instead of mayo, or skip both and add avocado to your turkey sub for creaminess and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Mexican food: It’s hard to beat a burrito for convenience (you can eat it with one hand!), but they can also pack in upwards of a thousand calories per serving. Next time you order in from the Mexican place, try a burrito bowl: with a little brown rice, a hearty serving of vegetarian black beans, and loaded with fajita veggies, you’ll have a protein and fiber-packed lunch that will keep you full until dinner. Plus, eating with a fork will usually slow you down, which means you’ll be more likely to stop eating if you’re satisfied halfway through.

Brown rice sushi rolls

Think brown rice and no rich sauces to keep your sushi order in check.
Image source: flickr user jazzijava

Sushi: When it comes to sushi, you’re already off to a much better start than burgers and fries. To take full advantage of sushi’s health benefits, stick to rolls without creamy sauces (sorry, spicy tuna) or tempura-fried toppings (we’re talking to you, spider roll). Choose heart-healthy fish like salmon and tuna, both rich in omega-3 fatty acids, rather than the faux-crab mayonnaise mixture found in California rolls. Opt for brown rice instead of white, or spring for sashimi instead of rolls. The one downside of sushi is that it’s notoriously easy to overeat. Start your lunch with a cup of miso soup to help you feel fuller faster.

Italian food: Between breadsticks, rich pastas, and copious amounts of cheese, it’s hard to imagine an Italian takeout meal that’s good for you. Salads are usually the go-to option, but if your greens aren’t satisfying, chances are good you’ll just be dipping into the leftover garlic bread an hour after eating. Instead, cobble together a delicious Italian lunch by combining a few side items: a green vegetable like broccoli raab sautéed in olive oil, polenta topped with a touch of Parmesan, and a cup of minestrone soup. You’ll feel satisfied without being laden down by a heavy pasta dish, and your palate will be pleased by the variety of flavors and textures.

takeout bag with smiley face

Keep a smile on your face all afternoon with a healthy takeout lunch!
Image source: flickr user brendanlynch

One last tip: don’t eat your takeout lunch at your desk. Head to the break room to chat with a colleague or do a crossword puzzle as you eat. Taking your time with your lunch means you’ll eat less, enjoy your food more, and have a much better afternoon.

No matter which cuisine you choose, getting a delicious lunch during the work day doesn’t have to be difficult. With easy online ordering and customizable options, makes healthy takeout a no-brainer!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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