Many of us have been ordering out more lately.
But if you’re worried about how that extra carryout may impact your waistline, Cleveland Clinic’s Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, said there are ways to make takeout as healthy as possible.
“I always tell people you can eat healthy at any restaurant; it doesn’t matter what the ethnicity is of that restaurant, even if it’s fast food, you can eat healthy really anywhere,” she said. “It really comes down to what you choose that’s going to make the most difference.”
If your meal is from an Italian restaurant, Kirkpatrick suggests ordering a chicken breast or a piece of salmon, or tomato sauce with whole grain pasta.
In many places, you can get a pizza with cauliflower crust, load it up with vegetables, and ask for half the amount of cheese.
When possible, look for ways to assemble your own meal with a la carte items.
“Lean sources of protein, whole grains and a vegetable can make a meal,” said Kirkpatrick. “So, for example, at a Mexican restaurant, you can get grilled chicken, corn tortillas, and if you can get onions and peppers and things like that added on – that’s your meal; three ingredients and you get all those groups.”
Even if your only option is fast food, Kirkpatrick said there’s still a way to maximize the quality of your meal. Sometimes this means turning to the kids menu to get your sides.
“If you’re going for fast food and you say, ‘gosh, I really want to get some color – I want carrots, I want an apple,’ – whatever the case may be, you can see if that option is available on a kids’ menu, that they can throw into your meal, instead of a fried item, for example,” said Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick recommends looking at menus ahead of time to choose the best options.