When there’s no time to enjoy our love of cooking due to unexpected events, it’s easy to turn to a drive-through window or call for a takeaway to fill our bellies. But when it comes to satisfying our nutritional needs, it’s important to take whatever time you may have to explore what the menu has to offer and how your food is being prepared.

Fortunately, while the restaurant industry is recognising that people want healthier food options, there are many takeaway eateries that offer substitutions to reduce how much sodium and fat is contained in its dishes. In fact, organic food sales were expected to hit nearly £2bn this year according to the Telegraph.

Here are a few simple things you can do to make your takeaway experience more heart-healthy:

Fish & Chips

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips

Fish & chips is by far one of the most popular takeaway choices out there and there are many ways to make the dish a bit more nutritional. If you really can’t forgo that special crunch of fried fish, request that the batter be made of breadcrumbs as it will soak up less oil (fat) than traditional batter. Better still; try simply grilling the fish which can be equally as tasty.

When it comes to the chips, the thicker the chip the better. Thinner chips will absorb more oil and completely kill the nutritional value that was in the chip in the first place. Other healthier sides that may go well with your fish are fresh vegetables (steamed or raw).

For another healthier twist on this traditional dish, try this chicken and chips recipe on Food Jam.

Chinese 

Chinese Takeaway

Chinese Takeaway

From sweet and sour to savoury and spicy, it’s no surprise that Chinese takeaway food grew to be so popular so quickly in many areas around the world. However, there are a few things to keep in mind next time you’re ordering your favourites.

First and foremost, know that there are many Chinese takeaway restaurants where a fair few dishes are prepared as quickly as possible, which usually means fried. Alternatively Hungry House includes a collection of local Chinese restaurants where you can order a variety of dishes and they are usually more prepared to offer substitutions. For example, requesting your favourite Chinese takeaway dishes to be steamed is much more nutritional than having it fried with oil. If you’re ordering appetisers or sides, stick with starters like wonton soup and steamed vegetables. Rice and noodles tend to contain a lot of starch which should be consumed in moderation.

Pizza & Italian 

Pizza base

Pizza base ready to be loaded up

Believe it or not, there are several ways to build a better pizza for your body (and you don’t have to skip the cheese!). In addition to numerous toppings, many takeaway restaurants now offer a variety of choices for their crust and sauces. While the cheese-stuffed crust may be tempting, consider choosing a thin crust if available and avoid adding too much cheese or processed meats like pepperoni and sausage. Including leaner meats like grilled chicken and fresh veggies on a pie can be just as filling as a deep-dish “meat lover’s” pizza.

As if we don’t have enough choice when making a pizza, many takeaway restaurants that deliver pizza also offer speciality pasta dishes and appetisers as well. When it comes to pasta, avoid the creamy sauces and opt for a sauce that’s bases on tomatoes or vegetables. Instead of buttery garlic bread, although delicious, consider ordering fresh bruschetta if available.

While we can all indulge in our favourite foods every once in awhile, getting our vitamins and nutrients is something we need to be responsible about. By playing the menu right, we can satisfy both our taste buds and our bellies!