How to have a healthy takeaway: The best and worst options on the menu

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  • Looking for healthy takeaway options? We know 'healthy' and 'takeaway' sound like two words that don't necessarily fit together - but it is possible!

    We look at some of the best and worst options on the most popular takeaway menus to make sure you make the healthiest possible choice. A healthy takeaway doesn’t have to mean having a salad. Although the words ‘healthy’ and ‘takeaway’ aren’t often heard together – believe it or not, it is possible for them to exist in harmony!

    From a box of classic Chinese chow mein noodles to a cheesy Saturday night pizza in front of the telly, the average British person now consumes an average of 12 takeaway dinners a month, with one in five of us having at least one a week – and for the most part, it’s not great news for our waistlines.

    Meals that are delivered straight to your door in those tempting cardboard boxes tend to be high in fat, sugar and salt, and usually come with fried side dishes and rich sauces that bump up the calorie count before you can say ‘prawn cracker’.

    MORE: Pre-packed salads: the best and worst revealed!

    Don’t despair – it doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of the takeaway experience completely. By making some sneaky tweaks to your usual choices and arming yourself with a little extra knowledge, you really can order a healthy takeaway that won’t throw off your diet plan if you have it as a once-in-a-while treat.

    How can we make our takeaways that little bit healthier? An expert shared their verdict:

    Niamh Hennessy, Lead Dietician from Bupa Cromwell Hospital Nutrition, said, “We all know takeaways aren’t known for their health benefits, so it can be helpful to choose alternatives to your usual go-to to save on calories and boost the nutritional value your meal. For example:

    • Choose a thin-crust pizza over a thick-crust
    • Swap white rice for brown, basmati or whole barley rice
    • Have rice paper rolls, rather than spring rolls, where possible
    • Opt for a grilled chicken salad wrap or something similar instead of a hamburger
    • Pick oven baked wedges, or sweet potato wedges over chips
    • Have a side salad or a portion of vegetables

    So if you’re keen on enjoying a takeaway but are keen to make it that little bit healthier, we’ve looked at items from some of the most popular takeaway meals in the country, including McDonalds burgers, Nandos chicken and Dominos pizza, to highlight the best and worst offerings on their menu, and help you to make an informed, but still delicious choice.

    Underneath all of the stats, we’ve also included some nutrition tips on toppings, side dishes and dips, lest you fall prey to a rogue tub of garlic and herb at the final hurdle (well, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?)

    Ready to pick up your phone and make that order? Here’s everything you need to know before you call. And who knows, you may even convert the rest of the family to your new healthy dishes too…

    Love Indian and Chinese food? We’ve got loads of great Indian and Chinese recipes here.