Healthy take out: 8 of the healthiest takeaway options

Transform your favourite takeaway into a much healthier option...
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  • Choosing the healthiest option on the takeaway menu can be hard. Most takeaway foods are high in fat, salt and aren’t ideal if you’re on a diet or hoping to lose weight.

    There are a variety of different ways you can cut down on saturated fats or salt in your favourite takeaway. For example, you could choose homemade takeaway options over-ordered, you could choose to eat smaller portions and only eat takeaways occasionally.

    Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult, Hannah Braye says; “In general, takeaways should be seen as an enjoyable treat to be eaten occasionally. The simplest way to make any kind of takeaway more healthy is to eat more vegetables and salads alongside it. This will help fill you up and increase the nutrient content.”

    She adds; “With takeaways becoming a more regular feature in people’s diets, making smart choices when ordering will become increasingly important to limit the negative impact this way of eating might have on our waistline, gut microbiota, and health.”

    Healthiest takeaway options

    1. Fish and chips

    Battered cod: 444 calories | 28g fat
    Battered sausage: 380 calories | 30g fat
    Medium chips: 788 calories | 30.9g fat
    Small chips: 606 calories | 23.8g fat
    Fishcake: 186 calories | 9.3g fat
    Mushy peas: 98 calories | 0.4g fat

    How to make it healthier: Hannah says; “For the healthiest takeaway, you could request non-battered fish and a children’s portion of chips. Or even better, make your own at home using fresh-baked salmon (high in anti-inflammatory omega 3), sweet potato fries baked in the oven (providing beta-carotene – the precursor to vitamin A), and home-made mushy peas (which are likely to have less salt, sugar, and other additives than canned varieties used by takeaways).”

    Healthiest takeaway options; pizza

    Choose vegan pizza for a healthier option

    2. Pizza

    Domino’s Mighty Meaty (medium classic crust): 197 calories | 8.7g fat per slice
    Hawaiian by Domino’s (medium classic crust): 157 calories | 5g fat per slice
    Domino’s Vegetarian supreme (medium classic crust): 150 calories | 4.7g fat per slice
    Domino’s Cheese and tomato (medium classic crust): 137 calories | 3.3g fat per slice
    Garlic pizza bread by Domino’s : 274 calories | 10g fat
    Domino’s Garlic and herb dip: 87 calories | 9.4g fat

    How to make it healthier: “If having a pizza, opt for outlets that offer freshly made (rather than frozen or processed versions often sold at fast food outlets). Avoid stuffed crust and instead opt for a thin crust and consider sharing (just having 2-3 slices) and making up a big colourful salad or bowl of green veg to fill the rest of your plate.” states Hannah.

    She continues; “Also be mindful about toppings – resist the temptation of adding extra cheese and cured processed meats (which have been associated with more negative effects on bowel health, such as the increased risk of bowel cancer). Vegetable-based toppings such as artichoke, asparagus, and spinach will help increase the fiber and nutrient content. Avoid ordering additional carbohydrates such as chips or fries to go with it. Many pizza restaurants also now offer vegan options, without meat and cheese toppings, therefore likely reducing saturated fat content.”

    3. Chinese

    Small container of egg fried rice: 679 calories | 17.9g fat
    Sweet and sour chicken: 435 calories | 6.1g fat
    Crispy duck and three pancakes: 403 calories | 21.8g fat
    Crispy chilli beef: 380 calories | 19g fat
    Chicken chow mein: 361 calories | 8.3g fat
    Prawn toast: 52 calories | 4.4g fat

    How to make it healthier: Nutritional Therapist Hannah says; “If ordering Chinese opt for lots of vegetable-based dishes packed full of pak-choi, peppers, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts. Avoid many of the deep-fried appetisers, such as prawn toast, prawn crackers, and deep fried spring rolls, and sauces such as sweet chilli dip which are high in sugar. Making yourself a portion of whole grain rice, instead of ordering white rice can also help to increase fiber content, and limit effects on blood glucose levels.”

    4. Indian

    Lamb rogan josh: 525 calories | 30.5g fat
    Chicken korma: 432 calories | 26.8g fat
    Jalfrezi: 385 calories | 20g fat
    Chicken tikka masala: 384 calories | 24g fat
    King prawn balti: 277 calories | 20g fat
    Poppadom: 35 calories | 1.5g fat

    How to make it healthier: Hannah suggests “opting for vegetarian options may help to reduce energy intake. As well as avoiding filling up on naan bread, poppadum’s, and white rice, which are high in simple carbohydrates and provide lots of empty calories. Skipping the sundries such as onion bhaji and pakora will also help to reduce fat content. A healthier alternative would be to make or buy ones that can be baked in the oven at home rather than deep-fried. You could also cook your own wholegrain rice. Saag paneer and saag aloo dishes are spinach-based, so good options to increase your intake of nutrients such as folate, iron, and magnesium.”

    Healthiest takeaway burger and chips

    Go bun-less to cut the carbs down when ordering a burger

    5. Burger and chips

    KFC’s Zinger burger: 450 calories | 17.5g fat
    Chicken Royale Burger King: 570 calories | 31g fat
    Burger King Veggie bean burger: 550g | 26g fat
    Burger King Whopper sandwich: 500 calories | 35g fat
    Chicken strips Burger King: 410 calories | 19g
    Burger King Medium fries: 280 calories | 12g fat
    Burger King Hamburger: 260 calories | 9g fat
    McDonald’s Big Mac: 563 calories | 33g fat
    Medium fries McDonald’s: 387 calories | 18g fat
    McDonald’s Fish O’Filet: 329 calories | 13g fat
    Hamburger McDonald’s: 250 calories | 10g fat
    Nando’s Grilled chicken burger: 388 calories | 8.3g fat

    How to make it healthier: “Ways to make the meal less heavy and reduce simple carbohydrates is to have the burger without the bun, perhaps wrapped in lettuce leaves or a wholegrain wrap instead. Or as a compromise, take the top off the bun and just eat the bottom half. Skipping the extra cheese and bacon will also reduce calorie and fat content. Bean burgers are also a good option for reducing calories and increasing fiber content. Opting for a salad instead of fries to go with your burger, would also make this a more healthy option.” says Nutritional Therapist Hannah Braye.

    6. Burritos

    Medium wrap: 195.4 calories | 3.2g fat
    Mexican rice: 164 calories | 1.8g fat
    Black beans: 99 calories | 1g fat
    Chicken filling: 173.6 calories | 10.4g fat
    Cheese: 112.4 calories | 8.4g fat
    Guacamole: 95.4 calories | 9.4g fat

    How to make it healthier: “Individually, many of the components of burritos, such as beans, vegetables, shredded lettuce, guacamole, and salsa can form part of a healthy diet. Often the issue with burritos is portion control, and high-fat extras such as sour cream and cheese, which add to calorie content. When you are ordering, think about opting for veggie options full of beans (which are high in fiber and proteins) and contain more vegetables. Also have a think about whether your eyes are going to be too big for your belly, and whether sharing a burrito or keeping half in the fridge for the next day would be sensible.” says Hannah.

    Healthiest takeaway sushi

    Sushi is a great option if you’re looking for the healthiest takeaway option

    7. Sushi

    Tesco Salmon & Tuna Sushi: 218 calories | 4.4g fat
    Istu veggie sushi collection: 527 calories | 23.7g fat
    Asda Chosen by You Sushi selection: 252 calories | 6.7g fat
    Yo Sushi Salmon Maki: 189 calories | 4.4g fat

    How to make it healthier: Hannah comments; “Sushi has a number of potential health benefits, for example, it is high in oily fish such as salmon and fresh tuna, which provide anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and traditionally fermented tofu. It also contains seaweed, which is a source of micronutrients such as iodine (fundamental for thyroid health, and hard to derive from other sources in the diet). Sushi is however high in simple carbohydrates from the white rice, which is easily converted to sugars in the body. The liberal use of soy sauce also makes sushi very high in salt, so potentially not a good option for those with high blood pressure. In addition, there are some risks from eating raw fish (such as parasites, bacterial contaminants, and accumulation of environmental pollutants e.g. heavy metals such as mercury) so it is generally advised that sushi be avoided in pregnancy and by those with weakened immune systems.”

    She adds; “One way to increase the nutritional content of your meal is to just have sushi as one smaller part of your meal, and order other fish, vegetable, and seaweed-based dishes alongside it. Miso soup is a good low calorie but delicious option.”

    8. Kebab

    Doner kebab (small with pitta, sauce, and salad): 570 calories | 36.8g fat
    Chicken kebab (small with pitta, sauce, and salad): 385 calories | 14.7g fat
    Shish kebab (small with pitta, sauce, and salad): 343 calories | 9.4g

    How to make it healthier: Nutritional Therapist Hannah says; “Doner meat tends to be much higher in fat (around 15.5g/100g) compared to chicken kebabs (5.6g/100g) and shish kebab (4g/100g). Doner kebabs are also higher in salt and sugar. Therefore, it’s best to opt for a chicken or shish kebab when available. To make sure your kebab is the healthiest takeaway option, skip the side portion of chips and instead opt for a colourful Turkish or middle eastern salad. Often there are lots of varieties on offer, making eating a rainbow of colours (to obtain a range of phytonutrients) easy.”

    How to cut fat and calories in a takeaway

    Hannah Braye, Nutritional Therapist at Bio-Kult says; “The healthiest takeaway options are from restaurants which cook from scratch using fresh ingredients, and include lots of vegetables in their dishes, rather than fast food options. Thai food is often a good shout if you opt for items such as green papaya salad, tom yam soup, and Thai curries.”

    She continues; “You could also consider cooking your own accompaniments such as wholegrain rice, baked sweet potato fries, and extra veggies or salads.

    Avoid deep-fried items, which tend to be high in inflammation-promoting fats, and condiments, which are often laden with hidden sugars.

    Reduce the amount of simple and refined carbohydrates, such as chips, white rice, and bread, you order with your takeaways. These items often fill you up with calories but contain few nutrients.

    Think about portion control when ordering to create the healthiest takeaway. Having excess amounts can tempt people to overeat, so consider reducing your order or leaving certain more unhealthy items off your order completely.”

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