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Buying healthier takeaway food

SA Health July19 Stills Print 46

Healthier takeaway food

During the COVID-19 situation, most of us are cooking at home more with all food outlets closed for dining in. Some food outlets are still open for takeaway food and drinks, and it is good to be able to support our local South Australians food businesses during this difficult time.

Depending on the takeaway menu and cooking methods, it can be so easy to take in more kilojoules, saturated fat, salt and sugar, than we realise – especially when compared to cooking at home. And many times, we end up eating more than if we had served up our own portions.

Guide to healthier takeaways

  • Swap fried or crumbed foods for grilled, steamed or fresh foods - instead of fried fish, choose grilled fish and you could save over 1,000 kilojoules (kJ).
  • Swap creamy or cheesy sauces for tomato or vegetable-based sauces - swapping pasta carbonara for pasta napolitana could save you about 1,500 kJ.
  • Swapping two deep-fried spring rolls for two fresh spring rolls could save you about 600 kJ.
  • Swap a side-serve of chips or wedges for a baked potato to save you over 500 kJ.
  • Swap a main course for an entrée-sized meal and you could save more than 1,000 kJ.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and trim any visible fat from meat, and skin from poultry.
  • Ask for the sauce, dressing or butter on the side – then you are in control of how much you add.
  • Add extra veggies wherever you can - order a side of veggies or salad, add extra veggies to pizza, or choose a vegetable-based soup.
  • Sweet finish - choose fruit-based desserts or swap cream for yoghurt, sorbet or custard.
  • Swap sweet drinks or alcohol for plain or sparkling water.
  • If kilojoules are shown on the food outlet’s menu, make a lower kilojoule choice.
  • Listen to your stomach, eat slowly and stop when you are full.

And remember, not only are these healthy food swaps lower in kilojoules, fat, salt and/or sugar, they are usually also higher in vitamins, minerals and fibre – and that’s all good news for your wellbeing.

Eating well at home

Foodservice industry data from 2019 shows that on average about half of Australian households have at least one person ordering takeaway food every day and each person makes 1.25 transactions per week on takeaway food.

Although you can make better food choices when eating out, making food at home instead will usually be the healthiest option for your family and our budget.

Set good eating habits for your kids

You can be healthy role models for your children too by showing them that eating out and takeaway foods are best when only eaten sometimes.

Try making one night a week, ‘homemade takeaway night’ and get the kids involved in choosing which takeaway food to have this week and how to make it in your own kitchen.

You might be surprised to see how much your kids (and your wallet) enjoy it. Take a look at our healthy budget-friendly recipes or be inspired by these ideas for ‘homemade takeaway.’

Yiros - buy lean meat strips, and cut up plenty of fresh salads and veggies, choose tzatziki or hummus as a sauce.

Pizza – make dough or buy a high fibre pita bread base, choose lean meat, low-fat grated cheese and pile on the veggies.

Burgers – make or buy lean burgers, stack on the fresh salads and veggies, and of course, don’t forget pineapple and beetroot for a real Aussie burger.

Asian stir-fry – buy lean meat strips, choose your favourite veggies and have steamed rice on the side.