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5 Clever Tips to Eat Healthy While Ordering Takeout

Want to strike a balance between ordering delivery food and eating healthy, but confused about what to get? A holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach tells us about the habits you need to make takeout healthy.

By Shreya Maji
16 Feb 2022

Whether you want to enjoy the delicacies of a restaurant without having to step outdoors, or you want to switch up your monotonous eating habits, or you simply want to skip the hassle of cooking dinner, delivery food can come to your rescue in any situation. Even as restaurants have started reopening in the wake of the pandemic, ordering in food from the comfort of our homes has remained a lifeline for many of us. Sustainable food habits and healthy eating are on the forefront of everyone’s mind, but much like eating out, finding healthy options for delivery food can often be difficult.


“It is important to keep one’s nutrition on point during these times as it is key to keep one’s immunity strong and remain healthy overall,” says Mumbai-based holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach Vinita Contractor, assuring us that in terms of COVID, as long as you wash your hands well before handling the food and eating, it is safe to order food in. There are some easy practises which can ensure that you get a delicious meal without compromising on your health. The lifestyle coach gives us the following advice for sticking to a healthy eating plan even while ordering in.

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1. Choose restaurants offering healthy food options rather than fast-food chains

As tempting as it might be to get burgers and fries for your lunch every day, it is important to pay attention to your nutrition, especially if you order in food regularly. As our lives have gotten a lot more sedentary due to quarantines and limited outings, it is best to cut down on saturated fats and greasy foods. “Order foods from restaurants that are known for relatively healthier food rather than the ones which mainly make junk food,” advises Vinita. “Minimise oil intake, reduce the consumption of refined sugar and refined flour, and don’t opt for packaged food which contain artificial colours and preservatives.”


2. Stick to a well-rounded meal heavy on veggies and protein

It is not difficult to combine the convenience of ordering in food with the benefits of healthy eating—you just need to be smart about it. “Order wholesome food which contains more vegetables and whole grains. Try to get sufficient protein by eating tofu, legumes and sprouts.” Her go-to healthy takeout orders include stir fried veggies, mixed vegetable curry without gravy, tofu bhurji, dal, khichdi, dosas or other South Indian dishes made from millets, and items made from brown rice (instead of noodles or pasta). By taking a healthy approach to takeout food, you can even ensure you are getting all the nutrients that your body needs.


3. Opt for hot foods over raw salads

Although the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus through any kind of food is very low, according to the Centre for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, hot food is even less likely to be contaminated as high temperatures make the virus inactive. “I would say to be careful regarding raw food items such as salads, as very few restaurants clean the produce as thoroughly as they should. It would be more advisable to put together a simple salad at home than ordering it in,” says Vinita Contractor. Try this wholesome 10-minute Sprouts Salad recipe.


4. Re-plate your food on your own plates

Portion sizes at restaurants are usually larger than one person would typically eat. Take your food out of the takeout containers and serve them on your plates to get a better idea of how much you would eat if you were eating a home-cooked meal instead. This will reduce the risk of overeating. Package the extra food and refrigerate it for later meals.


5. Use cutlery if you do not have the chance to wash your hands

The single most important thing to keep in mind before digging into your food is to wash your hands thoroughly. “If you wash your hands with regular soap and water, it is fine to eat with your hands,” says Vinita Contractor. “If you have used a sanitizer it is best to use properly washed cutlery from home so that the chemicals from the sanitizer do not get ingested.”

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