The Australian Healthy Takeaway Cheat Sheet

We often find excuses to cheat on our diet, or indulge in a treat when we can. But even with our busy lifestyle, its still possible to eat healthy and be conscious of the food we consume.

Eating healthy food is a goal for many Australians, but it’s not always easy to achieve. While cooking at home should be the ultimate goal, since it can not only be healthier and gives you total control over the ingredients being used, but it’s also a lot less expensive in the long run, it’s not always practical. Busy schedules, after school sports, and long hours at work have led to an increased dependence on takeaway food sources. Just because you eat out frequently, though, doesn’t mean you have to give up on your healthy eating goals. Eating convenient, healthy meals from takeaway restaurants is possible with a little knowledge and planning.

Salad bar with colourful vegetables

What’s the difference between nutrient-dense takeaway and low-calorie takeaway?

The first thing you need to understand when attempting to eat healthy while away from home is that low calorie doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. A diet soft drink, for instance, has zero calories but also has zero nutritional value along with a dose of artificial sweeteners and other less than savory ingredients. A gram of nuts, by comparison, contains roughly 200+ calories but also has fiber, protein, selenium, calcium, and sometimes other vitamins and nutrients. The nuts are obviously a healthier choice for a snack. That doesn’t mean calories should be ignored, but when you’re eating away from home, go for the meals that have as much nutrition as possible. For instance, a chicken sandwich with tomato, lettuce, onion, and mustard will have more nutrition than a burger with cheese.

Heart shaped bowl of fruit

Tips for finding healthy takeaway options almost anywhere

No matter what your favourite restaurant is, you can find healthier options that won’t totally derail your healthy eating habits. For starters, you may be able to substitute some ingredients at many restaurants. Ask for lettuce instead of a traditional bread bun, for instance. Additionally, you may also choose to forego chips for veggies or a side of fruit. Salads are also a good choice if you avoid creamy dressings or opt to have your dressing on the side.

When it comes to protein, try to stick to lean sources such as fish and chicken breast. Lean beef can also be a good choice if other options are not available but be aware that even lean red meat is higher in calories than other options. Many restaurants also now have “bowl” instead of sandwich options, so you can eat the meat and vegetables in a bowl instead of on bread. Reducing cheeses, creams and other add-ons can considerably reduce the number of a calories in a meal as well if that is important to you.

Filet of salmon on wooden board

If none of these things are options where you happen to be dining out, then the best option is to order the smallest meal you can without being hungry and order a water as your beverage. Although a small burger is still empty calories, it is better than getting an extra-large burger, which has no nutrition along with a much higher calorie count.

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      Brit McDowell

      Lifestyle Specialist & Subject Matter Expert

      Brit McDowell is a Subject Matter Expert at Localsearch with a background in marketing, business and tourism management. Aside from her specialisation in technical processes, Brit is known for her green thumb and growing succulent collection, love of dogs (especially Dalmatians), eye for home interior and fervour for travel. Brit is also a Lifestyle Specialist on the Localsearch Blog and enjoys sharing her research and knowledge in home and gardening services, food, beauty and general lifestyle tips and tricks.