There are many good reasons to stay in and order out.
Maybe you want to relax and have someone else cook. Or, you want to experiment with something you can’t make at home. Then again, perhaps there’s a global pandemic…
That said, eating takeout or delivery exclusively is not always healthy.
Part of the reason restaurant food is so delicious is that it’s often very high in salt.
We are of course wired to love salt, but too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure.
Because of this, we’ve compiled a few ideas to eat takeout in a healthy, sustainable way.
There’s something a little disconcerting about a guy on a bicycle giving you a bag of raw fish.
But well-sourced fresh fish is undeniably healthy—rich in protein and healthy fatty acids. Coupled with vegetables, edamame, fruits and seaweed, and you can easily get a light, fresh meal, full of nutrients.
That said, if you go for a sushi roll called ‘The Heart Attack’—some sort of fried California roll stuffed with cream cheese and jalapenos, slathered in scallops and thousand island dressing, well, we can’t exactly blame you (we’ve all been there), but you know what you’re doing.
There is one caveat with fish, however, and it’s a big one. Back in the good old days, the doctor would give you a tincture of mercury to drink for your toothache, before bleeding you. But now, the FDA, says that mercury is actually not all that great for you.
Rampant ocean pollution has led to increasingly toxic levels of mercury in large ocean fish like tuna—which includes yellowfin and albacore variants. Toxicity levels are highly variable, with the size of the fish being a factor. It’s a good idea to not overdo it.
No matter what kind of poke you get, avoid using too much soy sauce. Soy sauce, it turns out, is basically just salt juice. Agh! Sodium strikes again!
Salads are time consuming to make at home. Not only do you need a plan on how to make that hideous assemblage of green leaves actually appetizing, you need to chop it all up, with the growing realization that you’re not eating much better than one of your pre-agricultural ancestors.
But a delicious salad, with walnuts, goat cheese, fruits, some crunch and the like, can make you feel like Caesar snacking in between Bachanalian revelries.
It can also be almost as bad for you as those nachos you really wanted. Sometimes the really tasty salads are not all that good for you. Go for a light dressing (this does not include ranch, and you know it), and a lighter protein like hard boiled egg, walnuts or salmon if you’re making a meal out of it. You’ll know your salad is properly healthy when it’s just a little disappointing.
The Mediterranean diet of vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil is wonderfully healthy.
Humans, after all, evolved as a foraging species, with the bulk of our caloric intake coming from fruits, nuts and veggies. Meat was a rare, tasty treat. The Mediterranean diet will make you feel great, provided you order from a healthy place, and go for things like hummus, olives, tabbouleh and only a bit of falafel.
There are two types of Thai food. There’s the food that Thai people actually eat most days. Light stir-fries with vegetables, rice, chicken and a light sauce.
Throw a spicy Papaya salad in there for fresh fruit and nuts and a Tom Yum Soup (a light sour and spicy soup, full of turmeric, coriander, lemongrass and fresh chilies) and you have some of the healthiest, most flavorful cuisine in the world.
Of course, that’s not usually what we think of when we think of Thai. I’m sorry to break it to you, but the presence of a few veggies in your Pad Thai or curries does not make them healthy. Opt for stir fries, salads and soups with heavy vegetable servings and lighter sauces.
Plenty of New American restaurants and bars have healthy options, too. You can often find a healthy chicken or fish something-or-other too.
But as long as you’re exercising and not on a strict diet, being selective with different types of cuisine will let you have high-protein, low-fat, high-nutrient meals that are never boring. Happy ordering!