Takeout Meals: 5 Key Tips for Controlling Your Calorie Consumption
Many of us live very hectic lifestyles in this contemporary age and each new generation sees fewer people learning how to prepare meals at home. This sees a lot of individuals relying on the convenience of delicious – but high calorie – takeout meals from time to time in order not to starve, but indulging in such regularly is obviously not beneficial to anyone looking to maintain a healthy weight or lose a few pounds.
Even if you are not a conscious calorie counter, heeding the following five tips should see you consume takeout meals in a far healthier manner in the future:
#1: Always Eat Takeout off a Plate with Cutlery
If you habitually eat takeout dishes directly from the plastic containers in which they arrive, or eat pizza and fries straight from their respective cardboard delivery boxes, it is quite likely you will eat much more than you usually would when eating a home-cooked meal. Serving up meals on a dining plate helps one to keep portion sizes – and therefore calorie consumption – in check. As such, you should always serve up your selected takeout meal onto a typically-sized dinner plate before you commence eating.
The use of cutlery might seem like an odd suggestion since you would use a knife and fork anyway to eat dishes such as curry and soup. Cutlery, however, should also be used to consume items generally considered to be ‘finger foods’, such as pizza, chicken strips and burgers. Cutting up food into smaller pieces instead of taking large bites will see you eat your meal more slowly, and this gives your body the opportunity to feel full before reaching your stomach’s uncomfortable, maximum capacity.
#2: Don’t Order Takeout at the Last-Minute
Indulging with a takeout meal every now and again is fine so long as you prepare for such in advance. If you know you will be having a calorie-dense creamy korma on Tuesday night for example, you will probably eat a lighter breakfast and lunch that day to compensate and ensure you do not exceed your Guideline Daily Amounts of energy and fat.
It is unlikely, however, that you carefully considered the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the day’s earlier meals if you find yourself deciding to have an impromptu takeout tea. Doing an online grocery shop for the week ahead with set meals in mind is ideal for ensuring you do not need your local takeout businesses on speed dial! Planning your meals too strictly can strip the fun right out of meal times though, so do allow yourself to spontaneously give into the convenience of home-order food on occasion.
#3: Don’t be Afraid to Request Takeout Ingredient Exclusions
You would be sure to ask a takeout business not to include cashews in a freshly prepared dish if you happened to have an allergy to nuts, so why not ask certain ingredients to be excluded when watching your weight? Although your requests might not always be possible to fulfil, there is no harm in asking for fatty ingredients such as cheese, creams and oils to be absent from your selected dish. You might feel a little cheated if your fellow diners are indulging without a calorie-care in the world but no cheese pizza is surprisingly nice!
You might worry to make such requests, but unique dietary requirements are so vast these days that the kitchen in question is probably used to such special requests.
#4: Drink Water and Avoid (even Diet) Soda
You are probably already aware that drinking water with meals helps one to feel full more quickly (resulting in less calories being consumed) and can aid the process of digestion. Unfortunately, takeout businesses usually offer an array of different sugar-packed and diet sodas to accompany their customers’ meals. Non-diet varieties add a significant amount of calories to the mix but soda is a poor choice for another reason too. Regularly eating a lot of food and drinking carbonated drinks on top can actually stretch the stomach over time, and you will eventually need to eat larger portions to feel satisfied. Stick to water!
#5: Don’t Over Order Takeout and Always Consider Food Freebies
Many takeout establishments offer special discounts to customers when a certain amount of food is ordered and this sees many ordering far too much. Since takeout dinners are often more expensive than home-cooked meals, the majority of individuals do not like to see any of the food they have bought wasted and will therefore overeat as a result. Any leftovers stored in the fridge are likely to be picked at over several days too, which is obviously not the best thing for a person’s waistline!
Being careful not to place too large an order is particularly important when it comes to Chinese takeout and Dominoes Pizza. It is usually the case that calorie-laden additions such as prawn crackers, fortune cookies or chicken strippers will be thrown in free of charge as a mark of thanks for your custom.
About the author: When Kat Cole can’t resist the convenience of a takeaway, she visits the Just-Eat website.