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Healthy eating on the go

Does your hectic lifestyle mean you’re always eating on the go? Fast foods get a bad rap for being high in ‘empty calories’ (meaning they contain lots of calories, but few nutrients), fat (particularly trans- and saturated fat), refined carbohydrates and salt. While it’s always best to prepare a healthy lunch or snack at home, many fast food restaurants now offer healthier options that you can enjoy occasionaly without feeling guilty.

Here are a few great tips to help you make better choices when you order take-aways:

  1. Don’t supersize me. Beware ever increasing portion sizes. Portion control is vital when you indulge in a take-away meal. Regular sizes (and kiddies meals) are generally more than enough. Supersizing your meal is a sure-fire way to also supersize your calorie intake (and your waistline).
  2. Say no to extras. Extra chips or potato wedges, anyone? Or a slice of cheese on your burger? Just say no. Rather opt for a salad on the side (ask for the dressing separate), a baked potato or corn on the cob.
  3. Fried won’t fly. Always order the grilled or baked options rather than fried ones.
  4. Just ask. Is there a wholewheat option available? Can you leave the mayo and butter off? Could you have the chicken without the skin? Most take-away outlets will happily oblige if you ask.
  5. Don’t drink your calories. Water is always best (sparkling is fine), but if you’re craving some flavour, you can opt for the occasional diet beverage.
  6. Be nutrition savvy. Most fast-food chains supply the nutritional details of their meals on their websites. Knowing what healthy options to look out for takes the guessing out of ordering the right things. You’ll also be less tempted by all the choices on offer.

Making smarter choices

These are some of the commonly available take-away meals on offer:

  1. Sushi. A great choice, because there is no or very little fried ingredients and sushi containing fatty fish contains healthy omega-3 fats. Limit sushi containing rice to no more than 8 to 12 pieces.
  2. Chicken. Opt for flame-grilled rather than fried chicken. Instead of a burger, opt for a salad. If you have a burger, replace the chips with corn or salad.
  3. Choose steamed dishes and stir-fries that are generally lower in fat and contain plenty of vegetables.
  4. Grilled is always better than fried. Lose the chips and add a salad.
  5. Pizza. Choose thin crusts, ask for less cheese and choose more vegetable toppings.
  6. Smoothies. Don’t be duped into thinking that smoothies are all good. They can be very high in calories. Have a smoothie as a meal on its own.

*Check out the healthy range of teas, juices, smoothies, gluten-free bakes, salads and wraps on offer at Happy.Me at our Northview club.