How to order healthy takeout

Blog PhotoBlog PhotoI don't eat take-out very often--as I actually find coming home and cooking dinner to be a great stress reliever after a hard day at work--but sometimes I'm tired, out of food or in need of MSG, and on those days take-out comes calling. On those days that I succumb to dish-free eating, I have a few tricks I use to keep the whole thing a bit healthier, or at least to trick my brain into making me think I'm a healthy-eating rock star. Here are some of my favorite take-out tactics:

  1. Take out doesn't mean delivery. If I want it, I have to walk to go get it. Plus, being on premises means I get to watch them cook it and may learn a thing or two about cooking/spy on their use of oil/butter/strange yet yummy brown sauce. Plus when you go get it, you don't have to tip the delivery person.
  2. I usually ask for sauces on the side. Not only does this allow me to portion out how much I really want to use, but it also means that I have some left over if I want to try and re-create the dish at home later. (Recreate your favorite Korean dished with these delicious recipes.)
  3. Steamed or Broiled. I stick to steamed and broiled dishes instead of fried or pan-seared (which also pretty much means fried); not only does it not get soggy on the way back from the restaurant, but it's also the healthiest way to go.
  4. Sorry but I'm allergic. Okay, so I'm not allergic to anything but blueberries, and I don't think I've ever found a stray blueberry in my food. Sometimes I'll let slip that I'm lactose intolerant, which means "hold the butter." No one wants to be sued.
  5. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Restaurants want your money and they want you to keep coming back and giving it to them. If you want the pork dish but with chicken instead, ask for it. (Here are some smart swaps for your favorite high-calorie goodies. They're better for you, but still tasty enough to satisfy.)
  6. Go veggie. Vegetables are lower in fat and calories and chock full of flatulence-inducing fiber. Since I may not always know what cut of meat a restaurant is giving me, or if I don't necessarily trust them 100 percent with my intestinal health, often times I'll go completely veg. Vegetables are generally safe and are a generally guilt-free food.
You're all brilliant and savvy eaters so I'm sure that you know many of these things already and my even have a thing or two to teach me about the ways of the take-out world, so please share your suggestions--I see lots of take-out in my future.

Related: Eat comfort food and lose weight, too! Our tips cut calories, not portions.

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