Anyone on my 28 program knows I’ve never been one to say ‘you can’t eat this’ or ‘you can’t have that’. I believe the secret to sticking to a healthy routine is all about balance and this means your favourite takeaway doesn’t have to be completely off the menu.

You can order an occasional takeaway meal without blowing your diet when you follow a few simple tips & tricks.

  • The first trick to ordering a healthy takeaway is: be prepared.
  • The second trick is: don’t go totally overboard!

So with that in mind, here are my healthy takeaway tips to ensure you’ve got everything you need to stay healthy next time you’re about to place an order.

Do not try this move at home.

How to enjoy an occasional takeaway without overeating and blowing your diet

One of my favourite things to do on a Friday night is order Uber eats with Snez and the girls (even if it means we always order from 3 separate restaurants because we can never collectively settle on one!).

Remember the trick to enjoying a healthy sustainable lifestyle is by finding healthier ways to enjoy the things you love… and always in moderation. Here are 4 tips to help you do exactly that. Or, if you’re too hungry to wait, you can jump straight to my healthy ordering ideas for a guilt-free takeaway!

Takeaway Tip #1: Don’t order when you’re starving

Don’t leave ordering too late in the day. When you’re hungry your eyes will get bigger than your stomach, it’s a sure-fire way to end up with extra dumplings that just have to be polished off.

Takeaway Tip #2: Keep an eye on your portions

My tip is to avoid eating straight out of the container and portion your food onto a normal sized plate or bowl you regularly use, before you dig in.

Takeaway Tip #3: Aim for balance

Don’t worry, I’m not expecting that you’ll order meat and three veg! But do try to get a mixture of protein, carbs and good fats somewhere in your order.

Takeaway Tip #4: Forgo the fried foods

I’m not here to tell you that you should kiss your spring rolls goodbye forever; I am all about progress, not perfection. But it’s important to know what meals will help your health goals and what will harm them, so you can make an informed choice.

Takeaway Tip #5: Ditch the dessert

Steer clear of the sweet options on the menu, the good news is that these are usually pretty unsatisfying anyway, especially since they often arrive plastered to the top of the container! Of course, if you know you always crave something sweet at the end of your meal, have some sweet healthy snacks waiting for you in the fridge.

Have a healthy snack ready if you get a craving for sweets after a takeaway

How to order a healthy takeaway

Take a look at my list of healthiest Chinese takeaway options, so you can enjoy your night off without a side of guilt. Or jump down to my Italian healthy ordering ideas, if that’s your flavour. I’ve also included healthy Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Indian ordering suggestions too!

The trick to healthy takeaway ordering is being prepared and knowing your healthiest takeaway options… and then…not going totally overboard!


Chinese: Your Healthiest Takeaway Options

Chinese take-out often gets a bad rap, but the good news is amongst all the deep-fried goodness there are definitely some nutritious options on the menu.

  • Go for anything steamed like fish with vegies
  • Choose tasty stir-fries packed with plenty of colourful veggies
  • Look for dishes that have lean protein like seafood, lean meat or tofu
  • Stay away from anything deep-fried (yep sadly spring rolls are off the menu).
  • Order a few steamed dumplings if that’s your flavour.
  • Choose steamed not fried rice
  • Don’t go overboard on the rice, stick to about 1/4 of a cup.

RECIPE: Try this cheap & healthy Chinese takeaway alternative

Chinese Slow-Cooked Beef Cheeks

These slow cooked Chinese Beef Cheeks are cheap, densely nutritious and insanely delicious.
Prep Time: 8 hrs
Cook Time: 8 hrs
Serves: 6
Author: IQS Slow Cooker Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 5-6 beef cheeks
  • 4 cm pieces fresh ginger grated
  • 1 bunch spring onions finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon granulated stevia
  • 1/3 cup Chinese rice wine
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 cups mushrooms sliced, shiitakes would be best but browns do the job too
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  • The night before: Combine all the ingredients except the mushrooms and stock in the insert of your slow cooker and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning: Place the mushrooms on top and pour over the stock.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Notes

Suggested side: bok choy, sugar snap peas and basmati or jasmine rice.
Cook it in the oven: Prepare as per the recipe above in a casserole dish, cover, then place into a preheated oven on 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2 for 2 hours until meat is soft.

NB: All main course recipes use quantities from the ‘Female Healthy Weight Maintenance’ Stream of the 28 By Sam Wood program. So if you’re a male, feel free to bulk it up.

If you’re looking for sustainable weight loss, why not check out our 28 By Sam Wood Weight Loss Program?

Tried this recipe?Don’t forget to share and tag your creations @28bysamwood or tag #28bysamwood

I’ve also included healthy Italian, Japanese, Indian and Vietnamese ordering suggestions if you prefer!


Thai: Healthiest Takeaway Options

Everyone loves a good Thai takeaway, but if you’re trying to stay healthy then I’d recommend you avoid fried delicacies like spring rolls and money bags.

  • Order dishes that are flavoured with herbs such as lemongrass, basil and chilli
  • Choose steamed and grilled proteins where possible
  • Larb Gai (chicken mince and salad) or a Tom Yum soup is a good option!

Italian: Healthy Takeaway Ideas

I believe in eating a variety of food and I don’t believe in demonising carbs. However, Italian takeaways do tend to be pretty carb-heavy, so moderation is key, especially if you’re looking to shed a few kilos.

Stay healthy with your Italian order by trying some of these options:

  • Choose a thin-crust pizza loaded with veggie toppings
  • Share a couple of pizzas with the family rather than having a pizza to yourself
  • Add a side salad to bulk up your meal (and get extra nutrients!)
  • Stay away from creamy sauces, choose tomato-based pasta sauces instead
sams-healthy-takeaway-tips-03-healthy-meat-lovers-pizza
TRY OUR RECIPE: Meat Lover’s Pizza – Healthy Italian Recipe

Japanese: The Best Takeaway Options

With plenty of fresh fish, raw ingredients and low saturated fat choices, Japanese is one of the healthiest takeaway options you can go for. Skip the heavy chicken curry though! Start your meal off with some edamame for an extra protein hit.

Order any of these healthy Japanese takeaway options:

  • Sashimi
  • Salmon Sushi (with brown rice if possible)
  • Any teppanyaki grilled meats
  • Steamed veggies – yum!

Looking for a healthy homemade option? I love my homemade Japanese Crispy Pancakes, they’re so easy to whip up.

sams-healthy-takeaway-tips-02-japanese-crispy-pancakes
TRY OUR RECIPE: Healthy Japanese Crispy Pancakes

Indian: Ordering healthy

I love a good tandoori chicken. But I tend to avoid fried dishes like samosas and I rarely load up on naans or steamed rice sides.

If you’re trying to have a healthy Indian takeaway here are my tips:

  • Go for oven-baked or grilled proteins (like tandoori)
  • Choose tomato or yoghurt-based dishes
  • Rice is ok in moderation, aim for no more than 1/4 of a cup
  • Rogan Josh and Cucumber raita are some good options!

Vietnamese: Your Healthy Takeaway Choices

There’s nothing like a warming bowl of chicken pho with a side of fresh rice paper rolls to hit the spot on a cold Friday night in. With plenty of fresh veggies, herbs and spices, Vietnamese takeaway can provide an awesome balanced, yet totally satisfying meal. Just stay away from those spring rolls!


sams-healthy-takeaway-tips-04-rice-paper-rolls
TRY OUR RECIPE: Homemade Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.