Ordering food delivery has become a habit for many of us in a bid to avoid going out to eat, and that may escalate with the long Chinese New Year weekend coming up.
Cooking meals at home may also seem like a chore, plus you might be craving for restaurant or hawker food that can be delivered to your doorstep.
Still, you should keep healthy eating habits in mind.
Foods that look great on the menu may not always be the healthiest options as they can be high in fat, salt and sugar.
It is also easy to fall back on fast food when you run out of ideas.
Follow these tips to stop feeling guilty about eating more takeaways than home-cooked meals.
DON'T ORDER WHEN YOU ARE STARVING, TIRED OR STRESSED
Don't reach for your phone or head out to buy food when you hear your stomach growling.
When you are famished, everything on the menu looks good and you end up ordering more side dishes or desserts to satisfy your hunger.
Looking at food when you are tired or stressed can also lead to choosing comfort food instead of healthier options.
Plan and order your meals in advance so that you won't be tempted to add on extra treats.
WATCH YOUR PORTIONS
When you eat straight from the container, it can be difficult to tell how big the portion really is and you may eat more than usual.
Avoid this by transferring your food to a plate or bowl before tucking in.
You can share the remaining food with your family or keep it for the next meal.
CHOOSE GRILLED AND STEAMED OPTIONS
While it is deeply satisfying to have a treat like crispy Korean fried chicken once in a while, you don't have to eat it all the time.
Avoid oily fried food whenever you can and select the healthier grilled or steamed options. Not only will your body thank you, your skin will too.
CHOOSE YOUR PIZZAS WISELY
Pizzas are a popular option for takeaways and deliveries, but it is no secret they are high in calories and carb-heavy.
Minimise the carbs by opting for pizzas with thin crusts instead of thick doughy crusts.
Meat pizzas tend to be higher in saturated fat and sodium due to the salami, ham or bacon, so go for seafood, chicken or vegetarian flavours.
Also, choose tomato-based sauces instead of creamy sauces, and sprinkle less cheese.
To make your meal healthier, ditch the greasy wedges and cheesy garlic bread for a salad side to get more greens.
GO FOR JAPANESE CUISINE
Japanese food is not only tasty, it is also a healthier takeaway option.
Pick up nutritionally balanced bento sets that have a mix of carbs, proteins and good fats, or eat highly nutritious tuna and salmon sushi or sashimi rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Eat less of the deep-fried foods like chicken karaage (fried chicken), tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) and gyoza (pan-fried dumplings), which are calorie-laden and high in salt content.
VIETNAMESE FOOD IS ANOTHER GOOD OPTION
A good bowl of pho is both delicious and a well-balanced meal thanks to the accompanying fresh vegetables and herbs and spices like basil and coriander.
Fresh rice paper rolls, a Vietnamese staple, are also the perfect add-on to your meal.
Traditionally filled with raw vegetables, prawns, rice noodles and meat, these rolls are not only light and refreshing, they also pack a lot of flavour and are much healthier than deep-fried spring rolls.
DON'T GET A MEAL OR UPSIZE IF YOU ORDER FAST FOOD
On days when you are craving fast food, try to avoid getting a meal combo.
Though it may be more bang for your buck to get a burger with fries and a soft drink on the side, the additions equate to more calories.
If you do get a meal combo, stick to the original portion and refrain from upsizing it or you may end up busting your calorie budget.
CHOOSE HEALTHIER SALADS
Although a salad seems like the healthiest food you can order, the wrong ingredients or salad dressings will add unwanted fats, sugars and calories.
So choose dressings like olive oil, vinaigrette or balsamic and avoid creamy Caesar or Thousand Island dressings which contain extra saturated fat.
Request for the dressings on the side so you can decide how much to add to your salad.
Also, make sure your salad is balanced - a quarter of it should be chicken, meat or eggs, another quarter should be carbs such as noodles, potato, bread or rice, and half the salad should be vegetables such as capsicums, mushrooms or greens.
Stay away from unhealthy toppings such as croutons or have them in moderation.
TRACK YOUR CALORIES
Keeping track of the calories you consume can help you find out how much calories your dishes contain.
This will help you make better choices the next time you order.
To start logging calories, download a meal tracker app. This could even be the beginning of your weight loss journey.
Source: The New Paper © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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