Tonight's Takeout: Which Is Worse?
Healthier Tikka Masala: If you order a creamy curry, Jibrin advises limiting your portion to just 1 cup. Another idea for healthier but still-speedy Indian food: frozen entrées. Jibrin likes Ethnic Gourmet's Tikka Masala, which has only 260 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat.
Healthier Orange Chicken: Jibrin suggests ordering an all-vegetable entrée (such as stir-fried spinach, broccoli or green beans) with your chicken dish and sharing both with friends. Steamed veggies are the healthiest, but even Jibrin admits they get pretty boring. Instead, ask the restaurant to "go easy on the oil" when stir-frying, and substitute brown rice for white.
Healthier Burrito: Toss the tortilla and order your burrito "naked," or in a bowl. Scoop on heart-healthy guacamole and skip the sour cream and cheese to bring the total saturated fat down to around 5 grams. If you also substitute lettuce for half the rice, you'll turn your burrito bomb into a meal that's practically good for you.
Healthier Burger: Go with the puny-size patty (a regular burger from the drive-thru is 3.5 ounces, a Big Mac is 7.5 ounces, and classic burgers from family restaurants are even bigger). Add lettuce for bulk and tomato for antioxidants. Ketchup and mustard are negligible in terms of calories, but mayo has 90 calories per packet, so use sparingly. Hold the fries (but you already knew that).
Healthier Teriyaki: Jibrin recommends no more than a cup of rice (about the size of two fists) and another cup of chicken with teriyaki sauce. Order an all-vegetable side, and again, substitute brown rice for white. Inquire about low-sodium teriyaki sauce. (Like all takeout, both these dishes are loaded with sodium: 2,700 to 5,200 milligrams. The recommended amount is only 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams per day.)
Healthier Pad Thai: Request double the vegetables (usually bean sprouts, onions and scallions). The rice noodles are a waste of calories, and there are a lot of them, so aim to eat only about the size of three fists' worth of this dish.
Healthier Pizza: Top your pie with vegetables. If you get thin-crust pizza, you'll cut the calories almost in half. Look for a pizza parlor that serves whole wheat crusts. "The extra fiber, as well as the phytonutrients from the veggies, would make this your healthiest choice," says Jibrin.
Healthier Spaghetti: You've heard it before: Order whole wheat pasta whenever possible. Pair your half-portion size with a side salad with oil and vinegar. ("Steer clear of the premade dressings, because takeout dinners have enough sodium," says Jibrin.)
Healthier Chicken: Go for green beans (25 calories), an undressed salad (15 calories—splash on oil and vinegar at home) or a 3-inch piece of corn on the cob (71 calories).
Healthier Steak: Order a leaner cut of sirloin or tenderloin; calories and fat skyrocket in cuts like rib eye, prime rib, Porterhouse and New York strip. Avoid rich, buttery sides, and have your steak with grilled vegetables and a baked potato.
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