Trouble With Takeout
Order…Szechuan chicken (2 cups): 500 calories, 21 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat
Our experts say…General Tso's chicken is about the most dangerous Chinese dish on the menu—dark meat battered and deep-fried, then cooked with vegetables in a sweet, spicy sauce. Szechuan chicken, made with leaner, white meat and sautéed with vegetables, is a far better choice.
Order…Steamed vegetable dumpling: 55 calories, 1.5 grams total fat, less than 1 gram saturated fat, per dumpling
Our experts say… Dumplings are a healthy appetizer, as long as you get the vegetable ones (if you opt for pork, the fat content can double). Just watch the numbers: With at least six dumplings per order, you may want to share.
Order…Vegetable burrito bowl with grilled peppers and onions, rice, beans, lettuce, Jack cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo: 590 calories, 10 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat
Our experts say… A burrito is about a pound of food and more than half your daily fat allotment. Some restaurants offer burrito bowls—i.e., a scaled-down burrito without the tortilla (which, by itself, has at least 8 grams of fat and 350 calories). Order extra lettuce in lieu of rice, and you get even more caloric savings.
Order…Cheese enchilada: 370 calories, 24 grams total fat, 7 grams saturated fat, per enchilada
Our experts say…There's almost nothing like a plate of nachos when you're craving something greasy—but that's more than a day's worth of recommended fat in one dish. An enchilada—with red chili sauce; hold the sour cream—will give you the cheese without all that fat. If it's the crunch you're hankering for, instead of the enchilada order a side of chips and salsa—just go easy on the chips.
Order…Veggie burger: 450 calories, 11 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat
Our experts say… A classic burger from a family-style restaurant can have more fat than a Big Mac. Veggie burgers are much leaner—just don't start adding cheese and mayo.
Order…Mashed potatoes and gravy (3/4 cup): 190 calories, 8 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat
Our experts say… A baked potato is another option. Even with a tablespoon of sour cream, it comes to only 310 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat.
Order…Pizza with broccoli, mushrooms and half the normal amount of cheese: 250 calories, 6 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, per slice
Our experts say… Top it with veggies, cut back on the cheese, and pizza becomes "a healthy meal, full of nutrients," says Pensiero. If you're jonesing for red meat, pick ham; it usually has the least fat, adding about 1 gram of fat per slice.
Order…Chicken tikka (1 1/2 cups) and an order of naan: 640 calories, 17 grams total fat, 6 grams saturated fat
Our experts say… The masala sauce is loaded with cream, but the bare chicken is healthy—and it's marinated for hours in yogurt and spices, so you still get flavorful, tender meat. Since you're saving on calories and fat, you might as well get an order of Indian bread or a simple dal, a lentil dish. "The best thing to do with any cuisine is to diversify your plate so you get a mix of tastes as well as vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients," Pensiero says.
Order…Bhindi bhajee (okra in tomato sauce, 2 cups): 345 calories, 22 grams total fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat
Our experts say… Not only does saag, or palak, paneer have cheese, it's usually made with cream, too. You're better off with any of the vegetable dishes cooked with tomatoes. Okra is a smart choice—like spinach, it's a good source of calcium, folate, and vitamins A and C.
Order… Tuna roll: 190 calories, less than 1 gram total fat, 0 grams saturated fat, per roll
Our experts say… Spicy rolls are usually made with mayo, so they can be more artery clogging than you might expect. The plain tuna, however, contains barely any fat. Then again, if it's one of those nights you just need a little excitement—nutrition be damned—go spicy. Even with mayonnaise, sushi is still one of the healthiest takeouts you can find.