In today’s fast-paced world, where time is often scarce, takeout food has become a popular choice for many individuals and families. The convenience of being able to order a meal and have it delivered or ready for pick-up is undeniably appealing. Whether it’s a busy workday, a lazy weekend, or simply a desire to indulge in a favorite cuisine, takeout offers a hassle-free solution to satisfy our hunger.
Importance of choosing healthy options
While indulging in takeout can be a convenient and enjoyable treat, it’s crucial to prioritize our health and make mindful choices. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of ordering greasy, calorie-laden dishes that may taste delicious but leave us feeling sluggish and regretful afterward. By opting for healthier takeout alternatives, we can still enjoy the convenience and flavors of restaurant food while nourishing our bodies with wholesome ingredients.
To help you make informed decisions when ordering takeout, we have curated a list of the 21 healthiest takeout foods. These dishes strike a balance between delectable flavors and nutritional value, providing you with options that are not only satisfying but also good for your well-being.
From various cuisines around the world, including Asian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, Italian, and American, we have handpicked a range of dishes that showcase the diversity and healthfulness of takeout options.
Each of these 21 dishes is carefully crafted to incorporate nutrient-rich ingredients, lean proteins, vibrant vegetables, and whole grains. They are prepared using healthier cooking methods such as grilling, steaming, and baking, minimizing the use of excessive oil and unhealthy additives. By choosing these health-conscious alternatives, you can indulge in the pleasure of takeout food while supporting your overall health goals.
So, let’s explore the world of delicious and nutritious healthiest takeout foods together. From sushi rolls to grilled kebabs, from bean burritos to chana masala, and from falafel to minestrone soup, we will guide you through a diverse array of mouthwatering dishes that are as wholesome as they are satisfying.
Healthy take-out in the US
When it comes to American cuisine, there are often perceptions of greasy fast food and unhealthy indulgences. However, there are plenty of healthy and delicious options available for those who want to enjoy American takeout without sacrificing their well-being. Here are three examples of the healthiest takeout foods in American cuisine:
1. Grilled chicken or turkey burgers with whole wheat buns
Instead of opting for traditional beef burgers, which can be high in saturated fats, consider choosing grilled chicken or turkey burgers as a healthier alternative. These lean protein options provide essential nutrients while being lower in fat.
Pair them with whole wheat buns, which offer more fiber and nutrients compared to their refined counterparts. Top your burger with fresh lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, and a dollop of avocado or a tangy salsa for added flavor and nutrition.
2. Vegetable and quinoa bowls with lean protein
For a wholesome and filling option, vegetable and quinoa bowls with lean protein are an excellent choice. These bowls typically consist of a base of nutrient-dense vegetables such as spinach, kale, roasted sweet potatoes, and grilled zucchini.
Add a serving of protein like grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu to make it a complete meal. Quinoa, a high-protein grain, serves as a satisfying and nutritious addition. Drizzle with a light dressing or a squeeze of lemon juice for a burst of flavor.
3. Salad with grilled chicken and a variety of veggies
Salads are a versatile and refreshing choice when it comes to the healthiest takeout foods. Opt for a salad that includes a generous portion of leafy greens such as spinach or mixed greens.
Add grilled chicken as a lean protein source, and incorporate a variety of colorful vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots, and avocado. To enhance the taste, consider adding some nuts or seeds for crunch and a light vinaigrette dressing on the side.
By choosing these healthier American takeout options, you can enjoy the flavors and convenience of American cuisine while nourishing your body with wholesome ingredients. Remember, it’s all about making mindful choices that prioritize your health without compromising on taste.
Asian cuisine offers a wide range of flavors and culinary delights. From the delicate balance of flavors in sushi to the comforting warmth of steamed dumplings, there are several healthy options to explore. Here are three examples of the healthiest Asian takeout foods :
4. Sushi rolls with fresh ingredients
Sushi rolls are a popular and nutritious choice in Asian cuisine. They typically consist of a filling of fresh fish, seafood, or vegetables wrapped in nori (seaweed) and rice. Opt for rolls that include ingredients like salmon, tuna, avocado, cucumber, and carrots. These rolls provide a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, lean proteins, and fiber.
Choose brown rice or sushi rolls made with less refined grains for added nutritional benefits. Enjoy your sushi rolls with a side of low-sodium soy sauce and wasabi for an extra kick of flavor.
5. Steamed dumplings with lean protein and vegetables
Steamed dumplings are a delightful option for those seeking a healthier Asian takeout choice. Look for dumplings that are filled with lean protein options such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu, combined with a medley of vegetables like cabbage, mushrooms, and water chestnuts.
Steaming preserves the nutrients and flavors of the ingredients while minimizing the use of oils or fats. Enjoy these dumplings with a light soy-based dipping sauce or a dash of chili oil for added taste.
6. Vegetable stir-fry with minimal oil and sauces
Vegetable stir-fry is a versatile and nutritious dish that can be customized to suit your preferences. Opt for a stir-fry that features an array of vibrant vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, snap peas, and bok choy.
Choose a stir-fry that uses minimal oil and sauces to keep the dish light and healthy. Consider adding a lean protein source like tofu, shrimp, or chicken to make it a complete and satisfying meal. Enjoy the stir-fry with a side of brown rice or quinoa for added fiber and nutrients.
When exploring Asian takeout options, remember to prioritize fresh ingredients, minimal oil and sauces, and lean proteins. By choosing these healthier Asian dishes, you can savor the rich flavors and diverse tastes while nourishing your body with wholesome ingredients.
Mediterranean cuisine is renowned for its vibrant flavors and healthful ingredients. It emphasizes the use of fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats. Here are three examples of the healthiest Mediterranean takeout foods:
7. Grilled chicken or fish kebabs with vegetables
Grilled chicken or fish kebabs with vegetables are a delicious and nutritious option in Mediterranean cuisine. Skewered with colorful bell peppers, onions, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes, these kebabs offer a combination of lean protein and fiber-rich veggies.
Opt for skinless chicken breast or fish like salmon or cod, which are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Grilling adds a smoky flavor without excessive oil or fats. Serve your kebabs with a side of whole grain couscous or quinoa for a well-rounded meal.
8. Hummus and veggie wraps
Hummus and veggie wraps are a satisfying and flavorful option for Mediterranean takeout. Spread a generous amount of hummus on a whole wheat or whole grain wrap.
Load it up with a variety of fresh and crunchy vegetables like cucumbers, bell peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded carrots. You can also add some sliced olives or crumbled feta cheese for extra tang and richness.
Hummus provides plant-based protein and healthy fats, while the vegetables offer an abundance of vitamins and minerals. These wraps are a perfect on-the-go option for a light and nutritious meal.
9. Greek salad with lean protein and feta cheese
Greek salad is a classic Mediterranean dish that showcases the vibrant flavors of the region. Start with a bed of fresh romaine lettuce or mixed greens. Add in sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red onions, and Kalamata olives. Top it off with crumbled feta cheese for a tangy and savory touch.
To make it a complete meal, add lean protein such as grilled chicken, shrimp, or chickpeas. The combination of crisp vegetables, flavorful cheese, and lean protein makes this salad both refreshing and satisfying.
When choosing Mediterranean takeout options, prioritize fresh and wholesome ingredients such as vegetables, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats. These dishes not only delight your taste buds but also provide essential nutrients for your well-being. So, the next time you’re craving Mediterranean flavors, consider these healthier alternatives for a nourishing and flavorful experience.
Mexican cuisine is known for its bold flavors and vibrant ingredients. It offers a variety of healthy options that incorporate fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and wholesome grains. Here are three examples of the healthiest Mexican takeout foods:
10. Grilled chicken or shrimp tacos with whole wheat tortillas
Grilled chicken or shrimp tacos are a delicious and nutritious choice in Mexican cuisine. Opt for lean proteins that are marinated and grilled to perfection. Fill whole wheat tortillas with grilled chicken or shrimp, and top them with an assortment of colorful veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.
Add a squeeze of lime juice for a burst of tangy flavor. Whole wheat tortillas provide more fiber and nutrients compared to refined flour tortillas, making them a healthier choice.
11. Bean burritos with lots of vegetables
Bean burritos are a filling and nutritious option for Mexican takeout. Choose whole wheat or whole grain tortillas as the base for your burrito. Fill them with a generous amount of beans such as black beans or pinto beans, which are high in fiber and plant-based protein.
Add plenty of vegetables like diced tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and spinach to boost the nutritional content. You can also include a small amount of shredded cheese or a dollop of Greek yogurt for added creaminess and flavor.
12. Fresh salsa and guacamole with baked tortilla chips
Fresh salsa and guacamole with baked tortilla chips make for a flavorful and healthy Mexican snack. Prepare homemade salsa using ripe tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and lime juice. Opt for baked tortilla chips instead of fried ones to reduce the overall fat content.
Guacamole, made with mashed avocado, lime juice, diced onions, tomatoes, and a touch of salt, adds a creamy and nutritious element to the snack. Enjoy these homemade dips and chips as a lighter alternative to traditional deep-fried options.
When indulging in Mexican takeout, focus on incorporating lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fresh vegetables. These options allow you to savor the authentic flavors while maintaining a balanced and healthy meal.
Middle Eastern Cuisine
Middle Eastern cuisine is renowned for its bold flavors, aromatic spices, and wholesome ingredients. It offers a range of healthy options that showcase the region’s culinary diversity. Here are three examples of the healthiest Middle Eastern takeout foods:
13. Chicken or lamb shawarma with salad and whole wheat pita bread
Chicken or lamb shawarma is a flavorful and protein-rich Middle Eastern dish. Marinated in a blend of herbs and spices, the meat is typically slow-cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Opt for lean cuts of meat and enjoy it with a side of fresh salad consisting of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, and parsley.
Use whole wheat pita bread to wrap the shawarma and salad for a wholesome and satisfying meal. This combination provides a balance of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients.
14. Falafel with tahini sauce and salad
Falafel, made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, is a popular vegetarian option in Middle Eastern cuisine. These deep-fried patties offer a good source of plant-based protein and fiber. Enjoy falafel with a drizzle of tahini sauce, made from sesame paste, lemon juice, and garlic, which adds a creamy and nutty flavor.
Serve it alongside a fresh salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickled vegetables for added freshness and crunch. This combination provides a satisfying and nutritious plant-based meal.
15. Lentil soup with whole grain bread
Lentil soup is a comforting and nutritious dish that is widely enjoyed in Middle Eastern cuisine. Made from lentils, onions, garlic, and a blend of spices, this hearty soup is rich in fiber, protein, and essential nutrients.
Pair it with a slice of whole grain bread for added texture and carbohydrates. Whole grain bread provides more fiber and nutrients compared to refined white bread. This combination makes for a nourishing and satisfying meal, especially during colder months.
When exploring Middle Eastern takeout options, focus on dishes that incorporate lean proteins, legumes, whole grains, and an abundance of fresh vegetables. These options allow you to enjoy the distinct flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine while promoting a healthy and balanced diet.
So, the next time you’re craving Middle Eastern flavors, consider these healthier alternatives for a delightful and nourishing culinary experience.
Indian cuisine is known for its vibrant spices, aromatic flavors, and diverse vegetarian options. It offers a wide range of healthy dishes that incorporate nutritious ingredients. Here are three examples of the healthiest Indian takeout foods:
16. Tandoori chicken with yogurt-based sauce
Tandoori chicken is a popular and nutritious choice in Indian cuisine. It is marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, giving it a tangy and flavorful taste. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, but it can also be grilled or baked for a healthier preparation.
Serve the tandoori chicken with a side of yogurt-based sauce, such as raita, which helps balance the spices and adds a cooling element. Raita is made with yogurt, cucumber, mint, and spices, providing probiotics and additional nutrients.
17. Chana masala (chickpea curry) with brown rice
Chana masala, a flavorful chickpea curry, is a nutritious and satisfying option in Indian cuisine. It is made with chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, and a blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber.
Pair the chana masala with brown rice, which is a whole grain that offers more fiber and nutrients compared to white rice. This combination provides a balanced meal with a good mix of carbohydrates and proteins.
18. Palak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese) with whole wheat naan
Palak paneer is a classic Indian dish that combines spinach and cottage cheese in a creamy and flavorful curry. Spinach is a nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable, rich in vitamins and minerals. Paneer, a type of Indian cottage cheese, adds protein and a creamy texture to the dish.
Enjoy palak paneer with whole wheat naan, a healthier alternative to traditional white naan. Whole wheat naan is made with whole grain flour, offering more fiber and nutrients. This combination provides a well-rounded meal with a balance of protein, vegetables, and whole grains.
When exploring Indian takeout options, focus on dishes that incorporate lean proteins, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains. These options allow you to enjoy the vibrant flavors of Indian cuisine while promoting a healthy and balanced diet.
Italian cuisine is beloved worldwide for its simplicity, fresh ingredients, and comforting flavors. While it may be known for pasta and pizza, there are several healthier options available. Here are three examples of the healthiest Italian takeout foods:
19. Grilled vegetable or chicken pasta with whole wheat noodles
For a healthier twist on traditional pasta dishes, opt for grilled vegetable or chicken pasta with whole wheat noodles. Grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes add a burst of flavor and provide essential vitamins and minerals. If you prefer a protein-rich option, grilled chicken can be added as well.
Whole wheat noodles offer more fiber and nutrients compared to refined flour pasta, making it a better choice for your overall health. Toss the ingredients in a light olive oil or tomato-based sauce, and sprinkle with fresh herbs for added flavor.
20. Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil
Caprese salad is a classic Italian dish that showcases the simplicity and freshness of Mediterranean ingredients. Layer slices of ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese on a plate. Top with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
This salad is not only visually appealing but also packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. It serves as a refreshing and light option for a healthy Italian takeout meal.
21. Minestrone soup with whole grain bread
Minestrone soup is a hearty and nutritious choice in Italian cuisine. It typically contains a variety of vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, zucchini, and tomatoes, combined with beans and whole grain pasta. This vegetable-packed soup provides a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Pair it with a slice of whole grain bread for a complete meal. The whole grain bread adds additional fiber and helps satisfy your hunger. Together, the minestrone soup and whole grain bread make for a comforting and nourishing Italian meal.
When selecting Italian takeout options, focus on dishes that incorporate plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and minimal use of heavy sauces and cheeses. These choices allow you to savor the flavors of Italy while making healthier food choices.
So, the next time you’re craving Italian cuisine, consider these healthier alternatives for a satisfying and wholesome dining experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to healthy takeout options, there are plenty of choices. One great option is a salad from a local restaurant or fast-food joint. Salads can be loaded with fresh vegetables and lean proteins like chicken or fish, making them a nutritious choice. Another good option is sushi, which typically includes vegetable and seafood options that are low in fat and calories.
Grilled sandwiches are also a great takeout option. Look for sandwiches made with whole grain breads and lean proteins like turkey or grilled chicken. Avoid high-fat condiments like mayonnaise and opt for healthier alternatives such as mustard or hummus instead.
Finally, consider ordering a soup or stew from an ethnic restaurant. Soups and stews often include plenty of nutrient-rich vegetables, as well as lean meats or beans for added protein. Just make sure to ask for the broth on the side so you can control how much sodium is in your meal.
When ordering Chinese takeout, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want to make sure your meal is healthy. First, opt for steamed dishes over fried ones. Steamed dishes are lower in fat and calories, which can help you stick to a healthy diet. Also, look for dishes that are made with lean proteins such as chicken or tofu.
Avoid dishes that include pork or beef as these tend to be higher in saturated fat and cholesterol.
When it comes to sauces, ask for them on the side so that you can control how much of them you use. Many Chinese takeout dishes come with sauces that contain added sugar and sodium, so limiting your portion size is key for a healthy meal.
Finally, try to order at least one vegetable dish since vegetables are full of essential vitamins and minerals.
By following these tips when ordering Chinese takeout, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal!
When eating out, the healthiest food option is usually something that is cooked without added fat or salt. Examples of healthy meals include grilled fish or chicken with a side of vegetables, a salad with lean protein, or a veggie wrap.
When selecting a restaurant to eat out at, it’s important to look for one that offers fresh and nutritious ingredients. Many restaurants now offer dishes made from organic and locally-sourced ingredients, which are healthier than processed foods. It’s also important to check the menu for items that are low in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.
It’s also helpful to ask your server about how dishes are prepared. Many restaurants are willing to customize dishes by omitting certain ingredients or substituting healthier options such as olive oil instead of butter. By making smart choices when eating out, you can enjoy delicious meals while still following a healthy diet.
KFC is not considered a particularly healthy option. Many of their menu items are high in calories, fat, and sodium. For example, the Original Recipe Chicken contains 370 calories and 19 grams of fat per piece. The Extra Crispy Chicken contains 420 calories and 24 grams of fat per piece.
Also, many of their sides are high in sodium. A single serving of mashed potatoes with gravy contains 890 milligrams of sodium.
When it comes to healthy eating, KFC does offer some options such as grilled chicken and salads. However, these options are still relatively high in calories and sodium compared to other fast food restaurants.
Overall, KFC is not the healthiest choice when it comes to fast food. If you’re looking for a healthier option, consider choosing grilled chicken or a salad instead of fried chicken and opt for lower-sodium sides like green beans or corn on the cob.
In making choices for healthiest takeout foods, it’s crucial to consider the ingredients, preparation methods, and portion sizes. By opting for dishes that incorporate lean proteins, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lighter sauces, you can enjoy the flavors of various cuisines while prioritizing your well-being.
It’s important to remember that making informed choices when ordering takeout is just one aspect of maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It’s also essential to incorporate regular exercise, stay hydrated, and prioritize whole, unprocessed foods in your everyday meals. By adopting a holistic approach to your well-being, you can enjoy the occasional takeout while still nourishing your body.
So, the next time you decide to order takeout, keep these healthier options in mind and make choices that align with your overall health goals.