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Healthy takeaway guide

15th September 2020

Written by Deeni Betar-Young (accredited practising dietitian, accredited nutritionist)

Are you finding yourself ordering more takeaway since the pandemic restrictions started? For most people, ordering in has become an exciting event since we've been tucked away at home without much else on our social calendars. Particularly when considering MS and its complications, it can be very helpful to have takeaway as an option to fall back on when making dinner is the last thing you want to have to think about.

Often when we think of takeaway, we think 'unhealthy'. But what if a takeaway meal could be balanced and nutritious, and make up part of a healthy diet for MS if eaten regularly? These days, more than ever, it can be easy to make healthy takeaway choices if we know what to look for.

Firstly, when it comes to finding healthy menu options, choosing foods closer to their whole, unprocessed form means you're more likely to make a healthier choice. Going for meals rich in a variety of vegetables with oily fish, beans/lentils and wholegrains is ideal. These foods provide anti-inflammatory benefits, aid digestion, give a sustained energy release and encourage a healthy gut microbiome, all of which are important when it comes to managing MS.

So, what can we choose when we want to order in but also want to make a healthier choice? Here are some of the most nutritious options out there.

Mexican

Wholegrain tortilla burritos or burrito bowls* with beans and lots of veg (hold the cheese and sour cream)

Japanese/sushi

Edamame, sashimi, vegetable/salmon/tuna/prawn/egg sushi* (brown rice if available), steamed gyoza (dumplings) or seaweed salad

Vietnamese
Prawn/tofu cold rolls*, bun bowl, pho soup or goi salad (without crackers)

Indian
Rice or roti bread with tomato-based curries like dahl and vindaloo, aloo gobi, palak paneer, tikka or tandoori

Fish/chicken and chips
Grilled fish* with non-creamy salads (greek, garden, lentil) instead of chips

Baked potato
Sweet potato stuffed with coleslaw, beetroot, salad, beans*, chicken, Greek yogurt and a little cheese on top

Middle Eastern
Tabbouli, fattoush and Lebanese pita with some hummus, baba ghanoush and pickled vegetables

Italian
Thin-crust vegetable pizza, minestrone soup, chicken cacciatore or tomato-based pasta dishes

*Overcoming MS diet friendly

Sure-fire healthy orders

Zambrero
Burrito bowl with pinto beans, veg, spiced cauliflower, black rice and guacamole

Subway
Chicken strips, veggie patty, chicken pesto or vegie delite filling on malted rye bread or a gluten-free or multigrain wrap

Dominos
Spicy veg trio, avocado veg or vegorama

Soonta
Bun/rice/salad bowl with tofu and mushroom
Katsu chicken and a soy sauce, fish sauce or vinegar dressing (optional side dish of edamame)

On the 'Overcoming MS' diet?
Zambrero: burrito bowl without cauliflower (contains oil)
Subway: vegie delite (add avocado for creaminess)

Dominos: pizzas without cheese
Soonta: bowl with edamame as the filling

Avoiding grains or paleo?
Zambrero: chicken or cauliflower burrito bowl (no rice or beans)
Subway: chicken strips, chicken pesto or vegie delite salad
Soonta: kaatsu chicken salad bowl

Takeaway tips

  • Don't be afraid to ask for alterations to your order. Most places are often happy to cater for you.
  • Add your own or order a side dish of vegetables or salad and halve the main meal (enjoy the other half the next day).
  • If you're ordering dessert, try sharing it to reduce overeating.
  • Snack on vegetable sticks while you're waiting for the takeaway.
  • Plate the takeaway rather than eating it out of the container – this gives us a better idea of how much we will need compared to our usual portion sizes.
  • If you've got more than you need for one meal, put the rest in the fridge before you begin eating to avoid being tempted to finish it all.
  • Opt for plain or sparkling water with your meal, and if you choose to drink alcohol try alternating sips of alcoholic drinks and water.
  • Eat until you're satisfied, rather than full.
  • If you choose to have dessert, assess beforehand whether you have room for it and if not consider refrigerating it for another time.

And the most important point… enjoy and savour your meal! It's not every day that we get to take a break from food prep and enjoy chef-made meals of our choosing. Shovelling your meal down because you feel guilty for getting takeaway or are over-excited about it, won't get you feeling anywhere near as satisfied and content as eating it mindfully will. Turn the TV off and set the table as if you were dining out. Candles, placemats and maybe even some ambient music will all make for a more enjoyable mealtime (even if it's only for you). Pay attention to how the food looks and all of the flavours, textures and smells you notice. Be grateful for the opportunity to be eating your meal!

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Healthy takeaway guide