Takeaway the healthy(ish) way.

I work nights at a cinema, which means that I often have to throw dinner together quickly so that I can eat and get out the door by 5pm (or pack dinner to take with me if it’s a longer shift). This is why I try to keep a few dinner staples ready to go in the fridge – roast veggies that I can chuck into a sandwich, for example, or leftover prawns in enchilada sauce (love that stuff) that I can wrap in a tortilla with some salad. It doesn’t always work out that way, though. The other day I was caught out with no particularly appetising combinations of food in the house (carrot sticks and pesto for dinner, anyone?) so I had to dash out in my dinner break and buy food. Unfortunately, Chat For Tea (my usual semi-healthy takeaway of choice) was closed for the holidays so it was woodfired pizza all the way! Oh, what a shame. I doubt it’s news to anyone that takeaway pizza is not particularly nutritious, and I do tend to avoid it (especially the overly processed pizzas from Dominos and Pizza Hut) as much as possible. Thankfully, woodfired pizzas tend to have thinner crusts (reducing the amount of refined carbs), use less oil, and have somewhat healthier toppings. They’re still not great, but sometimes a girl just has to have some pizza, okay? Shh. Don’t judge.

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This is how I made my impromptu pizza dinner slightly less calorific. Remember the Rule of Quarters? All you have to do is slap some salad (or veggies) down onto half of your plate. It’s not perfect (that pizza is mostly carbohydrate, with a leetle bit of protein – the goat’s cheese and, as far as I can see, one pine nut – plus a smidgeon of veg) but it’s much better than just eating a pizza on its own. This way, I was full after eating 1/3 of the pizza, so it lasted me three meals all up. Healthy and thrifty.

This works well with all manner of takeaway foods. Chinese/Indian? Do up a quick salad or some steamed/roasted veggies to fill half your plate, make your own brown rice or quinoa (way cheaper than buying it takeaway) to fill another quarter, and then korma it up on the remaining quarter. I’ve even done it at restaurants: once, I was super keen to try some chicken and beetroot arancini balls from the tapas part of the menu, so I ordered a full-size garden salad (no dressing) and then popped the arancini balls on top. The concept is the same: fill up on salad, appreciate every bite of the not-so-healthy food.

Happy takeawaying!

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