Thursday, January 31, 2008

Make Take-Out Healthier: Dishes To Order and Avoid....


We're all so busy these days, sometimes take-out is the only way dinner gets on the table. But you don't want to sacrifice your health -- or your waistline -- in the process. Here are the top foods to avoid and to order to stay in shape in times of take-out. Damn, I’ve got to stay away from the pepperonis. Sigh!


Mexican

Bad Guys
Sour cream - Let's be honest, it's pretty tasteless. And it has over three times the fat content of vanilla ice cream! If you must have something creamy, try a little guac for a healthier alternative. (It's still full of fat, but at least it's monounsaturated.) Chorizo - Eleven grams of fat per ounce, four of them saturated. Yikes! Chips - Can you really eat just one? Didn't think so.

Good Guys
Grilled fish - Say hola to this low-fat, heart-healthy choice. Salsa - Not only is it fat-free, but one-half cup of it also counts as a full serving of veggies. Grilled chicken fajitas - Skip the tortillas and you're really being virtuous.


Italian

Bad Guys
Fried calamari - Would you eat a heaping plate of donuts right before dinner? Deep-six the deep-fried. Alfredo sauce - Instant food coma alert: One serving can contain over 30 grams of fat! Are you really going to want a whole plate of something that heavy? Garlic bread - Take the empty calories of white bread and add a little garlic and a lot of butter and what do you get? A little fatter than you were before you ordered it.

Good Guys
Marinara sauce - Packed with flavor and the antioxidant lycopene -- and virtually fat-free. Parmesan cheese - Add a lot of flavor at just over a gram of fat per tablespoon. Prosciutto or carpaccio - These super-thin sliced meats (ham and raw beef, respectively) are leaner than you think.


Sushi

Bad Guys
Tempura - A pretty way to say deep-fried. Yellowfin and bluefin tuna - Steer clear of these sky-high mercury-level fishes. Spicy tuna roll - Packed with mayo, which is packed with fat. And it's high in mercury.

Good Guys
Sashimi - Riceless fish. You can't get much better than that. Just stay away from tuna (high mercury) and eel (high fat and calories). Cucumber roll - At zero grams of fat and 136 calories, now you're talking. Miso soup - Like yogurt, miso promotes good bacteria in the body as well as being low in fat and calories.


Chinese

Bad Guys
Sweet and sour pork - Keep your fork away from this pork -- a typical serving contains twice as much fat as in a quarter-pounder. Fried rice - The word fried is right in the name, so don't be surprised when it shows up drenched in oil -- and calories. General Tso's chicken - Almost 900 calories and 40 grams of fat per serving? Just say no to General Tso!

Good Guys
Steamed or lightly stir-fried veggies - Keep it simple, keep it healthy. Steamed brown rice - Fat-free and sodium-free fiber boost. Chopsticks - They'll make you eat more slowly so you get the chance to feel full. Fortune cookies - A sweet fat-free treat for only 30 calories.


Pizza

Bad Guys
Pepperoni - Want to save three grams of fat per serving? Then skip the pepperoni. Extra cheese - High in saturated fat and sodium. If you want to have something extra on your pizza, how about extra veggies or extra red pepper flakes? Deep dish - Are you having dinner or going into hibernation?

Good Guys
Cheese-free pizza - Delicious on its own, or add your own Parmesan at home for a lower-fat alternative to traditional pies. Thin crust - Fewer calories, fewer empty carbs. Extra napkins - Use them to pat the pizza dry, absorbing excess oil (read: fat) from the cheese.


Indian

Bad Guys
Mango chutney - This unassuming Indian mainstay packs 60 calories per tablespoon. Chicken korma - You knew the creamy goodness couldn’t be light on your hips, but did you know it could be almost 900 calories a serving? Samosas and naan - They may seem like little nibbles, but a serving of each adds up to the nutritional cost of an average meal. Try ordering roti, a smaller round bread, instead.

Good Guys
Tandoori chicken - The quintessential Indian dish is only 300 calories a serving. Filling and fantastic. Daal - Lentil dishes are high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants and low in calories. Aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower curry) - A great choice at 300 calories. Veggie curries taste just as good as the lamb and beef versions but pack half as many calories.

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