Rethink Takeout This New Year

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Happy New Year’s Eve after weeks of family time you may be really wanting to order out. Ordering takeout often feels like the easiest, most convenient option on a busy weeknight when preparing a meal at home feels insurmountable–especially after a big week of holiday cooking. Don’t worry we are not telling you to ditch the occasional takeout run. It is important to keep in mind that nearly all restaurant food is too salty but if you look closely, you can find dishes that aren’t full of cheese, red meat, sugar, or half a day’s calories. Making small changes to the way we order meals can improve the nutritional quality of the meal without sacrificing convenience or taste.

Tips to rethink takeout

  • Stick to one starch. The default is often double refined carbs like a hamburger and fries. Go with your favorite starch and try to make it a whole grain.
  • Replace red meat. Get poultry, seafood, or beans. Also, look for the words grilled, steamed, lightly sautéed, baked and roasted on the menu.
  • Load up on vegetables. Choose vegetable-based side dishes, pile vegetables onto your burrito bowl and don’t be afraid to try a vegetarian meal!
  • Mind the sodium. Nearly all food served in restaurants is too salty. More vegetables can help counter the sodium in other items.
  • Dressing on the side. Ask for any dressings, oil, butter, or sauces on the side so that you can choose how much you add to your dish.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Portion sizes are scaling up. Today’s “medium” is often yesterday’s “extra-large.” Share your meal with a friend or family member. Set aside half of your entree to save for another meal before you begin eating.
  • Make water your beverage of choice. It is easy to forget about the sneaky calories in sugar-sweetened or alcoholic beverages.

For more ideas on choosing healthier options when eating out, go to our  Website or contact Mary Morris at 252-482-6585 or email

For more ideas on choosing healthier options when eating out, check out these resources:

Dine in or take out: Order well at any restaurant

Fast Food Survival Guide