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How to Makeover Your Take-Out Order

It’s Wednesday night. You left work later than usual, and now you’re utterly exhausted. The last thing that sounds appealing is having to prepare any sort of dinner for yourself (you haven’t been to the market in days, anyway) and yet, you’re ravenous. So what do you do? Well, if you’re like me, you immediately start running through take-out menus in your head. Take-out is one of the most convenient things out there. You can pretty much eat whatever your little heart desires, without lifting a finger (except to use a fork). Unfortunately, many of the take-out options are somewhat lacking in the health department. It’s usually something greasy and salty, with minimal vegetables and an abundance of carbohydrates and rich sauces. However, there are a few “take-out hacks”, if you will, that can help to make that last minute meal a bit more nutritious:

#1: Pizza

Ah, the tried-and-true classic. Really, what could be better? Bread. Sauce. Cheese. Some sort of cured meat... It’s pretty much my ideal meal all packed onto one convenient slice. But a slice of pizza (and really, who eats just one?) can run you about three hundred calories and upwards of six hundred mg of sodium. This isn’t to say that pizza can’t pack a nutritious punch, though- step one: order a thin crust. Step two: swap out pepperoni for canadian ham. Step three: ask them to go light on the cheese. Step four: throw a ton of veggies (mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, spinach) on top.

#2: Chinese Food

It’s a deliciously greasy classic. Fried noodles, a plethora of meats to choose from, lots of sodium-laden sauces, possibly some white rice to wash it all down with- what’s not to love? Well, the amount of artery-clogging hydrogenated fat that you may be consuming with those little white containers full of lo-mein, orange chicken, and egg rolls isn’t exactly awesome. Fear not, though, because there are healthier options on your Chinese take-out menu. Opt for the veggie lo-mein (ask for extra veggies) as opposed to the chicken lo-mein, and order the kung pao chicken (which normally doesn’t use fried chicken).

#3: Mexican Food

I am not afraid of a gigantic burrito. I can inhale one that is stuffed to the brim with beans, rice, cheese, carne asada, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream in one sitting, no problem. And I’m not saying I’m proud of it. However, there are some healthier options on your local taqueria’s menu. Opt for chicken tacos served on soft corn tortillas instead of the fried shells, and go easy on the chips and salsa.

 

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