While the best way to guarantee you're eating good, healthy meals is to make your food yourself, even seasoned home chefs need a little time off here and there. Also, there's something that feels so, so good about bypassing your kitchen for the night and letting someone else cook for you.
You're not the only one leaning into takeout lately. More than 65% of people are ordering in on the regular, according to data from the National Restaurant Association.
Of course, there's a huge range of options with takeout, from the super healthy to the not-so-great, with plenty in between. "Takeout can be surprisingly healthy or it can be overloaded with fat, salt and calories," Nutritionist Karen Ansel, RD, co-author of The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life, tells Health. "The key is to have a go-to rotation of dishes you know are good for you and delicious rather than just winging it."
Ordering takeout can even up your healthy eating game. "Despite its bad reputation, take out can also be a great opportunity to eat more healthy foods that you just don't have the time or the motivation to cook for yourself," Ansel says.
While every restaurant and cuisine is different, you generally want to make sure your takeout includes some produce—ideally a few different types—and has minimal dressings and sauces that run the risk of adding calories, fat, and sodium, Sonya Angelone, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Health. "Choose protein and vegetable dishes, and limit extra carbs, since you may get enough carbs during the day already," she advises.
Don't feel like analyzing the menu every time you want to order takeout? Nutritionists swear these are the healthiest takeout orders to go for, no matter what cuisine you're into.
Healthy-Takeout-Mexican-Veggie-bowl-AdobeStock_140968979 for more fiber and micronutrients," she says.
Healthy-Takeout-Greek-Hummus-Bowls-AdobeStock_140662252 , there are a few health traps in this cuisine. Order these dishes to avoid them.
There's plenty to love in this dish of ground-up chick peas mixed with tahini. Hummus provides "a dose of plant-based protein, fiber, and healthy fat," Angelone says. Enjoy yours with fresh veggies or a whole wheat pita.
This yummy salad features bread pieces and tons of greens—and it's healthier than some of its counterparts. "A Fattoush salad is a better option than a Greek salad, which is loaded with cheese and olives," Angelone says. She recommends enjoying yours with a vinegar dressing to save even more calories.