Week Three

This week, Professor Ashley Adamson turns her attention to takeaways and offers some great tips on dishes to order - and those to avoid.

How often do we, as a nation, eat takeaways?

It's estimated that 22% of people in UK have a takeaway at least once a week.

How often do you eat takeaways and what is your favourite takeaway?

Absolutely honestly, I very rarely do. I’m trying to think back to the last time I had a takeaway... probably fish and chips at the seaside about 4 months ago. If it’s Friday night and something quick and easy is needed, then I’ll go to my supermarket and pick up a ready meal - Indian or Thai - and use the front of the packets to help determine which options are the healthier options.

I love pizza, Indian and Thai food. I usually make my own pizza then I know what’s in it - it’s a Saturday night tradition in my family.

If I order a takeaway pizza, I will always ask them to put on half the amount of cheese they ordinarily put on - there is usually just too much. Feel free to ask for less cheese and more vegetables chunks, and they should adapt that for you. Don’t be afraid to ask them to adapt the options on the menu.

What are the healthy options when eating a takeaway? – how can we reduce our calorie intake?

Chinese: Anything that’s battered or marked as 'crispy' on the menu means it’s deep fried. Watch out for starters such as prawn crackers and spring rolls because these are generally deep fried, and sweet and sour pork is usually battered. Steamed dishes are the best option, but stir-fries are fine because they're usually lower in fat and include vegetables.

Try to avoid: sweet and sour battered pork balls with special or egg fried rice, prawn toast, spring rolls.

Healthier options: crab and corn soup, ramen soup noodle bowls, steamed dumplings, steamed vegetables and plain boiled rice, steamed fish, chicken chop suey, Szechuan prawns.

Indian: Try to avoid anything that’s creamy or deep fried. To reduce the amount of fat in your meal, choose dishes with tomato-based sauces, such as tandoori and madras, plain rice or chapatti. Also choose plenty of vegetables, including lentil side dishes (known as dhal).

Try to avoid: any creamy curries such as korma, passanda or masala with pilau rice, naan, bhajis, pakoras and poppadoms.

Healthier options: tandoori or madras with chicken, prawns or vegetables, plain rice and chapatti.

Kebabs and burgers: Donor kebabs can be high in fat. For a healthier option, go for a shish kebab, which is a skewer with whole cuts of meat or fish and usually grilled.

If you’re having a burger, avoid breaded or battered chicken or fish patties, extra cheese, bacon strips and high-fat sauces such as mayonnaise.

Try to avoid: large doner kebabs with mayonnaise and no salad, burgers with cheese and mayonnaise, thin-cut chips, chicken or fish patties deep fried in batter.

Healthier options: shish kebab with pitta bread and salad, grilled burgers made from lean fish or meat (beef or whole chicken breast) and without cheese and mayonnaise.