While cooking your own meals is a great way to focus on health, sometimes the convenience of takeout wins. However, takeout foods aren’t notorious for being healthy choices. With a few simple swaps, you can turn your takeout into a healthy meal that will leave you feeling satisfied without feeling sluggish.

Here are a few tips for upgrading your takeout:

1. Serve up proper portions

Just like when you go out to eat at your favorite restaurant, the portion you’re given for takeout may be far larger than one serving. Take a moment and plate it, so you eat enough to feel satisfied without mindlessly overeating. As a side bonus, you’ll have another portion to enjoy tomorrow for lunch. Filling half of your plate with a fresh salad before adding your main course is a great way to keep portions in check without measuring.

2. Choose more veggies

Make sure you get the right amount of vegetables on your plate, too. Even if you’re ordering a burger, you can load it up with veggie toppings and choose a side salad as your side. Ordering pizza? Top it with veggies and order a side salad to eat before you dive into a slice. There are tons of ways to incorporate more vegetables into your takeout meals.

takeout meal sauce on side

3. Supplement with something from your fridge

While ordering takeout can be a quick and convenient way to get a meal, it can also be expensive. One way to save money (and not waste your groceries!) is to supplement your takeout order with something from your fridge. For example, if you’re ordering takeout, you could add a side of steamed broccoli or roasted Brussels sprouts. Adding a few items from your fridge can stretch your takeout budget and get more bang for your buck.

4. Choose healthy cooking methods

Restaurant foods can be loaded with more sodium than you need. Prioritize steamed, baked, or sauteed options over fried dishes, and pick lean proteins when you can. Along with more veggies, this will make you feel good after your takeout food choices.

5. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side

When ordering takeout, it is always best to ask for sauces and dressings on the side. This way, you can control how much of each you want to add to your meal. Too much sauce or dressing can easily make a dish too heavy or soggy. By asking for them on the side, you can add just the right amount to suit your taste.

Above all, don’t punish yourself for ordering takeout. When you make mindful choices, it can still be healthy. Plus, taking a break from the kitchen is a smart way to stay motivated and inspire creativity in the kitchen.

Having indulgences here and there is a good way to keep from binging, too, so allow yourself to truly enjoy those special takeout moments from time to time.

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