It’s so important to support our local restaurants now, as so many are struggling. And it sure is nice to have a break from cooking sometimes. But doing takeout regularly can certainly sabotage your healthy eating goals. Registered Dietician, Ellie Krieger shares some tips on how to keep takeout healthier:
- Consider making a simple side salad at home to go with your store-bought entrée. This way you avoid heavy sides or fried apps, and have a better overall balance to your meal. If you really don’t want to make anything, opt for the simplest vegetable side or starter salad the restaurant offers.
- Get two for one: restaurant portions are much larger than homemade portions as a rule, and much more than you probably need for one meal. For your health and your budget, put half of the take-out portion on a plate and enjoy it that night, and save the rest for lunch or dinner the next day.
- Don’t’ order hungry. It’s easy to order like it’s your last meal ever when you are famished as you look at the menu. And ordering too much means eating too much. If you know ahead of time where you will be taking out from, go online to look at the menu and choose what you want before your appetite is raging (maybe right after lunch that day). This way, you are more likely to order what you really want and need.
Check out Ellie’s go-to recipes below! This pantry staple is a quick and easy item that is packed with high-protein, low-calorie, and will elevate a recipe.
Pasta Salad with Tuna, White Beans and Vegetables
Servings: 4 – 6
- One 12-ounce can or two 5-ounce cans Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
- 8 ounces rotini pasta or a similar shape, regular or whole grain
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, or 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 medium yellow, orange or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain, then transfer the pasta to a large shallow dish, toss with 1 teaspoon of the oil, and allow it to cool completely.
- In a small bowl whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl toss together the pasta, tomatoes, bell pepper, beans and onions. Add the Tuna and the dressing and toss gently to combine. Season with additional salt to taste.
Notes: The pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days.
Per Serving (based on 6 servings): Calories 320; Total Fat 10g; (Sat Fat 1.5g); Protein 18g; Carb 41g; Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 430mg; Total Sugar 3g (Added Sugar 0g)
- One 12 ounce can or Two 5-ounce cans of Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Water, drained
- ½ cup packed shredded Monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese (2 ounces)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 4 whole wheat tortillas (8-inches in diameter)
- 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- ½ cup jarred salsa, optional
- 1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, optional
- In a medium bowl toss together the Tuna, cheese, scallions, cilantro, and the lime juice.
- Lay the tortillas onto a work surface and mound a quarter of the tuna mixture (about ½ cup) onto half of each tortilla. Pile ½ cup of the spinach on top of each. Fold other half of the tortilla over the filling to create a half moon.
- Brush a medium non-stick or cast iron skillet with half of the oil and heat it over a medium-high heat. Put two quesadillas into the skillet and weigh them down with a kettle or plate with a heavy can on top. Cook until the quesadillas are golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melting, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining two quesadillas in same manner.
- Cut the warm quesadillas into wedges and serve with salsa and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream alongside if desired.
Per Serving (1 Quesadilla): Calories 240; Total Fat 9g; (Sat Fat 3.5g); Protein 22g; Carb 20g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 650mg; Total Sugar 3g (Added Sugar 0g)