It’s been the fall-down of many a dieter - that oh-so bad for you kebab, curry or Kung Pao Chicken. You know takeaways aren’t good for you. You don’t even want to hear about the saturated fat. It’s all pretty depressing when you’re trying to stick to your health kick.
But here’s the thing - most people fail in their fitness efforts by going in hard and completely banning any and all kinds of junk food. So don’t be depriving yourself of those every-so-often treats. Everything in moderation - weight loss, junk food, working out - that’s the key to success.
With that in mind, we want to run you through some of the worst and best choices you could make once you reach the front of the queue at your local takeaway.
The Bad - Big Mac
Calories: 508 (25% RDA)
Fat: 25g (36% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 9.5g (47% RDA)
Salt: 2.3g (29% RDA)
The Better - The Fiery Buffalo Grilled Chicken One
Calories: 339 (17% RDA)
Fat: 8.8g (13% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 3.9g (20% RDA)
Salt: 1.8g (29% RDA)
The Ultra-Good - Grilled Chicken and Bacon Salad
Calories: 184 (9% RDA)
Fat: 7.4g (11% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 2g (10% RDA)
Salt: 3.4g (4% RDA)
The Bad - The Zinger Stacker
Calories: 780 (39% RDA)
Fat: 37.7g (67% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 7.3g (56.15% RDA)
Salt: 4.29g (71.5% RDA)
The Better - Zinger Ricebox
Calories: 480 (24% RDA)
Fat: 2.71g (30% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 2.71g (17% RDA)
Salt: 2.71g (45.17% RDA)
The Ultra-Good - Streetwise® Flamin' Wrap
Calories: 335 (17% RDA)
Fat: 14.9g (30% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 2.2g (17% RDA)
Salt: 1.8g (26.5% RDA)
All figures are per slice…
The Bad - Americano - Classic Crust
Calories: 353 (17.65% RDA)
Fat: 11.6g (23.2% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 5.6g (43.08% RDA)
Salt: 1.99g (33.17% RDA)
The Better - Delight Vegi
Calories: 201 (10.05% RDA)
Fat: 4.4g (8.8% RDA)
Saturated Fat: 1.9g (14.62% RDA)
Salt: 1.03g (17.7% RDA)
Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Because curry houses are different in terms of what, exactly, they put into their dishes and in what quantity, it’s difficult to pin-down figures for each of the nutritional values as we have above for national takeaway chains.
That said, we can provide rough calorie counts for the following curries…
Chick Korma: 870 calories
Chicken Dhansak: 720 calories
Lamb Bhuna: 680 calories
Tandoori Chicken: 300 calories
Aloo Gabi: 350 calories
In short, the creamy curries are the worst offenders (think korma and masala), while curries that are drier and that have little to no sauce are the better options (like tandoori, tikka or bhuna).
We can also say with certainty that plain white rice has around 370 calories per portion. By comparison pilau rice comes in at a chart-topping 650, because of the oil added to it.
Again, it’s tough to provide exact nutritional values, but here’s a summary of a few main Chinese dishes in terms of their calorie count…
Crispy Fried Chicken (1 cup): 485 calories
Beef Chow Mein (1 cup): 420 calories
Sweet and Sour Pork (1 cup): 316 calories
Chicken and Broccoli (1 cup): 280 calories
And again, go for plain white fried rice. To finish up, bear in mind that that fortune cookie will add an extra 25 calories to your meal.
We end with the quintessential British takeaway - the beloved chippy. There’s nothing quite like thick-cut fried chips from the staple of the UK high street.
Here’s what your Wednesday night chippy tea will cost you in terms of calories (and remember; a 180-pound person running a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes burns around 408 calories).
Fish and Chips with Curry Sauce: 900 calories
Battered Jumbo Sausage: 400 calories
Chicken Kebab Meat and Chips: 498 calories
Chips - Small Tray: 397 calories
Chicken Kebab - Small with Salad: 350 calories
50/50 Mixed Chicken & Donna Kebab - Meat Only: 275 calories
The count is in and the healthiest takeaway is…
From the takeaway dishes featured on our list, the McDonald’s salad is the clear winner, coming in with 189 calories. But what’s that, we hear you cry - “A salad isn’t a takeaway?!”.
We couldn’t agree more. Our best advice is to simply be mindful of what you’re eating when eating out. The real problem with take-out is how the calorie count can take you by surprise. So just be aware, and make it a once weekly treat (or a treat followed up with a tough workout the following day).
It’s Friday! And for some people that means take-out tonight! So what’s your go-to? Something healthy? Something indulgent? Go on and let us know using the hashtag #ProworksFitness - we won’t judge!