Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ordering Takeout the Healthy Way! PART I

Is that even possible!?! YES!!

You don't have the time or you simply don't want to cook or do the dishes, but you still want to eat healthy... so what do you do?!?  Ordering takeout might not be as healthy as cooking at home, but it doesn't have to be unhealthy either.  There are some great options out there, you just have to know how to "work the menu."

Things have been really busy for Sam and I, and we have had to resort to getting lunch/dinner to-go several times in the past few weeks.  So I wanted to share with you some of these on-the-go lunch/dinner ideas.  Where I live, there isn't an abundance of those awesome, local healthy places like in Austin, TX or California, so I'm going to touch on some more of the popular restaurants out there.  If there is a specific restaurant that are wondering about, then ask away!! 

First, I have mentioned Spiral Diner before (a local vegan restaurant), and that is probably one of our favorite places to order brunch/lunch/dinner... Chopped "BBQ" Salad and Chicken-less Salad Sandwich are SOO good! You know it's good if my Dad even likes the Chopped "BBQ" Sandwich made with seitan (a meat substitute), and had no idea that it wasn't even real meat, he loved it.  Oh, and did I mention that they serve biscuits & gravy for brunch... ahh, my childhood favorite!

Okay, so let's get to the list!

One reason I love Chipotle is that they support local farmers and try to use local, organic produce whenever possible.  They call it... Food With Integrity.  Here are the options...

1.  Salad Bowl with mixed veggies, a little rice, black beans, salsa, guacamole.
2.  Tacos with corn tortillas, mixed veggies, black beans, salsa, guacamole.  I sometimes ask for a little rice in one of the tacos.
3.  Burrito with mixed veggies, black beans, salsa, guacamole, a little rice.  I don't usually get the burrito because that's just too much food for me, but Sam gets it.

Pizza/ Italian Restaurants
We have a billion Joe's Pasta & Pizza in TX.

1.  Veggie Pizza with NO CHEESE.  You can do a marinara sauce or pesto sauce if they have it, and just ask for all of their veggies. Here are some of my favorite topping ideas: spinach, mushrooms, bell peppers, pine nuts, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, and onions.  

You would be surprised at how flavorful a pizza tastes even without cheese, and eventually you may find that you don't even need cheese on your pizza (my parents did! way to go Mom & Dad!).  I have found that many places don't mind at all when you ask for no cheese.  Most places put A TON of cheese on the pizza to where you can't even taste the toppings, so a good general rule is... if you can't control the ingredients like you can at home, then just ask to have your meal without it or on the side. In this case, it's without the cheese, but sometimes it pays off to ask for your salad dressing on the side; otherwise, you end up with a soggy salad soaked in salad dressing. 

2.  Pasta with any veggies and garlic and olive oil or marinara as the sauce, instead of the creamy or buttery sauces.  I find that "Pasta Primavera" is an option that is on most menus, and I just ask for an olive oil sauce and no cheese.  It's as simply as that! 

Sushi/ Asian Restaurants
You can always count on an Asian Restaurant to have many healthy options!

1. Seaweed Salad.  This sounds gross but so good and good for you! The Health Benefits of Seaweed 
2. Miso Soup.  The Health Benefits of Miso... such as "Miso's Minerals Support Immune Function, Energy Production, Bones and Blood Vessels." I LOVE miso soup!
3. Edamame What Exactly is Edamame & it's Health Benefits?
4. Veggie Stir Fry with brown rice if they have it.  You can ask for some tofu if you want the extra protein.
5.  Vegetable Roll. Usually they have some sort of veggie roll, or you can just ask them to make one up for you.  They are usually very accommodating.
6.  Sushi Salmon (rice underneath the raw piece of salmon) or Nori Salmon (no rice, just a slice of raw salmon).

I know right now you're saying... WAIT! Salmon?? I thought you ate a vegan diet!?? Well, I do about 99% of the time.  I love sushi salmon, but I just eat like 2-3 pieces, and I'm good.  Or like this weekend, I just had to have a few bites of wedding cake.  I don't deprive myself of tasting or experiencing something... that's just too restricting.  If someone told me, "You have to try this it's the best burger IN THE WORLD"... then I would take a bite or two or three.  You gotta live life. :-)

Quiznos/ Subway/ Potbellys/ Any Deli 

1.  "Salad" Sub.  Wheat Bread (If you are watching the carbs, ask them to hollow out the inside of the bread.) all the veggies like lettuce, tomato, avocado (adds the creaminess so no need for cheese or mayo), pickles, cucumbers, bell peppers, black olives, alfalfa sprouts, mushrooms, jalapenos, and, if they have them, sunflower seeds!  Condiment Options: any kind of mustard or olive oil and vinegar.
2.  A wrap with the above ingredients.
3.  Just a plain ole salad with all the veggies, nuts, and any of the dressings just mentioned ON THE SIDE so you can control the quantity.
4.  At Jimmy Johns, you can get any sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead of on bread.  It's called the Unwich.  I usually get the #13 Gourmet Veggie Club with no cheese and no mayo, instead I get dijon mustard on 7 whole grain wheat bread or as an unwhich.

So there you have it! Some HEALTHY options for a quick lunch or dinner!  Hopefully, this list will hold you over until my next post (Part II), which will have many more ideas for you!

I hope you had a great weekend!  I had a busy weekend.  We had a wedding and there was lots of studying for my 3rd CPA Exam, which I took yesterday.  3 Down, 1 more to go!  I'm looking forward to rewarding myself with this week of NO studying... just some fun work outs, relaxation, closet and apartment organizing (meh), cooking, going out with friends, blogging, tweeting, etc.

Well, I will chat with you soon for Part II!  Have a terrific Tuesday!

With Love, Health, and Happiness,

Question of the Day: What do you usually do when you need a quick lunch or dinner? Or when you go out to eat with your co-workers for lunch and want to keep it healthy? 

Weekend Wedding Pics
Congrats Cassie & Ryan!!

Steph, Cassie, Me

Me & Sam

Sara & Me

Fun night! 


Jen said...

Quick meal favs are: Panera & Whole Foods Salad bar (although a trip in there isn't that speedy bc I typically wander around the baked goods section for awhile lol).

Funny that you put Chipotle because that used to be the most unhealthy place for me (I had to limit myself to a burrito a week haha). Nowadays I'm satisfied w/ a taco & chips & guac yumm!

Michelle said...

Eating vegetarian/vegan going out can be daunting sometimes for me. Especially in downtown when co-workers want to eat out. Corner Bakery has salad and sandwhich options you could modify and then Reata has an amazing vegtable plate but some of the veggies are soaked in butter. I've found that like you said above, Asian restaurants and even Mexican food places have the most options :)

Cami said...

Jen~ I love Whole Foods Salad Bar and Central Market is good too. I am actually blogging about that in Part II of this post! Oh, and I do the exact same thing... wander around for forever trying to make a decision... there are just too many good options to choose from!

Michelle~ I didn't know that Reata has a veggie plate, good to know! Many places usually soak the veggies in butter (sad right!?!), but I usually ask if they could just use olive oil or steam them, and it's usually not a problem. Yes, Asian is always easy and Mexican too, I will be blogging about Mexican in Part II!

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