7 Tips for Ordering Healthy Takeout Online
Seven of the biggest hurdles to ordering food online—and expert tips to beat them
Ordering food for delivery online is often more convenient...and calorie-dense.
Last year, the online food delivery service Seamless served more than $400 million in orders—and GrubHub, another popular site, has found that those online orders tend to peak on the weekends, according to a spokesperson. Clearly Americans are more comfortable asking for their dressing on the side online (and other ordering quirks)—but is it coming at a nutritional price?
A recent study from the University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business looked at how people placed orders from a North Carolina pizza chain; those who ordered online ended up with dishes that had 6 percent more calories, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The reason? More complicated and tailored orders and, in turn, more toppings, according to the report. There seems to be something more comfortable about being a pain in the you-know-what anonymously over the Internet than there is asking someone behind the counter or over the phone to customize every last detail. No hold-the-bacon, sauce-on-the-side, substitute this-for-this guilt in sight.
We Healthy Living editors could relate. One of us confessed to ordering two bagels on Saturday morning instead of the customary one. You know, just because. Another gets extra food with the intention of leftovers...but eats every bite, every time. And yet another adds a fatty appetizer under the pretense that she needs to fulfill the minimum delivery price.
That got us to thinking about some of the major diet traps we encounter when ordering our food with our fingers. So we rounded up seven of the biggest roadblocks—and expert-proven tips to beat them.
The solution: Some restaurants require a minimum dollar amount to deliver—and hey, we get it. If you're going outside to deliver to us in our pajamas, you want to get your money's worth.
But needing to hit that $20 threshold can send you into a nutrition tailspin ("I guess I have to get dessert," or "An appetizer it is!"). But instead of doubling your calorie count, order something extra that you can throw into your fridge for tomorrow's lunch or a healthy snack, suggests Heather Bauer, R.D., CDN, HuffPost blogger and founder of the website Bestowed. "For example if you're ordering a salad, add a banana and an apple to your order," she says. "You'll meet the minimum and have guaranteed snacks for the week, making you less likely to hit up the vending machine."
While you're at it, if the meal shows up looking super-sized, dish out an appropriate portion on your plate and put the rest in the fridge right away—no doggy bags necessary.