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: According to a spokesperson for Seamless, a popular web-based food ordering system, the site sees healthier orders on Mondays, but as the week wears on, people are more likely to indulge in comfort foods like pizza, with a spike on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
There's science behind that, Bauer says—we know people are more temped by junk food when they're sleep-deprived, which often happens as we rack up sleep debt throughout the week. So by the time Friday and Saturday roll around, you're craving a good old cheeseburger and a bucket-load of fries. "As we get more exhausted we definitely start to gravitate toward more white refined carbs, " she says, like Chinese food or pizza. "Those don't ultimately make us feel better."
In fact, overloading on a huge meal at the beginning of the weekend can set you up for two days of binging. Instead, try to satisfy the craving with foods that are big in volume and flavor, but with fewer calories. Bauer recommends finding what she calls "healthy cheats," or compromises between a full-blown diet disaster and a plate of steamed chicken and broccoli, which will only make you feel deprived. If you want Moo Shu chicken, eat it in a lettuce wrap. Dying for a cheeseburger? Indulge in a steak with a ton of vegetables. "It's better than going full off the deep end," she tells HuffPost. "It's like a healthy cheat meal."