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7 Tricks to Ordering Take Out

by Hilton Head Health Registered Dietitian Felicia Hackett

When eating convenience foods we have to remember that those are the foods that tend to lack vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Because of that, you have to purposefully choose foods that are going to help with weight loss and weight maintenance but more importantly living well.

restaurant, healthy food,


Look for entrees that have a vegetable in the name.

    • Eggplant parmesan, broccoli and chicken.


Ask for double vegetables.

    • Red curry with double vegetable or shrimp lo mein with double vegetables.


Have one starch.

    • Skip the side of bread and just have the rice or potatoes that come with the meal. Mexican takeout? Pass on the tortilla chips and salsa and have 3 small corn or flour tortilla tacos with a side salad. Instead of queso choose a small order of guac to go with your yummy tacos. Both are energy dense foods but guac has healthy fats and vitamins that cheese does not.


When you get a choice:

Choose the apple and have it for dessert and if you are full from the meal stick it in your bag or car for a quick pick me up later in the day.


At ice cream shops have the smallest size they offer.

    • Sounds crazy but the “baby” size or dog-friendly size would be a great portion.

strawberry ice cream, healthier option, small order


Take the food out of the takeout box and place it on your 9” plate.

    • Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables. If you have a slice of pizza, size down the slice so that it does not overhang on the plate and then make sure there is room to fill half of your plate with those non-starchy vegetables.


Mini-size fast food options.

    • Stopping at fast food, have a kid-size meal and if you feel hungry order a side salad

It is easier said than done but like anything else that we succeed in we have to practice. Convenience, quick-serve, and fast foods are in the world we live in. You have to make it work for you or it’s going to work you.