Healthy Take Out
Tonight is Friday night, my “rest day” from the gym and Z’s “rest day” from law school. After a hard week, all we want to do is come home and relax. We sit down on the couch.
Z: “So, what do you want to do for dinner?”
Me: “I have *such and such* meal planned”
Z: “Do you want to cook?”
I love cooking. It is relaxing, fun, and creative. But there are those days, when I even know the meal I have in my head will take 20 minutes to throw together, when my let’s eat healthy vibe goes out the window and I dream of Chinese takeout or chicken wings (have you notices I haven’t eaten wings in forever?! I am so sad!).
When eating at a nice restaurant I order whatever I feel like; I am spending good money on amazing food, and I could personally care less if it is soaked in cream and butter. But takeout, for me, is different. Its the “this salad is worse for you than this hamburger” phenomenon. Am I eating something good, or is there secret mystery meat and bags of salt under that broccoli?
Through a little research, I have come up with a few basic guidelines so when I am looking at a takeout menu I have a bit more of an idea what I’m getting myself in to:
-When in doubt, go vegetarian. If you want meat, pick the chicken or shrimp first.
-Black beans > refried beans (this one kills me. I love refried beans!)
-Try to add extra veggies to any meal. Load up burritos with salsa and lettuce. Ask for more broccoli in your chow mein. Vegetables on your pizza.
-Swiss/mozzarella cheese > cheddar and American
-Treat yourself to guacamole instead of cheese and sour cream. Healthy fats and more vegetables!
-Fall in love with the words steamed, roasted and broiled. They are your friends.
-Sauce is not your enemy. The amount of sauce can be your enemy. It can always go on the side.
-Balance your choices. You don’t need a giant burger, soda, and fries. How about the burger with a salad and water? Or split some fries with a friend instead.
Needless to say, we decided to get takout for dinner tonight.
A new place, Garlic ‘n Lemons, opened down the street from us last week. It is a Mediterranean inspired take out place, with fresh schwarma, Greek salads, spinach pies, and all of the hummus and babaganoush you could dream of. It is a bit pricey, though, $6.50 for a roll-up (which was pretty small) and a whopping $10.50 for a plate with schwarma on it. I went for the vegetarian trio, where you can pick any 3 veggie apps you want.
I got the Greek salad, rice stuffed grape leaves, and Mousaka (eggplant and chickpeas). Oh my it was good! Everything was light and incredibly fresh. The salad was bright and crisp, and the spices in the Mousaka were amazing. Not bad for $6.99. Z got one of the roll ups and, while it tasted good, it was about the size of a Sony remote control and probably not worth the $6.50 it cost. For me, quality ingredients surpasses quantity, but I know many guys and college students who do not feel the same way. All in all I felt that I made a very healthy selection, lots of veggies, protein in the chickpeas, and some good carbs with the brown rice in the grape leaves.
What do you look at when you order take out?