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YourLIFE: Take it away.. THEY MAY BE A CONVENIENT TREAT BUT LOOK INSIDE FAST-FOOD CONTAINERS AND YOU WILL FIND A TYPICAL TAKEAWAY CAN HAVE CONTAIN OVER 1,000 CALORIES... AND LOADS OF FAT. HERE'S OUR GUIDE...

Byline: BY ANGELA DOWDEN

CHINESE

Worst

Lemon chicken with special fried rice 1170 calories, 58g fat

Battered, deep-fried chicken with lemon sauce adds up to well over half your daily calorie intake and six heaped teaspoons of sugar. Fried rice has 50 per cent more calories than plain. Avoid battered sweet and sour pork, too.

Better

Chicken chow mein 860 calories, 30g fat

Not the best for weight watchers but chow mein is one of the most nutritionally balanced Chinese meals - especially with extra veg. It has less saturated fat than battered dishes and moderate salt levels. With noodles incorporated, you won't need side orders.

Best

Szechuan prawns and vegetables, with half portion of steamed rice 589 calories, 14g fat

Look for steamed or wok-fried dishes, preferably those with seafood and/or veg to ensure the most slimline choice. But don't eat a whole portion of rice - half is ample (if you've nobody to share with, bin half to avoid temptation).

And on the side?

CHOOSE: Crab and sweet corn soup, stir-fried bean sprouts.

AVOID: Spring rolls, crispy seaweed, prawn crackers.

BURGER BAR

Worst

Double quarter pounder with cheese 710 calories, 40g fat

This has more than a third of your daily calories before you add fries and more than 90 per cent of the saturated fat a woman should eat in a day. And this for a burger without mayo - with it, you can be looking at more than 900 calories!

Better

Fish burger with tartare sauce 396 calories, 18g fat

Fish isn't always a hugely healthy option. Once it has been breaded and fried, it's certainly not low-fat. Remove about 55 calories and 5g of fat by going without the tartare sauce, or about 30 calories and 3g of fat by removing a cheese slice.

Best

Cheeseburger 319 calories, 13g fat

The burger contains iron which helps prevent anaemia, while a small slice of cheese provides some calcium without too much fat. Portion size is the key reason this fits into a controlled calorie diet, so don't be tempted to upsize to a double, which has a further 150 calories.

And on the side?

CHOOSE: Small fries, ketchup, water.

AVOID: Large fries, curry dip, milkshake.

INDIAN

Worst Chicken korma and pilau rice 1080 calories, 57g fat

With so much cream and coconut, a korma will supply at least threequarters of your daily limit of saturated fat. Add the rice and the total is more than 1,000 calories. Other creamy types to avoid are passanda and tikka masala.

Better

Chicken biryani 730 calories, 24g fat

Biryani has rice included, so you don't need side dishes. Just go easy on the sauce and don't have the egg on top. Others in this category include lamb rogan josh, chicken or prawn jalfrezi and lamb dupiaza. But have them with plain rice rather than pilau.

Best

Tandoori chicken with salad and raita 380 calories, 10g fat

A sauce-free dish which is the lowest calorie choice, as long as the skin is removed. Eat it with a side salad and minty yogurt raita, which is low-fat.

And on the side?

CHOOSE: Dhal, pickles, one poppadum.

AVOID: Naan, sheek kebab, samosas.

PIZZA

Worst

Half a large, stuffed crust meat feast 1600 calories, 70g fat

A stuffed, doughy base plus cheesy, meaty topping makes for an extremely fattening, arteryclogging choice. Only order a large pizza if there are more than two people around to share it!

Better

Individual ham and pineapple 772 calories, 26g fat

Ham and pineapple pizza is a relatively healthy option - as long as it's on a thin and crispy base. This helps keep the fat and calorie counts down.

Best

Half a medium tuna, anchovy and olive 403 calories, 15g fat

Seafood or veggie options are best for weight watchers. Having half a medium (serves 1-2) pizza can save you calories compared to having an individual one to yourself. Anchovies, capers and olives add taste without calories.

And on the side?

CHOOSE: Small portion of garlic mushrooms, salsa.

AVOID: Nachos, garlic bread, chicken wings.

TOP TIPS

Share a pizza if it's anything more than 10in across.

Customise your order - ask for no mayo in a burger, for example.

Use a kitchen towel to dab the excess oil from the top of Indian and Chinese sauces.

Go hotter - spicier curries tend to be harder to eat in large quantities.

Terms to avoid - battered or crispy, quattro formaggio, pilau, special fried, double cheese with bacon.

Don't eat more than one takeaway a week!

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 15, 2006
Words:757
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