How to make healthier takeaways at home
We all know that takeaways aren’t the most nutritious choice we could be making, but let’s face it – everyone loves a good burger and fries once in a while.
The problem is once in a while has become too often, with the average NZ household eating takeaways 2-3 times a week (compared to the once a fortnight recommendation). With all the super-sizing that’s going on, we are fast becoming super-sized ourselves. If the common burger and pizza featured a balance of fresh colourful vegetables, good quality meat and were appropriate portion sizes, you could quite happily get away with having takeout more frequently. Unfortunately the reality is that most of the time what’s available is mono-coloured with little or no vegetables, overly greasy and more calories than what you need in a day!
Michael Pollan, one of my favourite food writers has a quote which I like – he says “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself”. While I’m sure some people could take that idea too far, the point is that anything cooked at home is generally going to be better for you, and the process of making ‘junk food’ yourself means you will know exactly what’s in it. Cooking and flavouring the food yourself, instead of letting the fast-food chains and takeaway joints do it for you, significantly cuts down on the salt and saturated and trans fat added, as well as MSG (mono-sodium glutamate, which is a nasty flavour enhancer that a lot of takeaways contain).
What about the convenience factor you ask? Well, once you’re organised you can actually make these takeaway recipes faster than what it takes the local joint to deliver to you!
I make this pizza base and the tomato sauce in bulk and freeze individual portions, ready to whip up an insanely good pizza in 12 minutes with a third of the calories and saturated fat in a standard takeaway pizza. There are so many delicious toppings you could add – be sure to try my Pizza Supreme if you like classic pizza flavours, Smoked Salmon Pizza with Tomato, Rocket, Capers and Lemon Crème for something a little more gourmet, or the family favourite Spiced Chicken and Mango Pizzas with Curry Mayo.
Fish and chips is a favourite with kids, and I have fond childhood memories of tucking into the home-made version my mum would wrap up in newspaper (just like you’d get at a takeaway shop) as a happy alternative. This Herby Panko-Crumbed Fish with Twice-Cooked Hand Cut Chips, Homemade Tomato Sauce and Pink Mayo is perfect for a Friday night in, and a great menu for a kids birthday party!
If burgers are on the cards you simply must try my Beef Burgers with Roast Capsicum Basil Salsa and Smoky Sauce – you could even serve them wrapped up in Cos lettuce for an extra healthy homemade takeaway. If it’s Thai you’re after, you can get this Fragrant South-East Asian Prawn Stir-Fry on the table quicker than getting it delivered. Finally, I couldn’t not mention my tasty, creamy, rich, saucy Butter Chicken with Turmeric Pea Rice and Cucumber Mint Salad – SO much better than a takeaway and SO much healthier!
Whether its pizza, fish n chips, burgers, Thai or Indian that takes your fancy remember you can enjoy it guilt-free so long as you cook it yourself and follow the principles of portion size, balance and frequency. So make your home the place where the kids get their happy meals from!
To be doing what I am today is a dream come true. It all started when I was 12 years old. I was watching TV after school one day and Jamie Oliver was cooking up a storm on The Naked Chef.