Eating healthily isn’t about cutting out all processed foods, it’s about getting a balance of foods in your diet. So if you eat takeaway and processed foods less than once a week you don’t need to worry. But if you eat takeaways and processed foods several times a week then you should think carefully about the choices you make.

Try to cover one third to one half of your plate with vegetable and another third with carbohydrate foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes, chapatti, bread or noodles. The remainder of your plate should contain lean meat, fish, eggs or a vegetarian alternative. You can use the Eatwell plate to help you.

Remember, dishes such as spaghetti Bolognese, fish pie and lasagne usually contain some vegetable but you can add a side salad or portion of vegetable for an added boost.

Opt for wholegrain breads and choose sandwiches which contain salad or vegetables and limit the mayonnaise.

Many fast food restaurant chains are beginning to explore the healthier options they can offer to customers. Some offer on-line details of the nutritional composition of their products which allows you to choose more sensibly.

So you don’t have to give up takeaways completely, so long as you make the right menu choices. Here are some examples:

Fish and chips


Worst choices: chips, cheese and onion pie, steak and kidney pie, jumbo sausage.
Better choices: cod, haddock or plaice (remove the batter), mushy peas, pickled eggs
Top tip: remove the batter to save an average of 350 calories



Worst choices: deep pan, stuffed crust, double or triple cheese, pepperoni
Better choices: thin base, vegetable toppings, half fat cheese
Top tip: deep pan bases are loaded with calories and fat, choose a thin base instead



Worst choices: battered chicken or pork, fried rice, prawn toast, spring rolls
Better choices: crab and corn soup, beef in oyster sauce, chicken in black bean sauce, steamed vegetables, boiled rice
Top tip: avoid anything that’s battered or ‘crispy’ as that means it’s deep fried, instead choose steamed or stir-fired dishes



Worst choices: korma, masala, fried rice, bhajis, pakoras, poppadums
Better choices: madras, tikka, bhuna, boiled rice, dahl
Top tip: avoid creamy curries and fried rice



Worst choices: doner meat
Better choices: chicken shish, salad
Top tip: stick to small portions of meat and top up with extra salad

Burger restaurant


Worst choices: anything large, thin fries, regular fizzy drinks
Better choices: delhi sandwiches, grilled chicken, salad, sugar free diet drinks
Top tip: avoid ‘upgrading’ to large fries and fizzy drinks

On the High Street


Worst choices: sausage rolls, pasties, pies, fried foods, cakes
Better choices: rolls, wraps, sandwiches, salad, fruit, grilled items, soup (not creamy), jacket potato
Top tip: dressings and mayonnaise can be loaded with calories and fat, choose low fat alternatives

Top Ten Takeaway Tips

  1. Base your meal on the Eat well plate
  2. Avoid large portions,  stick to small or regular portions
  3. Share chips and side dishes
  4. Remove the batter from fried foods
  5. Choose lean grilled or stir-fried meats such as chicken or prawns and remove the skin from chicken
  6. Avoid thick milkshakes and regular fizzy drinks, choose water, milk or sugar free diet drinks instead
  7. Add salad or vegetables, or have fruit for dessert
  8. Choose low fat dressings
  9. Avoid fried foods, especially thin cut fries/chips as these absorb more fat
  10. Avoid pies and pastries