Healthy takeaway options: How to approach ordering in
What to eat when ordering Thai, Indian and Italian.
Written by
Dan Cable
Medically reviewed by
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Last updated
March 20, 2024
min read
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I want to challenge the perception that a socially active, time-poor, or convenience-driven lifestyle is a barrier to great health.

While you have more control over your nutrition when preparing your own meals, it's not practical to expect this of yourself for every meal across the week.

So, let’s tackle ordering in.

It’s getting easier and easier to order healthy food that is also affordable and arrives fast. The easiest option is to focus on lean protein with salad from a chicken shop or a fish shop, however, there are tips to avoid traps when ordering Thai or Indian.

Tips for navigating the world of takeaway food

What to do when eating takeaway foods.

Have a healthy snack beforehand

if there’s no way around a pleasure-oriented order then have a healthy, high-protein snack beforehand to hit the macros and avoid a full-on binge.

Look around

Don’t lazily let an unhealthy habit perpetuate just because there’s a ‘last ordered’ shortcut in the food app.

Focus on lean protein and salad/vegetables

Go for protein — it’s a heuristic that works!

Choose only one dish for pleasure

Avoid a full blowout by ‘budgeting’ for pleasure and then focusing the rest on healthy takeaway options.

ALWAYS ask for sauces/dressings on the side

Be in control and add sparingly because it’s a huge trap to let the restaurant load up your meal with sugary and fatty sauces.

Go for a walk afterwards

It's hard to fully avoid blood sugar spikes from takeaway so go for a walk after dinner.

Plan ahead

Conduct a quick scan online to avoid impulse ordering when deciding on the spot when the focus is on conversation.

Healthiest takeaway options: What to order

These are our order in options and tips — and yes, Italian really is the hardest to navigate...

Chicken shop

  • Chicken skewers — just be mindful that most chicken shop skewers are quite fatty and full of preservatives so only go with this if it’s one of the better chicken shops
  • Half or quarter chicken plus salad — Greek salad, tabouli, leafy green salad, etc
  • Avoid burgers, schnitzels and chips

Fish shop

  • Grilled prawns or calamari — boost protein for entree
  • Grilled fish plus salad — ask for dressing on the side
  • Avoid deep-fried fish and chips


  • Chicken skewers — get 2-3 serves to boost lean protein but be sparing with peanut sauce
  • Thai beef salad — ask for extra beef and no dressing (loaded with sugar)
  • Larb salad — ask for no dressing (loaded with oil/sugar)
  • Green papaya salad — ask for no dressing (loaded with sugar)
  • Avoid Thai curries as they are high in sugar and dense in calories


  • Miso soup — full of flavour and nutrients (esp. the seaweed for thyroid health)
  • Sashimi — load up to boost your protein intake and omega-3 ratio
  • Sushi — don’t go overboard as sushi rice has a fair bit of sugar in it
  • Salmon/chicken teriyaki — be mindful that teriyaki sauce is loaded with sugar
  • Avoid gyoza, curries and the udon noodles


  • Chicken tikka pieces/skewers — get 2-3 serves to boost protein as an entree and avoid bingeing on a saucy curry
  • Tandoor protein (fish, prawns, lamb, etc.) — lean protein and add your own salad at home
  • Rogan Josh or a mild curry — optimise by eating the meat and not binging on saucy rice
  • Avoid deep-fried entrees, Butter Chicken or Tikki Masala (very fatty), and naan/roti


  • Sanchoibao — better than spring rolls as an entree
  • Chicken cashew or beef black bean — lean protein but be mindful of the sugary sauce
  • Steamed fish or garlic prawns — lighter second option to away from the traps below
  • Avoid prawn crackers, fried rice, sweet and sour anything, honey chicken, and many more


  • Meatballs — reasonable entree but be mindful of sugary tomato sauce
  • Steak, chicken or veal main dish — get a Caprese salad to round it out
  • Avoid arancini/pizzas/pastas but if the cravings are strong, have a snack before to boost protein

Easy alternatives to relying on takeaway foods

  • A no-cook meal in <5 minutes — hot smoked fish with a salad can be made in minutes
  • Pre-prepared meals — easy-to-find meals with reasonable macros and clean ingredients from providers such as Bondi Meal Prep, Thrive, MyMuscleChef, etc. but be mindful that not all prep-prepped meals are actually that healthy

Our resolve is often weakest when ordering in, but perhaps our impulse for pleasure is best saved for a nice restaurant instead.

To help make healthier ordering simple and easy, our team of dietitians scour the area around a member’s home and office location and provide a vetted shortlist of go-to options alongside a vetted shortlist of pre-prepped meals plus a discount code.

Compound is a digital clinic for performance health, for men. Once the exclusive domain of billionaires and Hollywood stars, we're on a mission to make premium concierge care accessible to every man who wants more.

We are integrating diagnostics (bloodwork, scans, etc), treatment (medication, supplementation), performance programming, and support (coaching, accountability, care) — wrapped around a growth mindset.

This post contains general information about health and wellness practices. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be treated as such. Please consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new health regimen. This information is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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