So, what are best options when are tired, hungry but still wanting to try and eat as healthily as you can?
Thai food is often considered a ‘healthy’ choice thanks to its brightly coloured vegetable dishes but the truth is that like many Asian cuisines, Thai food does tend to be cooked using plenty of oil and high fat sauces. For this reason, heavy curry and noodles dishes should be avoided but if you order a plain vegetable, tofu or prawn stir fry, you could get away with as little as 1015g of fat, or better still a soup or Thai Beef salad can contain serve.
A popular choice, Japanese food is generally lower in fat and calories than other cuisines but you do need to be careful of the fried dishes. You generally cannot go wrong with sashimi or even a small amount of brown rice sushi. Bulk up the meal with Miso soup, seaweed salad and Edamame beans which are packed full of nutrition for very few calories.
BBQ Chicken and Salad
Often considered as one of the best choices nutritionally, the biggest thing to be mindful of is what part of the chicken you are eating and which type of salad you are choosing. Chicken breast and plain green or Greek salad are generally low in fat and calories but if you choose a creamy pasta salad and the chicken drumstick along with plenty of tasty chicken skin, your fat intake could be as high as 40g for this ‘healthy’ choice.
Fish and Salad
If you are lucky enough to have a fish shop near you, grilled fish and salad is a low fat, nutritionally balanced meal that will compliment any diet plan if the goal is weight loss. The issue of course is that too often grilled fish is fried or battered fish served with chips, scallops and other fried accompaniments which are best left for occasional treats at the beach rather than a quick weeknight meal.
Of the range of cuisines, Mexican food is generally high in fat thanks to the guacamole, sour cream and fried chips but if you can order a naked burrito, that is the meat and salad filling minus the bread, you are left with a low calorie dinner meal packed with plenty of nutrition. If you swap the rice for extra vegetables it will be an even lighter choice.
If you can be strong enough and stay clear of the large serves of Lebanese bread and dips, the mix of tabouli, falafel, lamb or chicken skewers, kofta and cabbage rolls can offer a nutritious, filling meal for less than 15g of fat per serve. Just remember, the more vegetables and salad you eat, the lower your fat and calorie intake will be.
The Carousel thanks Susie Burrell, founder of Shape Me for this article