Internet shopping created a new generation of savvy consumers. Window shopping and browsing through pages of catalogs were quickly replaced with websites and phone apps with the purchasing power of something as small as a postage stamp or as large as a house.
All this seems like Aladdin’s magic lamp with a genie granting every wish, this concept of everything at our fingertips carries a hefty price…and not just in dollars. Instant gratification sounds amazing, especially when you are hungry, and the push of a button brings full course meals to your door practically at warp speed. But there can be a nutritional cost if your meals aren’t chosen with care for your health.
What We Think We Order Might Not Be What We Actually Eat
Whether you order some Chinese takeout from down the street or subscribe to an extensive online meal service, pay close attention so that what you eat is healthy and not detrimental to your health goals. They should include healthy ingredients or alternatives like gluten-free flour to help you reach your health goals. Always scan menus and ingredient lists before you order.
The Temptation of Takeout
Shrimp lo mein with egg drop soup. Pizza with extra cheese. Subs slathered with mayo and stuffed with deli meat. We have all partaken in many of these. They’re salty and comforting, hot and delicious. But these dishes are loaded with unhealthy sodium, sugar, fat, and processed meats. That sub may have lettuce and tomato, but you still aren’t doing yourself any favors.
Resist the temptation of easy takeout and delivery by making mindful choices when ordering online. Chinese restaurants have healthy options like plain rice with chicken and steamed vegetables. Instead of pepperoni on your pizza, ask for extra veggies like tomato, mushrooms, and peppers. Choose piquant flavors for your sandwiches and subs like green olives and peppers, feta cheese, and spinach. You won’t miss the unhealthy ingredients when your nutritious choices are loaded with flavor.
Meal Delivery Services and Subscriptions
This is an industry that took off running and hasn’t stopped. Just when it seemed like there were only a couple of choices, the number exploded to what exists now in the form of meal delivery services and subscriptions that include ingredients to cook your own servings, gourmet options, chef-inspired entrees, vegan and vegetarian selections as well as those that focus on seafood, barbeque, and international cuisines.
Meal services have their own set of temptations that merit scrutiny to keep nutrition high and avoid the things that don’t add to healthy eating habits. Before selecting a home delivery service:
- Peruse the entire subscription online menu, including ingredient lists.
- Consider finding answers about your food preferences, especially if they are linked to health issues like allergies or celiac.
- Inquire if ingredient substitutions are available and can they cater to diets like gluten-free or heart-healthy.
Some services offer trial meals that offer a sampling of their specialties without the long-term commitment.
What to Avoid
Some foods don’t lend themselves well to online ordering and subsequent delivery. Nothing is as wonderful as a cup of hot coffee paired with eggs and toast. Skip the delivery and make this yourself at home. What you’ll get is hot and fresh rather than cold and stale. Smoothies are another typical food on home delivery menus. While they may sound like a healthy breakfast treat, they often end up containing high amounts of sugar, thus defeating the addition of more fruit to your diet. A much healthier option is to keep fresh and frozen fruits to make your own smoothies, ensuring you won’t have to consume all that sugar.
What You Can Order
Fortunately, some food choices hold up well for delivery. Containers of soup are easy to transport and retain their heat, so not much changes from the restaurant to your kitchen. Grilled meats and vegetables travel well and lend themselves to reheating without losing much freshness. Meal delivery subscriptions offer a different product than typical takeout and delivery. Meals and ingredients are packed cold or frozen, so everything is fresh and still brimming with nutritional value.
No matter what eating situation you find yourself in-- cooking at home, ordering takeout, or subscribing to a meal delivery service, there is an extensive array of healthy food options so that you can indulge in food delivery without sacrificing flavor or health.