Sunday, 4 September 2011

Very, very bad takeaway

A local government report published yesterday found something that may surprise some of you. Apparently, our takeaways are unhealthy. Really? Now, you may well see this and think exactly the same thing as I did, so what? This is something we knew without some official report telling us. Despite the obviousness of the conclusion, I read the report to see why they are telling us something we already knew. The results were quite scary. 
The report looked at Chicken tikka masala and sweet and sour chicken from a number of different take-away restaurants. Below is a table with some of what was found. I know tables aren’t the most interesting  of things but do check it out.

Chicken tikka masala + pilau rice

Amount in 1 serving
Recomended amount for 1 day
% of recommended amount
60 grams
70 grams
Saturated fat
23.2 grams
20 grams
2000(women) 2500(men)
5.52 grams
6 grams

Sweet and sour chicken + fried rice

Amount in 1 serving
Recomended amount for 1 day
% of recommended amount
67.7 grams
90 grams
2000(women) 2500(men)
7.12 grams
6 grams

All the data can be found in the full report at,

Some shocking figures there. 116% saturated fats? 119% salt? These figures are incredible. We all knew that takeaways were unhealthy but this is unhealthy on a completely new level. And to make it worse, these meals had more than the legal limit on food colourings, the dangers of which are well documented. Some of the chicken tikka masalas even had meat in them that wasn’t chicken!
Do I think that this will stop people from ordering takeaways? No, don’t be silly. People will still order takeaways because they think they’re a treat and they’re convenient. But should we eat something just because it’s convenient? There are some things you would not eat no matter how convenient they were; a bonsai tree, liver, somebody else’s last rolo. Just because something is convenient does not mean we should eat it.  
If convenience is what you want then there is nothing better than a cold meal. Wraps, pastas, salads, there are lots of meals that take just minutes to prepare. Still too much hassle? Why not freeze a meal next time you cook. Making your own frozen meals comes in handy all the time. Next time you cook just make a little extra, put it in a sliver tray and then freeze. When you want to eat it, pop it in the oven until it’s done. Simple. And, even better, you know exactly what has gone into it.
If what you want though, is a Chinese or an Indian, why not make your own.  There are lots of online recipes (like this one for chiken tikka masala for healthier versions of your favourite takeaway meals that still taste great and, even better, are cheaper than buying a take out.
So, have I convinced you to stop buying takeaway meals? Let me know.
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