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Takeaway tips

Ngā tohu iti o ngā kai kawe

Takeaways are an easy option after a long, hard day at work, but most takeaways aren't very healthy.

Aim to cook most of your meals at home and when you have takeaways, choose ones with plenty of vegetables such as wraps, salads and stir-fries.

Make takeaway alternatives at home

Everyone enjoys takeaways and a night off cooking. You might find that you're choosing takeaways because there is no time or energy to cook. If you've got some basic ingredients in your fridge and pantry, you can make quick, healthy meals at home in the time it takes to choose, order and pick-up your takeaways.

You could make pizza using pita bread topped with pasta sauce or tomato paste, vegetables and grated cheese or a quick pasta dish with pre-prepared sauce, tuna and frozen vegetables.

Even if your fridge and pantry are looking a bit low on food, you can do a “quick-grab” meal at the supermarket. Fried chicken takeaways cost about $30 for a family meal. For just $15 you can get a cooked chicken, coleslaw and rolls from the supermarket.

For more tasty, quick and low-cost meal ideas from the supermarket, see Supermarket = Super Takeaways from Community and Public Health.

Try these Easy takeaway recipes from Healthy Kids for fast low-cost takeaway alternatives you can make at home.

Traditional takeaways

If you are going to have traditional takeaways, use the following tips to help you choose a healthier option. Have them less than once a week.


Tips for a healthier option

Chinese, Thai and other Asian dishes

  • Get out of your comfort zone and choose dishes with lots of vegetables. For example, stir fried Asian greens, lamb salad, Vietnamese pancakes or rice paper rolls.
  • Swap fried rice for steamed rice.
  • Avoid deep-fried and sweet and sour dishes.

Fish and chips

  • Fish and chip shops vary. Look for those that serve grilled, crumbed fish and thick, straight fries.
  • Ask for no salt or salt sachets instead of having salt put on your order.


  • Try curries with lots of vegetables. For example, spinach, cauliflower and potato.
  • Go for Tandoori-style curries or curries based on tomato or yoghurt.
  • Avoid dishes with coconut cream, cream, ghee or anything deep-fried such as samosas, bhajis and pakoras. They tend to be high in unhealthy fats.


  • Ditch the meat-lovers pizza and go for vegetable toppings.
  • Choose thin and crispy bases rather than thick or cheesy-filled types.
  • Try a salad instead of a side of garlic bread.

Takeaways and children

Everyone has a role to play in providing food for children and modelling eating well. You can help children by:

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2021.

Page reference: 298119

Review key: HIHEC-62690