Healthy Restaurant Takeout During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Many people have experienced empty shelves and crowded supermarkets, which is when people begin ordering food in.
Healthy Restaurant Takeout During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

As the coronavirus pandemic progresses, Americans are experiencing more restrictions on daily activities. Many schools and businesses are closed, leaving restaurants among the few types of businesses to remain open. 

In some areas, restaurants are no longer able to serve diners on-site. Restaurants that still are must allow for guests to sit 6 feet apart – the distance that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends to avoid person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. That may not seem like the setting for a pleasant night out with friends! Many people have experienced empty shelves and crowded supermarkets, leaving them unable to get the foods they want.

Why Get Takeout Now?

The best option for many people may be to supplement their diets with takeout because it can:

  • Add variety when supermarket options are limited.
  • Add some pleasure to what may feel like a restricted lifestyle.
  • Support local businesses who are hurting badly during this time.

Preparing your own food can seem healthier eating prepared food from restaurants, but it is nearly always possible to get a good meal at restaurants with some care. Lark can help guide good choices no matter where you go.

Spotting the Good Foods

Just as Lark’s nutrition coaching suggests in regular times, most meals should be based on vegetables, whether as a main course or side salad, raw as appetizers, or cooked as a side dish or in the main dish. 

Lean proteins may be the next consideration. Beans, lentils, cheese, and tofu are great choices. Chicken and fish are excellent, too, as long as they are not breaded and fried. Finally, a whole grain or starchy vegetable such as sweet potato can round out the meal.  Healthy fats are important, but are almost guaranteed to be part of whatever dish you order. They may include cooking oils, salad dressings, olives, and avocado, for example.

Healthy Breakfast

Omelets with egg whites and vegetables are often good bets if you are ordering breakfast. Side items are also often sources of treasures that you can add together to start your day off right. Nutritious items to consider include fresh fruit, whole-grain bread or bagel, avocado, tomato slices, and cottage cheese.

It’s okay to skip the veggies at breakfast if you cannot stand the thought of them. Fresh fruit and whole grains, such as oatmeal and whole-grain toast, can supply fiber and antioxidants. You may just want to be sure to get extra veggies later in the day – and Lark may remind you about that!

Limiting the Unwanted Extras

No matter how much you may look forward to your meal arriving, there are some foods it may be better just to keep out of your home if you are watching your waistline or warding off health problems. Common examples include:

  • Creamy and cheesy soups and sauces.
  • Chips and other “freebies.”
  • Fried foods.
  • Fatty and processed meats, including beef burgers, ham, and bacon.
  • Desserts and sodas.
  • Mayo, butter, special sauces, and other creamy condiments.

It is no big deal if you do have a few of these. Log them, and Lark can give you a gentle nudge to consider how those foods made you feel and whether you might want to make a different choice next time.

It is also good to ask for dressings on the side.

Portions Still Count

Most menu items are far bigger than they need to be for a single serving or meal, and that can be a great thing when you are having trouble obtaining groceries. A single delivery can last for two or three meals. The great thing about eating in your home is that you can pack it up and store it in the fridge or freezer immediately. Just leave out what you plan to eat immediately.

Extra Precautions

Having a stranger come to your door to hand you something that goes into your mouth may not seem like a great way to prevent spreading an infectious disease like COVID-19, but it may not be so bad. One idea is to let the delivery person leave the food at your door and leave before you open the door to get the food. That way, you are not in close contact with each other.

Life is changing rapidly, and one way to get a great meal and support local business is to opt for takeout or delivery. With some care, you can get a nutritious and delicious meal that adds variety to your diet and saves you from hunting down food at the supermarket. Lark can help guide you as you explore your options.