Taken from the Spring 2013 edition of Tabler
It’s always a great end to a Table night; piling round the curry house or the Chinese restaurant with your mates or just popping to the chippy on the way home. You don’t need a fat bloke in a magazine to tell you that this food is very often high in fat and salt which can lead to a variety of health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
With a lot of Tablers now taking responsibility for their health, does this mean an end to the post-meeting poppadum? Is it all salads, cycling and self-denial from now on? Not necessarily. Choosing the right foods when you go out can mean avoiding these health problems while still enjoying yourself. This handy guide will help steer you in the right direction.
Don’t hinder your Indian
Is life without a curry worth living? Maybe not, but there’s no need to pass on curry for health reasons if you follow these simple tips:
- Avoid curries that are based on cream or coconut milk like Kormas, Masalas or Pasandas. Go for tomato-based curries such as a rogan josh, madras or something based on lentils like a dhal. Tandoori and tikka dishes (minus the sauce) are the best. Chicken, prawn or vegetables are all healthier alternatives to lamb too.
- Go for boiled or plain rice as opposed to ghee-soaked (butter) pilau rice and maybe consider sharing rice instead of eating one to yourself. Replace the naan bread with a chapatti. Avoid where possible going for both rice and bread, try and opt for one or the other.
- A lot of sides and starters such as bhaji, pakora and samosas are deep-fried so are a heart attack waiting to happen. If you do like your extras, then go for a dhal or a sagwalla on the side. A chicken madras with plain rice, chapatti, and a dhal on the side is hardly rabbit food but it’ll give your heart a break.
No need to say neigh to kebabs
Doner meat is one of the few thing you’d actually be relieved to find out contained horsemeat; it’s so much better than the other possibilities. The only thing we can be sure of is that it contains large amounts of saturated fat and trans-fat (saturated fat’s evil twin). You don’t have to give up on the kebabs though, simply opt for shish instead as its likely to be grilled over charcoal so lots of the nasties drip away. Leave off the mayo and make sure you add lots of salad, as everyone knows that is what makes kebabs healthy.
Don’t stop the chip shop stop
The best way to enjoy a healthier trip to the chippy is to go for smaller portions of the “bad stuff” and bulking it out with better stuff. For example, choose a small portion of fish and chips but add a portion of mushy peas or baked beans. That way you can fill yourself up without having to resort to pies or sausages which are to be avoided. Careful with the amount of salt they put on too.
When going for fish, if the option is there, go for a breadcrumb coating as it absorbs less fat than batter.
Chow down on Chow Mein
If it’s called “crispy” it’s deep fried, so steer clear. This includes spring rolls, prawn toast, prawn crackers and your sweet and sour pork and chicken meals. Fill yourself up with some soup for starters then go for steamed, boiled or stir-fried meals such as chicken chop suey or Szechuan prawns with steamed vegetables and boiled rice. Stir-fries are good because they’re usually low in fat and have plenty of veg. Leave the fried rice though, stick to boiled or steamed. Soy sauce is used throughout Chinese cuisine and is high in salt so bear that in mind.
Taking responsibility for your health is not a choice between being miserable (healthy) or being happy (dying). With a few small changes here and there, you can get the best of both worlds. You’ll feel better for it and it might even give you the edge in other areas of your life
Round Table is supporting Men's Health Week. To find out more about Men's Health Week, please go to MensHealthForum.org.uk