There is no denying that things have changed immensely since the pandemic set foot in the world. Now that COVID-19 is a part of our daily life, change in lifestyle and habits is the only way of surviving through this pandemic. This includes maintaining caution and keeping your body and mind healthy.

Well, you can check all these boxes while eating from your favorite eating joint. You read that right. If you crave a good plate of spaghetti with some caesar salad from the best Italian takeout in Hell’s Kitchen, it’s the right time to do it. As for maintaining health and safety, here are a few tips that can help you out.

Go Through The Nutritional Content

When trying to eat healthily, you are not focusing on cutting calories but trying to eat as nutritious as possible. So try the same when you are going for takeout. Take a good look at all the meals on the menu. Some restaurants mention the ingredients and total calories on the menu to give more insight to people about what they will be eating. This will give you a better idea about the nutritional value of the meal. Try to go for restaurants that serve more lean options. This would mean options like vegetables and grains. For example, a veggie rice bowl or vegetable burrito would be great options to consider. Steer clear from words like ‘rich’, ‘creamy’ or ‘cheesy’ and go for ‘roasted’, ‘boiled’ and ‘steamed’ instead.

Considering the rise in health-conscious people even before the pandemic, more restaurants have varieties of healthy food options available. And it’s equally delicious as your fried food.

Don’t Order Overly Hungry

One of the most common mistakes that people make while ordering takeout is being overly hungry. I have committed this mistake more times than I can count.

You may have observed that when you are hungry to a point where you can eat anything, ordering food usually becomes an expensive affair. You order more meals than you can eat because it’s your hunger that is actually talking. And once you have the containers of food in front of you, you either overeat or leave a lot of leftovers. So, if healthy eating is what you want, this habit has to go.

Drink some water, have a fruit or some soup before you place your order.

Don’t Hesitate to Make Healthier Alterations

Before you place an order for takeout, call up the restaurant and see if they allow order customization. If yes, then leave out the greasy and unhealthy sides or ingredients and go for healthy versions. For example, you can leave out the side or fries or have a salad instead of it. Also, if your dish includes a dressing, get it on the side to use only as much as you desire. As for sauces, skip them if you can. Similarly, you can ask the chef to let go of the cheese or include only a small amount or add more veggies in the rice bowl. And if you are craving for something like a french fry or potato wedge, have only a small amount with as little salt as possible.

Such alterations in meals will allow you to eat what you like while being healthy and nutritious.

Balance Your Meal

What’s the most common answer to ‘the secret to staying healthy’? Food or more specifically a balanced diet. And you can have a balanced diet with a takeout too. All you have to do is include different options to make a meal that’s meeting all your nutritional requirements. Start by choosing whole grains like brown rice, or whole wheat or whole grain pasta or even zoodles. Likewise, for pizza crust, go for the whole wheat option or thin crust.

The next step is to include the right protein. Chicken, fish, eggs, tofu and beans are a great source of protein. Include as many veggies as possible to look after your vitamins and minerals intake. And most importantly, avoid dairy, especially cheese and fried food if you can.

Have a Safe Takeout

After you have the healthy part all figured out, it’s time to focus on the safe aspect. It’s the state of the pandemic that has all of us stuck in our homes. This is why take outs are a safer option than dining at the restaurant. But, if you are not cautious while picking up your order, the risk is just as much as eating among a group of people. You can never pinpoint who is sick or who isn’t. So, here are a few tips that can help you ensure that your takeout is as safe as possible.

Limit Your Exposure

When you choose takeout over dining, the main reasoning behind it is either laziness or the need to maintain minimal contact and exposure in this current crisis. In that case, you have to keep certain points in mind while picking up your order. The first step is to wear a mask. When picking up your food make sure that you are wearing your mask properly. It should cover your entire mouth and nose. That’s the only way a mask will keep you and others safe. If possible, ask the restaurant to give a curbside pickup or leave the food at a distance to keep contact as minimal as possible.

Disinfect The Food Packaging

COVID-19 can spread from surfaces too. It’s called cross contamination. So your cardboard, paper or plastic containers are some of the main sources of germs and the novel coronavirus. Though most restaurants will wear proper protective gear to deliver you safe end product, there is no harm in taking an extra step to be safe. Also, you could have touched the food after touching a contaminant surface. So, stay safe by disinfecting the packaging with an EPA approved cleaning agent.

Wash Your Hands

I don’t really have to repeat something that’s one of the top precautions for COVID-19. A proper hand wash is really important to limit any exposure. Before you sit down to eat, make sure that you wash your hands using the right technique. You can never really track each and every movement of your hands and the surfaces they have touched. So take precaution and wash your hands.

Pay Digitally

Dollar bills can be a hub for germs and even the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They jump from one person to another every day. You cannot be sure if they were in the hands of an infected person or not. The best way to avoid getting paranoid about the germs of bills is to lose them altogether. Make all your payments digitally and stay safe.

Go through each of these points and remember them carefully. I cannot stress enough about the importance of prioritising safety and health and taking the necessary precautions. Since we are now living with a very contagious disease, these tips should now become a part of our lifestyles. So, be safe and munch on your favorite meal from the best Italian takeout in Hell’s Kitchen.