Like Chinese food on Friday nights? You’re not alone.
Turning Leaf wines recently surveyed Americans to learn more about what we eat and drink on take-out nights (and when we eat it).
Not surprisingly, Friday is the most popular night to have take-out for dinner. Sixty-one percent of us sneak a bite of food before we get home (I have no idea why a slice of pizza is missing, honey!) Merlot is the most popular wine to uncork, and 41 percent of us don’t even bother to look at the menu when ordering Chinese, the most popular take-out meal. Guess we know what we like!
The question is whether what we like is going to add inches to our waistlines and sabotage our flat-abs dreams. To learn more about the best and worst take-out options, we spoke to registered dietician Heather R. Mangieri, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.
Oh, and we included some suggested wine pairings from the experts at Turning Leaf (their bottles are a bargain at $8-ish). TGIF!
Worst options: General Tso’s Chicken, Mu Shu Pork and Kung Pao Chicken.
Healthiest options: Lettuce wraps and/or spring rolls, with a side of steamed white rice. Also, any dish that’s loaded with veggies and doesn’t have a cream sauce is a safe bet.
Pair it with… Chardonnay (creamy and rich with a soft finish)
Worst options: Nachos, chimichangas, chile relleno, chalupas, taquitos and refried beans.
Healthiest options: Chicken fajita with peppers and onions and all of the salsa you want. If sides are offered, ask for a side salad or steamed rice and beans.
Pair it with… Riesling (chilled, the citrusy flavor is a perfect fajita complement).
Worst options: Tom Ka Gai (chicken in coconut milk with mushrooms and lime juice soup). In fact, beware of any dish that contains coconut milk or peanut sauce. Those fat grams really add up.
Healthiest options: Tom Yum Soup (broth-based soup loaded with lean protein and seasoned with cilantro and lemongrass). Pad Thai can also be a leaner option.
Pair it with… Pinot Grigio (hints of ripe apple and pear)
Worst options: Fettucini Alfredo or Spaghetti Carbonara — both can contain an entire day’s worth of calories.
Healthiest options: Start with a cup of Pasta Fagioli (for some, a “bowl” portion may be filling enough for a main dish) then order grilled chicken or fish with a side of rice or steamed vegetables.
Pair it with… Cabernet Sauvignon (contains aromas of blackberry jam and black brambleberries).
Worst options: Thick or (even worse!) cheese-stuffed crusts. For perspective, the stuffed crust meatlovers pizza from Pizza Hut has 480 calories — per slice.
Healthiest options: Order a thin crust pizza with lots of veggies (more veggies equals less cheese! This can save you more than 400 calories per slice!
Pair it with… Merlot (opens with a hint of boysenberry jam and finishes with hints of chocolate and spice).
Worst options: Spider Roll, the Shrimp Tempura roll and the Philadelphia Roll. While the Philadelphia roll is a solid source of lean protein from salmon, the cream cheese drives the calorie count up to 500 per roll. Yikes!
Healthiest options: California rolls, vegetables rolls or a tuna or salmon roll (not fried or with creamy sauce!).
Pair it with… Pinot Noir (intense notes of dark cherry and hints of oak; super soft and easy to drink).