Sometimes getting takeaway food can be unavoidable. Special occasions arise, some days are just too busy for cooking, and sometimes it’s just nice to have someone else cook for you. You may even just want a treat meal that doesn’t make you feel terrible.

Getting takeaway doesn’t have to completely derail your diet. It may just mean you look to other parts of the menu for healthier options! Who knows, you might even find your new favourite.

In this blog, we’ll find you a lower-calorie alternative to the popular food choices from the big 4 fast foods!

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These days, fast food restaurants have to advertise the kilojoules next to each meal on the menu. kilojoules (kj) are a measurement of the energy of the food, and the recommended daily intake by the Government is 8700kj for an adult male. For this article, we are going to use calories as they are easier to understand. 1 calorie is 4.184 kilojoules, but you can basically just divide it by 4 to get the calories.

Mcdonalds

For this food switch, we took the most popular burger, The Big Mac, and found a burger that’ll save you over 100 calories! Incredibly, it’s even bigger than the big mac so you won’t be compromising on a smaller meal. If you then swap out the sugar-filled coke for a water, you’ll save a massive 261 calories.

Big Mac Meal (medium chips & coke) – 1008 calories

Sriracha McChicken Meal (medium chips & water) – 747 calories

261 calories saved

Dominos

Pizza is a tough one. Packed with cheese and carb-heavy dough, it’s very calorie dense. With this smart swap however, you can save over 600 calories just by ordering a different type of pizza!

In addition to this, a study conducted by the Georgia-Pacific Health Smart Institute reports that by ‘blotting’ the top of your pizza with a napkin, you can soak up some of the grease and cut back around 14% of the fat on the pizza, saving even more calories.

Meatlovers on a deep pan pizza – 1576 calories

Ham & Cheese on a classic base – 944 calories

632 calories saved

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Adding cheese to your Meatball sub?! Genius

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Subway

Subway’s cleaver marketing has positioned them as the healthy alternative in the fast food wars. Unfortunately, this depends on what you order. Some of the subs can actually have over 1000 calories, which is more than a Big Mac meal! The big thing to remember with Subway is that the sauces are often where a lot of the hidden calories are (1 tablespoon of mayonaise has nearly 100 calories in it!).

The calories below are based on a footlong sub on white bread with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, capsicum and cucumbers (their chosen ingredients for nutritional information). Getting one of the deli meats will also cut down the calories further, but we thought we’d keep this on the standard menu.

Footlong Meatball Sub – 916 calories + sauce

Footlong Chicken Strip Sub – 562 + sauce

354 calories saved

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Sitting pretty 💁

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KFC

And finally, The Colonel and his fried chicken. Again with this fast food restaurant, less is more. Don’t go for a boxed meal as the fried extras that come with it are where the calories lie.

For this swap, just go for a regular burger combo. You still get a good sized meal, but you avoid the greasy fried chicken. And really, the burger and chips is enough to get your fix.

Zinger box (with a Pepsi max) – 1158 calories

Original Recipe Burger combo (regular chips and water) – 682 calories

476 calories saved

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Quick tips for saving calories at Fast Food restaurants:

  • Always choose water as the drink.
  • Go grilled instead of fried where possible.
  • Never go there starving (you’ll eat way more than you should).
  • Say no to upsizes.
  • Cut back on the sides.
  • Sauces are high in calories so less is more.