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There is a lot of statistical data available showing that Australians like to eat fast food more than any other country in the world. Mums and dads are time poor and find it challenging to cope with feeding hungry hordes after a long day at work; and takeaway food often seems to be the quickest and easiest option. While other sections of the community aren’t immune from the lure of fast food; such as young adults with little or no cooking experience. Some interesting facts:

— The average Australian family spends around one third of the total household food budget on foods prepared outside the home, including restaurant meals, fast food and takeaways.

— Of the 51.5 million visits Australians pay to fast food restaurants each month, just 21 million are for dining in, while the majority of visits are for take-away meals.

— The Enhanced Media Metrics Australia (EMMA) report found young Australians were the most likely to eat out and eat fast food, with 60% of those aged 14-29 eating fast food at least once a month compared with the national average of 45%.

— The EMMA report asked respondents about attitudes to cooking and found that young people lacked confidence in the kitchen. Less than one-fifth of people aged 14-29 said they felt confident about cooking.

— Takeaway fries, chicken nuggets and other deep fried foods absorb a substantial amount of fat per portion.

— One of the largest takeaway food chain’s hamburger combo meal, including fries and soft drink, weighs in at 5500 kilojoules! That’s around 1300 calories in just one meal.

— Fast food retailers offer larger portions for little extra cost, making it easy to consume extra kilojoules.

— Frequent consumption of fast/takeaway foods can put you at higher risk of heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure.

— Australians consume on average more than 40g of saturated fat per day – recommended intake is 20g daily.

However, market surveys also show that Australians would like healthier food takeaway options. Whilst there are lower fat and salt options that you can choose i.e. grilled fish and salad, gourmet pizzas with less cheese and meats, grilled chicken instead of fried etc., the most healthy option is to be a little better prepared the next time you don’t want to cook.

— In the last few years the quality and availability of pre-prepared food has risen, with more options to suit various tastes and dietary requirements.

— You can use meals as alternative pizza toppings i.e. Korma Lamb Curry or Moroccan Chicken Tagine. You can make your own base or purchase from the chiller section at supermarkets and delicatessens.

— Heat up some of our Thai Chicken Curry with steamed rice and veges or a vermicelli salad and you have Thai Takeaway at your fingertips!

— A batch of baked polenta or sweet potato chips as an accompaniment to a main meal is a great source of nutrients, not to mention that they’re yummy. Easy to make and freeze, ready for your next takeaway night.

— Make it a family affair, dishes like Indian Curries make for a great shared feast served with rice, papadums and other sides, while Chicken Burrito mix is great served with tacos, as a quesadilla or even in a lettuce cup.

Families, Healthy, Meals, Nutrition, Tips