11 January 2011: The Irish are choosing to cheer themselves up this January rather than stick to strict New Year resolutions, as Just-Eat.ie, the Ireland’s largest online takeaway ordering service, has seen a 30% rise in weekend takeaway orders during the beginning of the month, compared to an average weekend.

More customers are also searching for healthier options, so Just-Eat has teamed up with nutritionist Carina Norris to provide hints and tips as to the best takeaway orders to choose if you’re counting your calories:

1) Indian: Go for oven-cooked Tandoori and Tikka dishes (not Tikka massala which comes with a rich sauce), rather than curries. If you do have a curry, choose one with a tomato-based sauce like a rogan josh, rather than a creamy korma.  Save extra calories by having a chapatti rather than naan, and boiled rice rather than pilau.

2) Chinese: Avoid deep-fried starters like prawn toasts, prawn crackers and spring rolls. As with Indian, have boiled or steamed rice rather than fried. Run a mile from anything involving ‘ribs’, as it will be high in saturated fat, calories and probably sugar.

3) Thai: Thai is generally a very healthy cuisine. Steamed dishes, especially fish, are healthier than those that are fried.  Watch out for the peanuts, which feature highly in Thai recipes – they’re high in fat and often salt.

4) Pizza: Always have a thin and crispy base rather than deep-pan or stuffed-crust. And ask for the maximum amount of vegetables (full of vitamins and fibre) in your topping; tomatoes are particularly nutritious, and cooking them makes the nutrients easier to absorb. Finally, go easy on the cheese, to cut your intake of saturated fat and salt.

5) Fish and Chips: Choose fish in crumbs rather than batter and – if you can – leave some of the coating. Go for the smallest portion of chips or, even better, have baked beans or mushy peas instead. All this will help keep the fat content down.

6) Avoid anything deep fried where possible, as it will be high in fat. Stir-fried dishes are better as they involve less oil, but best of all are those that are baked, grilled, braised or steamed.

7) Many Indian, Thai and Chinese dishes contain spices with healthy properties, such as turmeric, ginger and chilli. These can help fight colds and flu, but still remember to check what sauce they come in.

8 ) Chicken, turkey and fish are lower in fat (especially saturated fat) than red meats like beef and lamb. Avoid duck if you’re trying to be low-fat.

9) Vegetarian dishes based around pulses (beans and lentils) are often the most healthy. As well as being low in fat, pulses are high in fibre, which is good for your digestive system and extra-filling too.

10) If you have chips, choose thick ones rather than thin-cut French fries. Chunky chips have less surface area exposed to the frying oil, so they soak up less of it.

Healthy Option 1 Healthy Option 2
Indian Chicken Tikka with half a Naan Bread = 390 calories Dhakla (Lentil dish) with half a Naan Bread = 335 calories
Chinese Lemon Chicken with Steamed Rice = 210 calories Mushroom Chow Mein and a Vegetable Spring Roll = 250 calorie
Pizza Two slices of Thin Base Pepperoni Pizza (medium) with half a Garlic Bread and Salad (no dressing) = 380 calories Two slices of Cheese and Tomato Pizza (medium size) with half a portion of Potato Wedges and Salad (no dressing) = 410 calories
Thai Thai Green Curry with Chicken, stir fry vegetables and one Spring Roll = 550 calories Soup, Tom Yam (Hot & Sour) followed by Thai Banana and Green Chilli Salad with one Spring Roll = 310 calories
Turkish Small Chicken Shish Kebab with Pitta Bread and Salad =240 calories Small Kofta Kebab with Pitta Bread and Salad = 260 calories
Italian Medium portion of Spaghetti in a chunky Tomato, Onion and Garlic sauce with half a Garlic Bread = 500 calories Tuscan Style Pasta Chicken Alfredo = 600 calories
Fish & Chips Small portion of Chips with breaded Cod Fillet = 630 calories
Japanese Fish Sushi Roll Platter – Salmon, Tuna, Prawn, Vegetable, and Shrimp with a Seaweed Salad = 400 calories Vegetable Combo with 10 pieces with a Nigiri Egg Omelette = 370 calories
Mexican Two Sizzling Lime Chicken Fajitas with Salad = 450 calories Sautéed Mushrooms Onions & Bell Peppers to start followed by Vegetarian Chilli with boiled rice = 520 calories
American Flame Grilled Chicken Salad and small Fries = 328 calories Veggie Burger (in a bun) and half portion of Garlic Bread = 367 calories