10 sugar free alternatives to takeaways

In my household there are two reasons why we would get a take away. The first reason is that we are really short on time – we might be coming back late from somewhere and order it on the way back to save time, or we might be rushing out somewhere and not have much time to cook.  The second reason is that we like the takeaway food and don’t know how to make that kind of food at home.
The last time we got a take away was back in December and I decided I really wasn’t happy with the decision to get one and blogged about it here. I have the following problems with takeaways:
  1. They come in a whole load of disposable packaging
  2. I have yet to find one that is sugar, refined carbohydrate and wheat free and which uses only sustainable fish/  free range meat / free range eggs.
  3. They cost money that could be put to better use given points 1 & 2
I haven’t decided to quit having takeaways for ever, but I have put myself off having them if I can think of a better alternative. 
Very quick meals to make when short on time
  1. Omlette
  2. Scrambled egg with stir fried courgettes or other veg (chopped into small cubes)
  3. Cracker sandwiches (I used rice cakes with fillings like cheese, peanut butter or houmous)
  4. Couscous (if avoiding wheat there are other types of couscous e.g. barley couscous).  This can be flavoured once cooked in a variety of ways e.g. with soy sauce or oil and vinegar or butter or coconut oil.  It can be served with stir fried or raw chopped veg, sprinkled with nuts and/ or seeds or you could add cheese, egg, houmous or tinned fish…
  5. Soup – make it in advance and freeze it in portions for when you need it (or cheat and use a tin or packet, but be aware it will probably contain sugar…)
Make your own homemade takeaways
  1. Learn how to make your favourite takeaway meals from scratch and make them at your leisure when you have some spare time.
  2. Once you are an expert, make the sections of the meal in advance and freeze them e.g. if Chinese or Indian takeway is what you are after:
    1. Have frozen brown rice, barley or other grains on standby in the freezer to make a quick basis for a meal (be careful when freezing rice as you can get food poisoning from rice – see the video clip below on how to do it. The clip does suggest defrosting overnight, but I tend to defrost it in a saucepan with a little water and make sure it is piping hot before I eat it).
    2. Make sauces in bulk and freeze them in portions ready for a quick defrost to go with your frozen grains.
    3. Freeze meat cooked as part of other meals in pieces e.g. roast chicken or slow cooked lamb to use in your homemade takeaway.

Make a low effort meal
Sometimes cooking time isn’t a problem, but you need to be doing other things while the food is cooking, so here are a few ideas for low effort meals (once the food is cooking).
  1. Use a slow cooker and come home to a cooked meal (not one for me as I don’t have one, but I’d be interested to know if it works for you)!
  2. Put a baked potato on – it does take at least an hour to bake a potato in the oven, but you don’t have to do anything while it is in there.
  3. Most oven cooked foods that can be taken from the freezer and put straight in the oven are pretty low effort.  If you want home cooked chips or roast potatoes you can make them and freeze them in advance to be used another time and you can also make things like fish finger or burgers and freeze them too.
So there are good reasons to avoid takeaways and there are lots of alternatives. I’m pretty sure that I haven’t covered them all and there are still situations where it might just be easier to get one, but most of the time I’m hoping I will be able to avoid them.

Sustainable gift wrap course

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  1. Great tips. I love an omelette but mine tend to turn into a bit of a magnum opus and so aren't a quick meal by the time I'm done. I could knock one up quickly though of course 🙂

    Scrambled eggs on toast with a bit of salad is our best quick meal (I know you wouldn't have the toast) and I actually really enjoy eating this in the Evening.

    I implore you to get a slow cooker! You will not regret it!

  2. Zoe

    Thanks for the tips theFIREstarter – I can't get a slow cooker as I am buying nothing new (or secondhand) for months still… I might think about it when I've finished that particular challenge…

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