Delicious recipes to enjoy takeaways without piling on the pounds

Fabulous Friday night fakeaways: Prawn Thai curry and chicken yakitori… with these delicious recipes, you can enjoy the enticing flavours of your takeaway favourites without piling on the pounds

  • WW series gives inspiring yet simple recipes to help you get fitter after lockdown
  • Takeaway meals have soared during lockdown as people have started indulging
  • WW’s Julia Westgarth said takeaways are calorific and often high in fat and sugar
  • But WW’s healthy ‘fakeaway’ food include prawn Thai curry and chicken yakitori

At the end of a long week, it’s easy to reach for your favourite takeaway menu if you’re tired or stressed or simply in need of a treat.

So it’s hardly surprising that sales of takeaway meals soared during lockdown, with millions of us seeing our favourite Chinese or Indian meals or fish and chips as a small indulgence amid the rest of our worries.

‘Unfortunately, delicious as these meals are, they’re usually either fried in fat or laden with butter, cheese and sugars; you might be surprised at how calorific (and high in SmartPoints) they are,’ says Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers.

‘For instance, a medium 120g fillet of cod has either 0 or very low SmartPoints on all myWW+ plans, yet if you bought the same fish deep-fried in batter from a chip shop, it would set you back 23 SmartPoints (the equivalent to your entire day’s Budget on the Blue plan). And that’s without the chips!’ says Julia.

‘Fortunately, our expert nutritionists have devised clever adaptations so that you can still enjoy the enticing flavours of your takeaway favourites. For example, an average large four cheeses pizza has a SmartPoints value of 42, but we have pizza recipes on the myWW+ app for as low as 5 SmartPoints.

‘It might not be quite as easy as picking up the phone, but our recipes are all simple to prepare, far healthier and a fraction of the cost of a shop-bought meal.’

To show you how easy it is to prepare a home-made, healthy ‘fakeaway’, we’re sharing a selection of inspiring yet simple recipes today in the final instalment of our exclusive WW series to help you shed up to a stone and get fitter in time to enjoy the freedom of summer after lockdown.

Why not try our sweet chilli fish and chips recipe — a delicious alternative to the chip shop original, and with a SmartPoints value of 10 on Green, 8 on Blue and 3 on Purple, it’s more waistline-friendly, too (see MyMail.co.uk).

Or perhaps you’d prefer our aromatic prawn Thai curry (2 SmartPoints on Green; 1 on Blue and Purple) or the spicy Japanese chicken yakitori (15 SmartPoints on Green, 9 on Blue and Purple)?

‘But if your heart is set on a specific takeaway, that’s fine, too, so long as you’ve budgeted for it and track your SmartPoints. 

‘MyWW+ has been specifically designed to be flexible so that you can treat yourself using your Weeklies and your Rollover SmartPoints. And you can always boost your Budget by earning more FitPoints,’ says Julia.

‘Don’t forget the app is also there to help you make the healthiest choices; it has SmartPoint values for meals from most restaurant chains in the UK as well as for generic dishes such as a standard margherita pizza or a chicken tikka masala.’

Whatever you decide, put on some music and line up a movie to watch afterwards, and enjoy your evening!

PRAWN THAI CURRY

In the final instalment of the exclusive WW series, the focus is on delicious ways to prove how easy it is to prepare a healthy ‘fakeaway’ meal, including a prawn Thai curry (pictured)

Prep: 10 minutes l Cook: 30 minutes

Serves 4

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 450g butternut squash, cut into
  • 2cm pieces
  • 400g green beans, trimmed
  • 350g raw king prawns, peeled with tails left on
  • 400g cauliflower florets
  • Handful coriander, leaves picked and chopped

Heat the oil in a non-stick wok or frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the curry paste and stir for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Stir in the tomatoes and 250 ml water, then add the butternut squash and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the butternut squash is tender. 

If the curry sauce gets too thick, you may need to add a splash of water.

Add the beans and prawns to the wok, then cover and simmer for 3 minutes or until the beans are just tender and the prawns are cooked through.

Meanwhile, blitz the cauliflower in a food processor until it’s roughly the texture of rice.

Transfer to a large microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until tender.

Divide the cauliflower rice between bowls, top with the curry and serve garnished with the coriander.

myWW+: 2 SmartPoints value (green), 1 SmartPoints value (blue and purple)

SWEET AND SOUR CAULIFLOWER WITH RICE  

The selection of inspiring yet simple recipes to help you get fitter in time to enjoy the freedom of summer after lockdown include sweet and sour cauliflower with rice (pictured)

Prep: 10 minutes l Cook: 25 minutes 

Serves 4

  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 red and 1 green pepper, both deseeded and cut into 3 cm strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • ½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 60g reduced-sugar tomato ketchup
  • ½ x 435g tin pineapple chunks in juice, drained and juice reserved
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 x 250g pouches microwave basmati rice
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced, to serve 

Preheat the oven to 200c/ fan 180c/gas mark 6.

Put the cauliflower, onion, peppers, and garlic on a large baking tray, drizzle over the oil and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce and cornflour in a small bowl. 

Put the mixture in a non-stick wok or frying pan set over a medium heat, then whisk in the ketchup, pineapple juice, vinegar and 350 ml water. 

Simmer the mixture for 4- 5 minutes until thickened, then add the roasted vegetables and the pineapple. 

Cook, stirring, for 1 minute until everything is coated in the sauce.

Prepare the rice according to pack instructions, then divide between bowls.

Top with the sweet and sour cauliflower. Garnish with the spring onions. 

myWW+: 8 SmartPoints value (green, blue and purple)

CHICKEN YAKITORI 

Sales of takeaway meals have soared during lockdown, but why not make a chicken yakitori (pictured) instead of indulging in takeaway when in need of a treat

Prep: 10 minutes + marinating l Cook: 15 minutes

Serves 1

  • 165g skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and cut into 4 cm lengths
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds, to serve

FOR THE YAKITORI MARINADE

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp grated garlic
  • ¼ tsp grated ginger

FOR THE JAPANESE-STYLE RICE

  • ½ x 250g pouch microwave basmati rice
  • Calorie-controlled cooking spray
  • 50g carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 50g sugar snap peas, halved lengthways
  • 50g frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 1 sheet nori, cut in half and finely sliced (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Put all the marinade ingredients into a small pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until reduced. 

Pour into a small bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium-high and line a small baking tray with kitchen foil. Thread the chicken and spring onions onto skewers and put onto the tray. 

Cook under the grill for 5 minutes, turning once, then remove and brush with any of the remaining marinade. Put back under the grill and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the rice to pack instructions and set aside.

Mist a non-stick frying pan with cooking spray and cook the carrot, sugar snaps and edamame beans for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Add the nori, if using, and rice and stir-fry for 1 minute. Beat the egg with the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and then pour into the rice. 

Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until the egg is cooked. 

Serve with the chicken skewers garnished with the sesame seeds.

myWW+: 15 SmartPoints value (green), 9 SmartPoints value (blue and purple) 

HEALTHY TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR TAKEAWAY FAVOURITES 

If you’re making your own home fakeaways, there are some tricks to ensure they not only taste delicious, but are healthy, too.

THAI

Thai food can be surprisingly high in calories.

TIPS For the curry: Choose lean cuts of meat or fresh seafood (0 or low SmartPoints on all plans). Add crisp veg such as sugar snap peas and broccoli, plus herbs and spices including ginger and basil.

Choose reduced-fat coconut milk and replace some of it with stock: the sauce will still be rich.

For the rice: Swap white rice for cauliflower rice. Whiz the cauliflower in a food processor and then cook in a wok with a little water or oil. Add a little onion and turmeric for flavour.

TIP: Save SmartPoints by opting for brown rice.

ITALIAN

Italian takeaway staples such as pizza and pasta are often laden with cheese and oil, but you can still create your own amazing, healthy version.

TIPS For the pasta: Substitute pasta for courgette ‘spaghetti’ made using a spiraliser. A tomato passata can be turned into a showstopper by adding basil, olives, aubergine and peppers.

For the pizza: Use a wholemeal flatbread for the base. Load up on mushrooms, spinach and peppers, and choose lean meat or fish.

Fresh herbs or chilli add a powerful flavour hit. Sprinkle a mix of cheeses on top — such as mozzarella with parmesan — for a strong flavour using less cheese.

FISH AND CHIPS

Takeaway versions of fish and chips can be heavy on calories.

TIPS For the chips: For a healthier version, slice potato or sweet potato into chips and coat with calorie-controlled spray oil. Sprinkle with ground rock salt and rosemary. Bake until tender.

Alternatively, peel and de-seed a butternut squash, cut into chips, season, and bake for 35 minutes at 200 c/fan 180c/gas mark 6.

For the fish: Buy fresh white fish. It’ll taste great grilled with a dash of oil and seasoning. If you want a batter-style dish, dip the fish in whisked egg and coat in polenta sprinkled with parmesan. It’s super tasty and provides a great crunch, with far fewer calories.

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