Hidden Calories in Takeaway Lunches

At first glance many popular takeaway lunches seem like the healthy choice, but in truth many are loaded with hidden calories. By the day’s end it’s likely that you’ll have maxed out your calorie budget, leading to sneaky weight gain and, not to mention, the strain on your wallet!

We’ve crunched the numbers on some common takeaway lunches, and the results are in!

Wraps & Breads

  • Chicken, bacon & avocado toastie = 846 calories
  • Grilled chicken panini  = 804 calories
  • Vegetarian burrito with fillings & dressing = 778 calories
  • Beef burrito = 771 calories
  • Veggie burger = 695 calories
  • Ham, cheese & tomato toastie = 604 calories


  • Free range, chicken, lentils & kale salad = 909 calories
  • Deli style chicken Caesar salad = 600 calories
  • Gourmet tuna pasta salad – medium = 594 calories
  • Superpower salad with quinoa = 539 calories
  • Noodle salad = 520 calories

Noodles, Soups & Rice 

  • Fragrant Thai chicken noodles – regular = 1021 calories
  • Chicken sesame soy noodles – regular = 974 calories
  • Hokkien Me – regular = 837 calories
  • Seafood Laksa = 836 calories
  • Bento Box = 634 calories
  • Nasi Goreng – small = 582 calories


  • Start Me Up smoothie – regular = 658 calories
  • Mango Magic smoothie – 600ml = 435 calories
  • Energy Lift smoothie – 600ml  = 415 calories
  • Green mango smoothie – regular = 507 calories

Lighten Up Your Lunch

Reclaim your lunch break and ditch the long queues by preparing your own lunch. Time-wise, it’s often faster to be organised for lunch than it is to walk to a café or fast food outlet. Getting lunch right is key to a balanced diet, a trim waistline and can have a huge impact on how we EAT and FEEL for the rest of the day.

Here are our expert tips on how to lighten up your lunch!

1. Plan Ahead

Lunch isn’t going to make itself appear – you’ve got to get organised! Sit down on the weekend, grab a cuppa and plan out your lunches for the week. Then you can blissfully breeze through the week knowing lunch is sorted.

2. Add Some Veggies

Whatever your lunch is, sneak in some vege to provide low calorie bulk and a boost of fibre. Some top ideas are to add a handful of salad into a sandwich, chop up a few veggies sticks and eat with hummus or if you’re in an office setting, throw a veggie steam bag in the microwave to eat alongside lunch.

3. Makeover Your Salad

Many pre-made salads contain loads of nutritious ingredients, however the mix of carbs, protein, fats and plant food isn’t always ideal. Now, don’t go thinking you can’t make friends with salad – because you can! The secret is to base you salad on plant food and add a palm size portion of protein, a cupped handful of smart carbs and a thumb size amount of healthy fats.

HEALTHY IDEA: Tuna Nicoise Salad – Salad greens, green beans, cherry tomatoes, small tin of tuna, hard-boiled egg, two small cooked and cooled salad potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil vinaigrette. Take dressing separately and add before serving.

4. Wrap It Right

Thick breads, oversized wraps, hidden fats and fillings galore can easily turn a humble sandwich or wrap into a meal for two! The smart choice is to select a wholegrain bread or wrap, add some protein, a little healthy fat and bulk it out with plenty of plant food. When you take a bite you want to hear the crunch!

HEALTHY IDEA: Wholegrain wrap with shaved turkey, a dollop of hummus and plenty of salad.

5. Weekend Food Prep

You’ll thank yourself mid-week for being organised with lunch. In cooler months you may like to make a delicious soup or you could use this time to cook up a few ingredients to toss into a salad e.g. boiled eggs, roast chicken or small salad potatoes which form gut friendly resistant starch when they cool.

6. Make Use of Leftovers

There is nothing wrong in using leftover Sunday’s roast meat in a wrap or perhaps thrown together with some sliced vege and brown rice for a hunger busting salad. When it comes to leftovers, get creative! Some of your best lunches may come about from clever use of these pre-loved meals.

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2 thoughts on “Hidden Calories in Takeaway Lunches

  1. What are the best takeaway lunches for those times when making your own is just not possible?

    1. Hi Simine – Look for salad and sandwich bars where you can make your own. Choose plenty of different colour salad and veggie options – things like lettuce, capsicum, tomatoes, and add sliced egg, sliced low fat cheese and meat like shaved ham or shredded chicken (avoid the crumbed and/or deep fried meats) to get protein. Avoid the calorie laden dressings and bread spreads, so replace mayonnaise with some smashed avocado or a scrape of mustard. Look for multigrain bread, or rye rather than plain white and you will be set to go!

      All the best,
      12WBT Support Crew

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