Healthy Recipes Inspired by Restaurant Meals
I am going to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready? Okay here goes… Dietitians will order take out sometimes. I know, shocker!
Restaurant meals can definitely be a convenient dinner option. It is fast, requires little effort, and is usually pretty delicious. The problem with eating out frequently, is the sodium, fat content, and price tag that often comes with it! That is where these healthy restaurant recipes come into play!
We set out to bring you some of our favorite take out dishes, but in an easy to make at home way! These come together quickly, and make excellent leftovers. They are also great for meal prep. Do you have a take out recipe that you would like to see remade? Let us know in the comments below!
Restaurant Recipe Remakes
1. Pad Thai
This easy Pad Thai comes together really quickly. It is filled with veggies, and you can combine different proteins to get different flavorful dishes!
Check out the recipe here for a hearty and delicious low FODMAP Pad Thai!
2. Beef Lo-Mein
The perk of making this beef lo mein at home is that not only can you increase the veggies, BUT you can use lean beef to help control the saturated fat content of the dish.
3. Cava Falafel Bowl
Did you know Trader Joe’s has a ton of quick food options that can help you create a fun and interesting meal in no time? For example, they have super easy falafel and a cruciferous crunch mix that works great for a Cava remake. However, you can find other delicious foods to put into these Cava bowls at other stores as well. Recipe here! Want to make your own falafel? Check out our delicious Air Fried Falafel Bites below!
4. Air Fried Falafel Bites
Falafels are usually deep fried when you get them for take out. I love using vegetarian protein sources whenever I can, but deep frying can add undesirable saturated fats to your meal. Air frying falafel is the perfect solution!
This recipe is easy to make a larger batch, so you can save some to use in your lunches throughout the week.
5. Teriyaki Chicken
This recipe reminds me of the hibachi style dishes you can find at the Japanese steak houses. I used coconut aminos teriyaki sauce while making this (which is gluten free), but feel free to substitute any other of your favorite teriyaki sauce (or make your own!)
6. Buffalo Cauliflower With Greek Yogurt Ranch
Who does love to go out and get some good ol’ buffalo hot wings with ranch on game day? While there is definitely appeal to some to those types of bites, they can also be high in fat and sodium.
These buffalo cauliflower bites are high in fiber, and low in fat! And did I mention, delicious?
7. 5 Ingredient Chicken Curry
This chicken curry only has 5 ingredients and comes together so quickly, so there is no reason to not make it at home! You will save on money and will have leftovers for the next day!
8. Egg Roll in a Bowl
Who doesn’t love a good egg roll? Warm savory filling surrounded by a crispy shell? But a deep fried egg roll may not always be the best option if you’re watching your saturated fat intake.
How about an egg roll in a bowl instead?
All the delicious flavors without the deep fried wrapper. You can cut the saturated fat content a little more by using a leaner meat like ground chicken!
9. Sweet and Spicy Honey Sesame Chicken
This recipe is one of those meals that we make and then pat ourselves on the back. It’s that good. Sweet and saucy chicken with a hint of spice.
Serve over rice with some roasted broccoli for a complete meal!
10. Shrimp Fried Rice
This might be the fastest dish of the bunch. Shrimp can defrost in no time, and if you have leftover rice from another meal, this is the way to go! By using frozen veggies, this makes a great dinner using panty basics.
11. Gluten Free Pizza
Mmmm pizza. I have a few friends that are gluten free for health reasons, so sometimes they miss out on ordering pizza. With this almond crust pizza, everyone can enjoy! The crust comes together quickly, and everyone can top as desired!
But what if you’re dairy free too? Don’t worry, we got you. Here’s our favorite gluten free dairy free pizza!
12. Caesar Salad Summer Rolls
Salad is a favorite appetizer for me. I love to start my meal with a bowl of greens! When I’m at a restaurant, a good caesar salad will do the trick! But why not try something new? Caesar salad wrapped in rice paper for a fun twist on a classic!
Spring rolls are so easy to make and can be customized to each person!
13. Lamb Gyros
Greek food is my jam, and I love a good Greek wrap. I used to love ordering gyros at restaurants until I finally did a remake at home and I haven’t looked back! A twice cooked method creates thin and crispy slices of meat, which can then be topped with all the goods, aka tzatziki, olives, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etc.
Check it out here!
14. Oven Fried Chicken
While fried chicken can make a quick dinner option, it can often be high in fat and sodium. This oven baked version is quick to put together, delicious, and gets very crispy in the oven!
15. Baked BBQ Chicken Wings
These baked BBQ chicken wings are going to change the way you think about wings forever. They are baked in the oven, and seasoned with a dry rub! Definitely make these for your next game day!
Here is the recipe!
There you have it! 15 healthy recipes inspired by restaurant meals. When I feel like my meal prep is just stuck in a rut, my favorite way to plan my meals is by using my favorite restaurant meals as inspiration!
Do you need inspiration for more healthy restaurant recipes? Make an appointment with one of our dietitians by calling 301-474-2499 or clicking here.
-Blog reviewed and updated by Rebecca Bitzer MS RD LD September 10, 2021
Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or a seasoned chef, Dietitian Klara will work with you to help you reach your nutrition goals. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating, Cooking with Diabetes and Cooking with Food Sensitivities Guide.
I think the Lo Mein has my name on it! Do you have recipes for these?!
yup! They are linked! But I just added another link!
What an excellent topic! It is SO helpful for families to know they can indeed make some healthier versions of familiar favorites at home.
I love making my own take-out favorites at home. I get to add more veggies and make it just the way I want and my body thanks me for it (lower sodium, less junk…. ). : )
I am salivating over the Tom Yum soup, my favorite!!
Great list! I love trying to recreate take out meals!
Love all these ideas!