Healthy eating habits/Helping Middle-Aged Men Choose Healthier Takeaway Foods at Work

How do we fit vegetables in to such a busy, 'on-the-go' working lifestyle?

Setting the Scene


Be it at the office, building site, or car yard, all working men relate to the convenience of 'grabbing your lunch and go’ during busy times. Being realistic, your long-term health isn't exactly a priority when e-mails are to be sent, phone calls are to be made, and deals negotiated.

Are takeaway foods healthy options?

Commercial burgers are typical takeaway foods high in fat, salt, and refined carbohydrate

While takeaway foods are usually tasty, affordable, and most importantly, ‘time-savers’, they are high in nutrients our bodies don’t need large amounts of, like salt, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates. These nutrients should be moderated throughout our day, as in large amounts over many weeks, months and years, they can cause us long-term health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity [1].

Adding nutrition to takeaway foods


While is it very difficult to find takeaway foods which aren't filled with nutrients we don’t need so much of, knowing some quick and simple ways to add extra nutrition into them can be a very handy skill. Studies have shown that vegetables offer adult men many nutritional and lifestyle benefits, so it is important that you include vegetables into your daily routine where possible, so you can benefit from these.

Why eat more vegetables?

Just 1 serve of vegetables can help give you energy to sustain concentration

The vitamins and minerals found in the vegetables you eat can help your body produce energy, and the fibre content can help you feel full for longer. These benefits mean you are less likely to grab a chocolate bar or pastry, for example, to give you that 3 o'clock energy boost. Vegetables therefore give you proper nutrition to enable you to concentrate on the important tasks at work, get through the day without feeling sluggish, and prevent you from falling ill.

B vitamins Important for creating the body's energy from food
Magnesium Immune booster
Zinc Immune function, improved mood, and sexual health
Vitamins, A, E & K Antioxidants for heart and vascular health


What is a Serve of Vegetables?

Fresh vegetables in a range of types and colours may offer health benefits


One serve of vegetables is equivalent to:

1 cup or 75g salad vegetables
1/2 cup of cooked vegetables or legumes
1 medium potato (deep fried potato chips excluded)


How Many Serves Are Recommended?


Six serves of vegetables are recommended for an Australian middle-aged man every day to maintain good health [1], so aiming to eat 1 serve while at work is achievable.

Tasty takeaway foods with a serve of vegetables


This list of takeaway foods may make your future work selections easier (and healthier!)

Exotic, flavorsome Greek salad
Tasty toasted tuna salad sandwich
Vegetarian Japanese sushi hand rolls
Steamed Asian vegetables eaten with meat and rice
Container of minestrone soup
Garden salad
Bakery-prepared salad sandwich
Kebab wrap with added lettuce, tomatoes, onion, olives, capsicum etc...
Jacket potato/spud with added vegetables e.g. peas, carrot, corn


When selecting your choices, refrain from adding condiments such as sauces, as these are are high in salt, fat, and sugar

Some additional tips

  • Making a salad sandwich the night before work
  • Adding vegetables to recipes for stews and casseroles, pastas, stir-fries, and BBQ beef patties
  • Adding as many vegetables e.g. grated lettuce, tomato etc... as possible to takeaway foods such as Subway sandwiches and other commercial burgers.
  • Using vegetable patties for burgers


To give you some additional ideas you probably hadn't thought of, visit the Baker IDI's Healthy Eating Out & Take Away Foods Tip Sheet.

Adding vegetables to a variety of delicious foods from each of the food groups shown in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating is a great way to achieve long-term health

What are the long term health benefits?


Eating more vegetables now can secure improved long-term health. Aim to eat vegetables with as many healthy foods from each of the 5 food groups typical of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating Pie Chart

Vegetables may contribute to:

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced blood pressure & cholesterol levels
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Regularity with high amounts of dietary fibre
  • Improved concentration and productivity with a range of vitamins & minerals[1]

A simple vegetable addition to your takeaway food is an invaluable step towards better health. Certainly it's a worthy investment if it means spending time with family and friends, socializing, and going to the footy.

Want more healthy eating tips?




  1. a b c d e National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013. Australian Dietary Guidelines. Retrieved 21/10/2013 from: Invalid <ref> tag; name "(NHMRC, 2013)." defined multiple times with different content
  2. Liu RH., 2003. Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 78(3): 517S-520S
  3. Rickman JC., Bruhn CM., Barrett DM., 2003. Nutritional comparison of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables II. Vitamin A and carotenoids, vitamin E, minerals and fiber. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 87(7): 1185-1196
  4. a b Baker Heart and Diabetes institute, 2014. Healthy Eating Out & Takeaway Foods. Retrieved 04/10/2014 from:
  5. DAA, 2014. What takeaway foods are healthy?. Retrieved 11/10/2014 from: