How many calories are in your favorite Indian takeout – and the healthiest choices on the menu

THERE are few better feelings than when a delivery driver knocks on your door to hand you your Indian takeaway.

The smell of hot spices wafts through the house and your stomach growls at the thought of what’s about to hit it.


Treating yourself this way is an important part of life – and every once in a while, it won’t cause long-term damage to your health.

However, if you regularly order fast food, it may be helpful to take note of the number of calories and fat you consume.

Dietitian and nutritionist Jo Travers said: “British Indian takeaways can be quite unhealthy compared to other fast foods – but it really depends on what you order.

“If you get vegetables and dal with your main dish, it can be quite appreciated.

“But if it’s all poppadoms and naan and no plants, then it’s about on par with pizza and fish and chips.”

Eating too many calories and too much fat can cause you to gain weight.

As most people know, being overweight or obese puts you at increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

So how many calories are in your favorite dishes and is it time to change your order?

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You may be relieved to learn that menus contain items ranging from almost no calories to almost 1,000.

When it comes to fat, there are also huge variations between dishes – from 0g to 56g.

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Although the exact amount in each metal tray remains a mystery, given that takeaways often don’t reveal the numbers and these differ from location to location, diet websites can give us a fair estimate.

According to UK-based food diary app Nutracheck, the worst offender is butter chicken.

The deliciously silky curry, also called murgh makhani, usually contains yogurt, butter, oil and heavy cream, all of which increase fat levels.

On average, the takeout will contain around 896 calories and 56g of fat.

That’s almost half the recommended daily calorie intake for women (2,000) — and that’s before adding the rice and sides.

It is only slightly superior to the equally creamy chicken korma (865 calories and 54 g) – also made from yogurt, with the addition of nuts.

Third on the list of worst offenders is the crowd-favorite chicken tikka masala, with 768 calories and 48g of fat.

That’s about the same calorie content as a Domino’s Meat Lovers Personal Pizza (747).

High and low calorie options


  • Main dish: butter chicken (896)
  • Side dishes: rice pilaf (514), saag paneer (366), peshwaari naan (592)

Total: 2,368


  • Main dish: Pork Vindaloo (448)
  • Side dishes: saag aloo, (176), vegetable samosa (146), poppadom (35)

Total: 805

The middle ranks include madras shrimp (541 and 39 g), chicken jalfrezi (488 and 27 g), and pork vindaloo (448 and 27 g).

And at the very bottom, unsurprisingly, are dips like mango chutney (38 and 0 g) and raita (14 and 0.6 g).

As for side dishes, maybe skip the saag paneer, which is made with cubed cheese, spinach and onion.

This one has 366 calories per small dish and 30g of fat – almost the same as some curries.

Chapatis and naans can also be quite rich in both, especially in the peshwaari variety (592 and 19 g).

The healthiest options

Luckily, it’s possible to eat relatively healthily while enjoying a British Indian takeaway.

The main thing is to choose tomato-based sauces rather than creamy sauces, to avoid fried dishes and, above all, not to overdo it!

Jo, from London Nutritionist, said: “Creamy sauces have the highest calories – think korma, pasanda etc. – but those with tomatoes are much weaker.

“However, I would say the thing to watch out for is really the carbs that come with it.

“If you eat rice and naan, those calories really go up.

“I always recommend sticking to a small serving of carbs at a time.

“Indian takeaways have fantastic veggie and lentil options, but avoid large servings of carbs.”

Calorie counting websites like Nutracheck, Nutritionix, and MyFitnessPal can also help you make informed decisions.

The recommended daily intake of calories and fat

The key to a healthy diet is consuming the right amount of calories for your body.

This will depend on several factors, including your height, age, gender and activity level.

If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you will gain weight, and if you eat too little, you will lose it.

The recommended daily calorie intake for men in the UK is 2,500, while women should have around 2,000.

On average, men should consume no more than 30g of saturated fat per day, but women should limit themselves to 20g.

Source: ENM

Dietitian and nutritionist Jo Travers


Dietitian and nutritionist Jo TraversCredit: Jo Travers

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