Fortunately, many fast food restaurants offer healthy food items. The key is to choose wisely. Following are six ways to make fast food healthier:
1. Keep portion sizes small. If the fast-food restaurant offers several sandwich sizes, pick the smallest or order half a sandwich, if available. If you want a burger, choose the kid-sized hamburger, which has about 250 to 300 calories.
2. Choose a healthier side dish. For example, instead of french fries choose a side salad with low-fat dressing or a baked potato. Or add a fruit bowl or a fruit and yogurt option to your meal. Other healthy choices include apple or orange slices, corn on the cob, steamed rice, or baked potato chips.
3. Go for the greens. Choose a large entree salad with grilled chicken, shrimp or garden vegetables with fat-free or low-fat dressing on the side, rather than regular salad dressing, which can have 100 to 200 calories per packet. Watch out for high-calorie salads, such as those with deep-fried shells or those topped with breaded chicken or other fried toppings. Also skip salad extras, such as cheese, bacon bits, croutons and fried chips, which quickly increase your calorie count.
4. Opt for grilled items. Fried and breaded foods, such as crispy chicken sandwiches and breaded fish fillets, are high in fat and calories. Select grilled or roasted lean meats - such as turkey or chicken breast, lean ham, or lean roast beef.
5. Have it your way. Don't settle for what comes with your sandwich or meal. Ask for healthier options and substitutions. For example, ask for reduced-fat mayonnaise or mustard on your sandwich. Or at a fast-food Mexican restaurant, request salsa with your meal instead of shredded cheese and nacho cheese sauce. Try to avoid special dressings, tartar sauce, sour cream and other high-calorie condiments.
6. Watch what you drink. Many beverages are high in calories. For example, a large regular soda (32 ounces) has about 300 calories.
You can eat healthy away from home, even at fast-food restaurants. The bottom line: Be choosy. Make wise menu choices and focus on portion control.
Fast-Food Dilemma: Order the Small Fries or Splurge on the Large?
I'm Lovin' It: Man Loses 80 Pounds Eating McDonald's
© 2008 Thanks for taking the time to read A Junk-Foodaholic's Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle. Please feel free to peruse my blog for more great content.
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Hi Laura, thank you for sharing these tips. I like tip #1. Oh boy, I like hamburgers from Hardee's.
Btw, tonight, I ate 4 pcs. of pecan tart from walmart and it's 17g of fats each. I need to run 8 miles tomorrow. sigh
great tips. grilled chicken is my favorite when i have to get some fast food. I also like the "have it your way" tip. It usually pretty easy to make a substitution or to get something healthier.
Great tips! I've always believed that there is no reason you can't eat healthier at any fast food place. No one is forcing fries down anyones throat.
Hi Raquel, Blake, Laura, and Kathleen! Thanks for commenting. I agree...there's no excuse when just about everywhere offers healthy menu items. And when I do eat a burger, I always choose a small one. But I DO have a hard time turning down the fries!
Hi Laura, excellent tips! But really wanted to let you know what a great job you did on Paul's new header...bravo!
Hi Mike! Thanks! :) It was actually kind of fun to do. The best part was seeing how happy Paul was when he saw it. He was so tickled he laughed out loud.
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