Healthy fast food
Finding a healthy and balanced meal at a fast-food restaurant cannot be easy.
Is healthy fast food possible?
It’s difficult to eat healthy when you eat at fast-food restaurants. Fast food is often high in calories, sodium, and unhealthy cholesterol. You can often eat enough for the entire day with one meal. Fast food is also low in nutrients, lacking fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid fast food completely. Fast food is great for when you are hungry or on the go. Fast food is convenient, affordable, delicious, and, most importantly, very cheap. While it is okay to indulge in a few cravings from time to time, it’s not healthy to make them a daily habit. Moderation is key. This applies to how often you eat at fast-food restaurants and what you order once there.
When trying to lose weight or improve your health, fast food menus can be a challenge. It cannot be easy to find healthy and balanced meals in fast-food restaurants. You can choose from many options that are healthier than others. These tips and recommendations will help you keep on track.
Keep your whole meal under 500 calories
An average adult consumes 836 calories per meal at fast-food restaurants. This is 175 calories more than what they ate. So don’t guess! Many chains provide nutritional information on their websites and at each franchise location. This information is important.
Choose foods with lower fat and more protein and fiber
Search for whole grains and high quality protein. Look for foods that have low levels of saturated fats. Avoid trans fats.
You can bring your own condiments if you want to give yourself a healthy boost
You can plan ahead and bring healthy toppings such as dried fruits, nuts and seeds and carrot sticks, apple slices or pear slices, cottage cheese, yogurt, and other healthy ingredients.
Watch your sodium intake
High sodium intake can lead to heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, adults should limit their sodium intake to 1500 mg per day and not consume more than 2,300 mg daily. This is difficult to do with fast food, even if you eat lower-calorie meals. It’s best to plan ahead and eat low-sodium meals before and after your fast food meal. You can reduce some of the harm by asking for your burger or other meat to be prepared without salt.
Fast food options that are healthier for you
It is much easier to make healthier choices when you plan ahead. Check out the nutrition guides posted by most chains on their websites. You can make smarter decisions even if you don’t have time to prepare. However, there are some common-sense guidelines that you can follow.
Guidelines for ordering healthier fast food
Pay attention to portion sizes. Fast food restaurants often offer enough food for multiple meals with a single meal. Don’t choose super-sized or value-sized food items. Stick to the smaller size for sandwiches, burgers, sides, and other meals. Children’s menus are also more affordable.
Choose grilled or roasted lean proteins
Avoid breaded and fried items like crispy chicken sandwiches or fish fillets. Instead, choose turkey, chicken breasts, lean ham or lean roast beef. Grilled skinless chicken is the best choice.
Be sure to read the description of the dish
High in unhealthy fats and calories, these dishes are often high in sodium. Similar to items in cream sauce or Alfredo.
You don’t have to order special
There are many menu items that can be made healthier by making some minor adjustments and substituting. You can request that the sauce or dressing be kept on the plate or served on the side. You can also request a whole-grain bread or a wheat bun to go with your hamburger.
Do not assume healthy-sounding foods are always the best
Many fast-food salads can be a health hazard, as they are often stuffed with high-fat dressings and fried toppings. It is important to read the nutrition facts before ordering.
Tips to control fast food calories
1. Avoid condiments and dressings that are high in calories and fat
Take care when choosing condiments and sauces. Mayonnaise- and oil based sauces are particularly high in calories. Hold the mayonnaise and ask for a packet with mustard or ketchup that you can make yourself. This will allow you to control how much you put on your sandwich.
Avoid high-calorie sodas. A large soda can easily contain 300 calories. This can quickly add up to a significant portion of your daily calorie intake. Shakes can contain as many as 800 calories and as much saturated fat per day. Don’t let lemonade or fruit drinks fool you. They add calories and sugar to your diet, but not much else. Instead, order water, diet soda, and unsweetened tea.
2. Think carefully about side dishes
Avoid menu items that include one or more sides. Fries, chips, fries, potato chips, pasta, coleslaws, onion rings and coleslaw are all side dishes that can quickly increase calories. Side salads with light dressings, baked potatoes (easy on the toppings), fresh fruits cups, corn on a cob, and apple slices are better options.
3. Skip the French fries
Sandwiches and burgers should be enough food to fill you up. If you don’t feel like your meal is complete without fries, go for the smallest portion (which can have 400 calories less than a large one).
4. Don’t add bacon to your sandwiches or salads
Bacon is very high in calories and fat. To add flavor and reduce fat, order extra pickles, onions or tomatoes.