Fast food is cheap, convenient, filling, and to many of us, it tastes good. For busy working women and moms who are constantly on the go, if you are eating out, a fast food restaurant is often the fastest, most inexpensive option. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the time it is not a healthy choice. In fact, eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium, and fat for an entire day or more! Done on a regular basis, a steady diet consisting of fast food can also lead to a host of different health problems, weight gain being one of them.
Still, the convenient temptation of fast food can often be hard to resist. As an informed customer, though, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the price and convenience of fast-food restaurants. At the Women's Club, we understand that from time to time, fast food dining is going to happen so here is some fabulous and practical nutrition advice for women to help you make better choices when Mickey D's, Wendy's, Burger King, and the like are one the menu!
Check out these 7 Fast Food Meals Under 350 Calories from the author of the smash-hit book series Eat This, Not That!
Other suggestions to help fight the battle of the fast-food bulge:
- Make careful menu selections – pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats.
- Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp with regular cola packs about 425 calories, so one Big Gulp can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea.
- “Undress” your food. When choosing items, be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without mayonnaise. You can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself, controlling how much you put on your sandwich.
- Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
- Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for our bodies to register that we have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied.
More Guides to Making Healthier Choices at Your Favorite Restaurant
America's Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants – a survey of the 100 largest fast-food chains in America, listing the healthiest places to eat, and healthiest meals to choose from. (Health Magazine)
Healthy dining finder – This comprehensive website provides nutritional analysis for hundreds of popular restaurants. Alphabetical listings help you find the healthiest choices at your favorite eatery.(Healthy Dining Program)
Stop&Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide – Offers practical advice to help you navigate the nutritional options at 70 popular chains. Includes a free, downloadable 146-page colored-coded guide. (Steven Aldana, Ph.D.)
Portions of this post originally appeared on HelpGuide.org
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