No this is not a joke!! I am not saying run to McDonalds today.. But it happens. Long road trips, lunches with co-workers, driving with the kids after school or soccer practice, or you are with your spouse/significant other/boyfriend or friends and they want to stop for a burger and fries, what do you do?? It happens to all of us.. Me too!! My son is Little Mr. Fast Food!! Some of his play dates happen at fast food places.. He loves Chik Fila.. What do you do??
You know fast food is definitely not for you, if you are trying to stay in shape or want to continue on your health journey..Its a real bad epidemic out there… It contributes significantly to obesity. Read Fast Food Nation. Or See Super Size Me. If you’re really serious about getting or staying in shape, fast food restaurants are not on your path to success.
While the fast food companies have generally shown an appalling disregard for their customers’ health, they have been shamed by our nation’s obesity epidemic into offering some menu items that have some nutritional value. They still can’t resist adding a little unneeded fat or extra high-fructose corn syrup just to spice things up, so it’s wise to take a buyer-beware approach when ordering your meal. Here are some tips to make healthier choices and some suggestions about the healthiest (relatively speaking) things to order at some of the major fast food chains.
1. Get less for your money. This may seem counter intuitive, but the so-called value meals really only offer you extra calories, saturated fat, sugar, and other diet killers. While it may seem like an unbelievable deal that you can get twice as many fries for only 19 more cents, it’s a bit of a false economy, unless you’re saving up for a bypass operation. If you really want to save money, pack a lunch.
2. Discover your inner child. The best place to find a reasonably sized portion for an adult is, sadly, the children’s menu. Bowing to the horrible publicity created by childhood obesity, fast food companies have made the most improvements to their kids’ menus. In fact, at some restaurants, the kids’ meal is the only way you can get healthy sides like fruit or carrots. Don’t be ashamed to order the junior hamburger or even the kids’ meal. You might get a free toy in the transaction!
3. Stick to salads. A big problem with fast food is that many innocent-looking nuggets and patties are loaded with added fats, flavorful chemicals, and high-fructose corn syrup, which wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels not to mention they do who-knows-what-else to your body. So, order the salad. You’re probably not going to be eating organic fruits and vegetables in these salads, but they’re probably less adulterated with bad-for-you additives than the other options. Until you get to the dressing. Ask for oil and vinegar or a vinegar-based dressing like Italian. Also, most places give you enough dressing to dress several salads so use only half the packet of dressing or ask for a side cup you can squirt it into, and then dip your fork in the dressing before you take a bite of salad.
4. Beware of “theme” salads. It’s called a salad. It looks like a salad. It has lettuce. It must be a salad…right? Don’t be fooled by clever naming tricks. One restaurant I went to had a “cheesesteak salad” on its menu. And, a taco salad at most places includes all the unhealthy ingredients you’re trying to avoid. Use common sense when selecting a salad. Make sure all the ingredients are vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins you can recognize.
5. Have it your way. Remember the old Burger King jingle, “Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us”? Take them at their word—only don’t hold the pickle and the lettuce, and do hold the mayo and ketchup that includes high-fructose corn syrup. Ask if you can substitute the breaded chicken breast for the grilled chicken breast, wheat buns for white buns, or better yet , no bun at all!! Ask for extra veggies. And hold the “cheez,” especially if it’s spelled with a “z.” Tell them you’d rather salt the fries yourself. When you order the “healthy” grilled-chicken or fish sandwiches, make sure they’re not loaded with mayo or special sauces. Ask for salsa or mustard instead. Yes, you’re being picky. But, it’s your health that’s on the line here!
6. Watch what you drink. The most profitable menu items for restaurants are soft drinks. They cost almost nothing to make and what you get in return is tons of sugar and chemicals, and maybe, eventually, diabetes! Try to stick with unsweetened iced tea or water. And to play the broken record again, if you must get soda, get the small size.
7. A milkshake is not a drink. It will often be suggested that you wash down your burgers and fries with a frosty milkshake. Sounds good, right? You can tell yourself you’re getting your calcium! You’re also getting over 1,000 calories if you get a large size at some restaurants. Even the kid sizes come in at 300 plus calories. Your drink shouldn’t have more calories than your meal.
I hope these little tips help you with making your selections at some fast food places.. The best thing for you to do if you are trying to be healthy, is to always have healthy snacks or lunches, pre-packed so if you are ever put into a situation where you have to go through a drive thru or go into a fast good restaurant, you are prepared..
Stay tuned for my blog on the “Worst Fast Food” Places to visit!!
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