When you’re on a diet, fast food is not your first choice for your meals. However, there are going to be times when you need a meal quick, you forgot your lunch or something else comes up that necessitates a trip to a fast food restaurant. Eating fast food doesn’t have to be a worst-case scenario, though – there are ways to make sure you don’t gain weight when you head through the drive thru. Here are some tips to help you make healthy choices at fast food restaurants.
Avoid blatantly unhealthy menu options. Fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, or anything else similar) are loaded with fat. Any foods that are battered, scalloped or crispy also indicate higher-fat options. Choose grilled meats such as chicken and vegetables that are steamed or grilled.
Go light on the sauce. Condiments, salad dressing or other sauces contain high amounts of fat and calories. Order your sandwich plain and your dressing on the side in order to keep the fat and calories to a minimum.
Grab a salad. Keeping the dressing to a minimum, a salad is a healthy choice. Just don’t grab a salad loaded with fried meats or tons of add-ons (such as cheese, eggs, meats) and you have a healthy meal.
Opt out of cheese. Sure, cheese tastes good on your sandwich. But it also adds even more fat and calories – something that there’s already a lot of in fast food.
Choose a healthy side. Sure, the menu shows french fries, but that’s not your only option. Most fast-food restaurants substitute other sides for free, such as vegetables or fruits. Even if it costs you a little extra, the calories you will save make the choice worth it. If french fries are your only option, just don’t get a side. You don’t want to be tempted to eat them.
Think size. Order the smallest size on the menu. Junior burgers and sandwiches or small sides carry the least amount of calories, and you’re not tempted to overeat.
Order water. Don’t go for the high-calorie sodas. Instead, order a water. Water is good for you and carries no calories. Diet drinks are an alternative if you’re craving caffeine or don’t like water with your meal.
Take your time. If you eat slowly, you’re less likely to overeat. Remember to stop when you’re full.
If you want to see some restaurant-specific healthy fast food options, visit SparkPeople’s Healthy Fast Food.
AskMen: Healthy Fast Food
HelpGuide: Healthy Fast Food: Tips for Making Healthier Fast Food Choices