Fast food has a reputation for being high in trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, and calories, while having next to no healthy ingredients.
Fast Food has this reputation, because it is true.
For example, one loaded hamburger, fries, and pie contain more saturated fat than you should eat in two days.
Ever been on the road for work or vacation? Sometimes it's close to impossible to prepare your own whole foods that are organic and unprocessed. So, what do we do?
The good news is that things SEEM TO BE changing. The past few years have seen many fast-food restaurants make an effort to market their improved menus. As a result, many restaurants now offer low-fat options and fresh ingredients. Still processed...still out of your control...yet still better than having no options.
But to do this, you must be an informed customer, resist menu temptations, and make healthy choices when it comes to fast food. Finding a nutritious, cheap, convenient meal is always a challenge.
...of menu lingo. Steer clear of meals labeled fried, breaded, basted, creamy, crispy, batter-dipped, Au gratin, scalloped, or Alfredo. These dishes are always high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and calories.
Instead, go for lean meat options that are broiled or grilled and fresh or steamed veggies. If needed, special order your food to be prepared in a healthier manner.
Skip the unhealthy SIDE DISH and order a double veggie dish!
...of extras. A salad may seem like a low-fat option until you drown it in fried toppings, high-fat dressing, and cheese. A deli sandwich is a great choice until you add the mayo, spreads, and cheeses. The same goes for a baked potato. What about the butter, cheese, bacon, salt, and mountain of sour cream?
Simple, fresh ingredients are best. Ask for dressings and toppings on the side so you can monitor how much is added.
...of portion sizes. A single serving at many restaurants could feed an entire family. The average meal at a fast-food place easily contain more than 1,000 calories. Extra large options should be replaced with smaller portions or shared with family or friends. Don't forget the calories contained in your drinks. Often overlooked, the calories in sodas and sweetened beverages add up quickly.
And, Sonya always says, "stay away from artificial sugars!"
Try unsweetened iced tea or lemon water instead. Or take an organic, therapeutic grade essential oil and add a couple of drops to your water!
...of buffets! Even if you choose the salad bar, buffets set the stage for overeating. You may just want to eat your money's worth, but chances are, you'll eat more than you need.
After finishing your meal, wait at least 20 minutes before heading back for seconds. Your body needs time to tell your brain your stomach is full.
...of eating on the run. Isn't this what fast food is all about? Unfortunately, when you're in a hurry and aren't thinking about what you're eating, you tend to overeat and overindulge.
Slow down and chew slowly. Your food will digest easier and you'll most likely eat less. Remember, it takes time for your brain to get the message that you're satisfied. So chew well and give your brain the chance it needs.
Knowing is half the battle. The other half is making the right choices. Depending on your health condition, it may be OK to splurge every once it a while, but a habit of double-patty, greasy burgers and large fries every week will hurt your body.
go for the 80/20 rule if you are at your ideal weight to maintain your weight and health. Go for the 90/10 rule if you are still working to achieve your ideal weight.
Many people will only find true success when they cut gluten, sugar and dairy...cut out everything processed as much as possible!
Resources are available to help you determine the healthiest fast food choices. Being ignorant of the facts is one of the main reasons you'll wind up making unhealthy food choices.
Many restaurants display nutrition information in the restaurant or on their website. Get online and find a site that compares several restaurants at one time. Other great sites list restaurant menu items that cater to certain dietary needs such as allergies, diabetes, heart disease, or weight management.
Try downloading a mobile phone app with nutrition information by restaurant, and when you must go out, choose accordingly!
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