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Sometimes, you have no choice but to grab some fast food and go. Maybe you’re on a really long road trip, or you’re working extra late. Maybe you didn’t have time to pack today’s lunch. Whatever your reason for giving in to fast food temptation, there’s no reason to let this little excursion derail your healthy and balanced diet.
Take note of these reminders for the next time you’re in a fast food restaurant and remember to make good, healthy choices!
Say no to “supersize” offers.
Most fast food chains will offer to upsize your order for just a few bucks more, but don’t fall for it! They also have jumbo portions (for fries or onion rings, for example) and can offer double- or triple-deckers of your usual burgers. You might think it’s a good deal because you get a lot more food without spending too much, but this is terrible if you’re trying to stay fit and healthy.
Supersizing your order messes with your ability to stick to the proper portions. Once all the extra food is laid out in front of you, it’s very likely that you’ll end up overeating even when you’re already full. Just get the smallest meal size available so you eat only what you need.
Don’t drink your calories.
The drinks offered at most fast food chains are overloaded with sugar, and therefore incredibly high in calories. It doesn’t matter if you substitute your soda with fruit juice — neither of those things are good for you at all. Just think about this: you get around 200 calories minimum from 20 ounces of soda, and that’s not even counting the actual food you’ll consume! Drinking your calories is one of the fastest ways to derail your healthy diet. Ask for water instead.
Be careful with salad dressings.
You’re trying to stay healthy, so you scour the menu for a salad. That’s great. Opting for salads instead of fries is one way to minimize the calorie consumption at a fast food chain. However, don’t make the rookie mistake of getting creamy salad dressings! These are usually laden with mayonnaise, so you’re pretty much ingesting way more fat than you ought to.
Go with the vinaigrette option instead so your healthy salad doesn’t end up sabotaging your diet. More importantly, try and cut down on the amount of dressing you’re using. Drenching your salad isn’t a good idea, anyway. Just pour half of the amount you usually use, then work your way up slowly so you don’t go overboard and drown your otherwise healthy salad in a calorie bomb dressing.
Beware the add-ons and sides.
Fast food chains often offer a lot of sides and add-ons to help customize your experience, but these can really mess with your attempt to stay healthy. Adding extra cheese or special sauces will only increase the calories you consume without you realizing it. Real life example: the regular Burger King Whopper (650 calories) is a much healthier option than the Four Cheese Whopper, which clocks in at 850 calories.
Pre-select your go-to fast food choices.
Going to a fast food chain at some point in your life is inevitable, so you might as well plan ahead. Review the menus of the fast food places you’re most likely to visit and pick out menu items that won’t mess up your diet. For example, Chipotle’s Chicken, Pinto Bean, and Vegetable Salad is a great choice if you’re looking for a filling, balanced meal. At only 365 calories, you get protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Always look for grilled over fried options, like KFC’s Grilled Chicken Breast or Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich. You can also request small changes that can make your order healthier, like removing condiments and cheese slices then adding more vegetables.
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