How to Choose Healthier Options at a Fast Food Restaurant

Every time you walk into any fast food restaurant with the best intentions of choosing and eating healthy food, maybe you need to take a closer look at the so-called low-calorie items on the menu. Not only could they be packed with more calories than you expect, but very often it is not the actual item that is the problem. It is the add-ons, sides and beverages that you pick that have a lot of diet traps that you need to watch out for. Last week we wrote about “10 ridiculously unhealthy hamburgers“, now its time to go on the healthy tour. Read these tips carefully and the next time you order a healthy meal, you can be sure that it won’t completely wreck your intentions.

 

Choose Grilled or roasted Over Fried

You can never go wrong with this tip. Skip anything that says fried and try picking chicken over beef. Your best bet? Grilled or roasted chicken. Avoid the beef patties and if it says, crispy on the menu, you’ll know you have to ask them not to add it (as in crispy bacon or chicken). Other items to watch for are the onion rings (go for grilled or just white onions) and the Satisfries. They do have fewer calories, but they are still fried. The Subway menu has some delicious roasted chicken items.

Roasted Chicken Subway

Careful with the Salads

Salads are healthy, there’s no doubt about that. What you need to watch out for is the dressing and the croutons. Mayo, especially creamy mayo is a definite no-no because it is loaded with fat and calories. And if you must have it, ask for it to be served on the side and dip a little so you can control the actual amount you eat. Opt for the balsamic vinaigrette as a dip, instead. Take for instance, the Premium Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad from McDonald’s. It actually has more sodium and fat that a salad should safely have.

McDonalds Salads

 

 

Image credit: welovead.com

Vegetarians Need to be Wary Too

You might think that ordering a vegetarian meal can help you avoid the calories you get from the meat, especially when you’re ordering a sandwich at Subway’s. But, the sauces, dressing and other toppings you add could have too much sodium and sugar. And as mentioned above, the mayo and other similar condiments might not be quite so healthy. You must also be careful of the buns and breads you order. For instance the muffins at Tim Horton’s actually have a higher fat content the regular donut.

 

Watch Out for the Beverages

You just picked a really healthy meal without the sauces and with the grilled meats. That’s great. Now you need a beverage. But, what should you pick that won’t destroy your diet? Well, the thing about the sodas and iced teas you order is that they have way too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup in them. Opting for fruit juices is a good idea but only as long as you don’t have them as they are. Most fruit juices are concentrates and if you could add some sparkling soda in a half and half proportion, you can also reduce the sugar content. If you could eliminate these beverages completely, that would be the perfect solution. Order black or green tea, coffee, lemonade or just, good old water.

 

And the Sides!

Fries are an obvious item to avoid, but so are the hash browns you order as breakfast sides at McDonald’s, or the cheesy tots at Burger King. Some other items to avoid are the chicken rings at White Castle or the cheesy macaroni bites at Jack in The Box. Try the baked potatoes in their place. Apple slices are a good choice too.

Hash Brown and Sausage McMuffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: yelp.com

The final tip you can’t go wrong with? Use a smartphone app or the nutrition guide provided at every website and study it before you go for a meal. And, share your meal if you’re not quite sure if it’s healthy. Smaller portions also work well.

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