14 Ways to Make Healthier Choices in a Fast Food Restaurant
Many people have asked me about this.
How to make healthier choices in a fast food restaurant or is it possible to eat what they want to eat in a fast food restaurant but in a healthy way.
Some said, they are students, most of the time they have to eat from these places because they don’t have much time to cook or eat healthy or even confused about making the right choices.
I am not an expert or a nutritionist. I’m just an ordinary person who loves to know about these things and I write what I learn.
After reading quite a few good articles online, I have managed to understand some easy, simple tips which can be beneficial for you guys and me as well.
14 ways to make healthier choices in a fast food restaurant:
1. Be careful of “Healthy” sounding dishes
2. Tell to serve the dressings separately
3. Read the descriptions on the menu
4. Skip the French fries
5. Go for a special order
6. Order smaller portions
7. Go for “low fat, high fiber, high protein” foods
8. Skip the bun, go for a lettuce wrap
9. Be aware of liquid calories
10. Aim for a 600 or less calories meal
11. Go Green
12. Include baked or grilled, skip fried
13. Go light on cheese, sauce and mayo
14. Eat half, Bring half
Now if you have time, let’s discuss the points here:
1. Be careful of “Healthy” sounding dishes:
Face it! We all like to find comfort in the “Healthy” word tagged with anything!
Healthy beverage, healthy soda, healthy sauce, healthy protein bar! When in reality, they may contain loads of salt, sugar etc.
Same goes with restaurant dishes. When it is claiming “Healthy” doesn’t necessarily mean it really is healthy. You should pick what to include in your meal.
2. Tell to serve the dressings separately:
Salad is a great option when it comes to healthy eating. But what can ruin it, is the dressings.
So, asking for the dressings to serve on the side is a smart move at any restaurant. By that you are the controller of what goes inside of your dish.
3. Read the descriptions on the menu:
One thing we avoid to do is reading the food description. Dishes labeled as crispy, pan-fried, fried, deep-fried etc are usually very high in sodium, unhealthy fats and of course, calories.
4. Skip the French fries:
Side dishes like onion rings or French fries play a huge role of increasing the whole calorie level.
Try to skip that. Instead, order some green salad, fruit salad or vegetable soup as your side dish. They will keep you full for a long time and won’t add tons of calories.
Or in case you can’t skip the fries, take the smallest size available on chart.
5. Go for a special order:
You can go for a special order too.
Such as, asking for whole grain options, like wheat bread or bun for a sandwich or burger. Instead of oily fried rice, asking for plain cooked rice.
6. Order smaller portions:
Restaurants often offer large size meals to attract customers. Even the medium size of a meal can contain so much more calories than you need.
And large portion means tons of extra calories, sugar, salt, unwanted fats etc. So, ordering smaller portions of a meal can be a good choice.
7. Go for “low fat, high fiber, high protein” foods:
For fat, ask for avocado, olive oil or something healthier. Adding lots of veggies and some whole grains can fill up the fiber need. Lean meat like beef or chicken can be great choices for protein.
8. Skip the bun, go for a lettuce wrap:
Do you know what a single burger bun can add to your diet? Around 500 calories! Or may be more.
A big lettuce leaf contains less than 30 calories, 90% water, Vitamins and minerals. If the burger patty contain 300-400 calories and a bun contains 400-500 calories plus add some more extra calories for the cheese, mayo, sauce etc. then you are consuming at least 900-1200 calories per burger! The number can rise of course.
Now think which one in good as a wrap? A bun or a lettuce?
9. Be aware of liquid calories:
A can of soda can contain 300-400 calories, up to 12 teaspoon of sugar or more!
A shake can contain 700-1000 calories, filled with sugar and saturated fat. Having fruit juice or lemonade is also not a good idea because they are filled with sugar usually.
Having a glass of plain water, unsweetened tea etc can be better options.
10. Aim for a 600 or less calories meal:
Normally when we go for a fast food treat, we end up consuming so much calories than we actually need.
A burger, fries, soda or shake add up to 1800 calories or more! Skipping the soda, fries and going for smaller portions with lots of veggies can be a healthier choice, this can contain between 500-600 calories.
11. Go green:
Add greens as much as you can.
Leafy greens are filling and contain fewer calories. A green or colorful vegetable salad, without the cheese or bacon topping and sauces or steamed vegetables can be a better choice.
You can use lemon or zero cal dressings though.
12. Include baked or grilled, skip fried:
Fried foods are one of the unhealthiest choices ever. Fried means tons of oils or unhealthy fats.
Baked or grilled foods, such as, grilled chicken breast or lean meat can be better options in that case.
13. Go light on cheese, sauce, mayo:
Of course sauce, mayo and cheese taste heavenly!
But they are loaded with salt or sugar, tons of calories, unhealthy fat etc. Skipping them or adding the smallest portions can be good.
14. Eat half, bring half:
This is a trick that I learned from a famous fitness Youtuber. She said on her video, when eating at a restaurant, small or medium size can actually be a pretty large one and can contain tons of calories.
So the trick here is, before starting to eat, one can simply divide the food in two portions, start eating from one, and when the stomach feels quite full, you stop eating. The leftover part can easily be packed to bring for later.
Who doesn’t love food, right?!
The more I am learning, the more I am understanding that options are endless if you really want to do something.
You love food, fine, love it. Just make some good decisions without going crazy with them! I don’t feel that any food it worse or can be deadly. It’s all about the portion and moderation.
Comment below and let me know what’s your tip to make healthier choices in a fast food restaurant.
Let “Fitness” be our goal and “Health” our main priority.
Thank you for reading.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jannat Hossain