Sticking to Healthy Food at Fast Food Restaurants

Sometimes the hardest part of a healthy lifestyle plan can be eating out. You might have eating patterns or healthy foods that you like and are excited about and find easy or even enjoyable to follow. But, once you’re out and about, it’s harder. It’s unfortunately true that sometimes having fun with friends or family can get in the way of healthy choices. At potlucks and gatherings, it’s more straightforward as you can bring a healthy dish. But, it becomes especially hard when you’re with people and can’t provide your own food. And once fast food is on the menu, you might think it’s impossible. However, there are healthier options. One in four Americans eats fast food once a day. With something as ubiquitous as fast food, it can be overwhelming, and we can feel defeated before we step inside or roll up to the drive-through. But, if you read the menu or pick the right restaurant, you will be fine.

Since the law passed that requires all restaurants with more than 20 locations to provide calorie counts on menus and signs, you can help yourself just by scanning the board. While it might not help you decide what to eat, it will undoubtedly strike things off your list. When you find out just how many calories are in certain foods, you’ll lose interest in them fast! Sometimes things you thought were healthy are worse than the meal you thought you needed to avoid. For instance, Panera’s Turkey Artichoke Panini has 750 calories; meanwhile, a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder is 510. And, here’s something that might shock you, a Steak Fresco Soft Taco from Taco Bell only has 150 calories.

You’ll find that salads are frequently a great option as long as you steer clear of high-calorie dressings. Ask for dressings on the side so you can control how much you want to add. The words “breaded” or “fried” can help you rule something out while “grilled” or “baked” can be better. Unfortunately, sometimes the thing that sounds healthier is worse because they’ll load up a vegetarian option with fat, sugar and salt to make it appealing. Newer fast food restaurants like Chipotle have usually started from healthier roots than the burger joints we grew up with. Moreover, as they often market themselves as community spots, they frequently have healthy minded initiatives, such as Panera’s use of antibiotic-free meat.

The internet has made it delightfully easy to find out more nutritional information about fast food restaurants. We used to have to trust our gut when going out. Now, a cell phone can give you all the information you need to make a healthy choice. Another way to ensure you make a great selection is to make sure you don’t go into the place starving. Eating a healthy breakfast or snack before meeting up with people will mean the smell of fries won’t overwhelm your mind and stop you from making sensible decisions.

Finally, if you want a quick cheat sheet, we really like this list that gives you great options for every large fast food chain!
July 08, 2019
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