‘Healthy Fast Food’- sounds like an oxymoron, but believe it or not, it exists! We all have days when we just don’t have the time to cook a home-made meal, or even eat at a sit-down restaurant. Fast food is popular for a reason- it saves us a lot of time, and it’s cheap! That’s why I’m not going to chagrin you for eating at fast food eateries, but instead am providing you with help in choosing a healthy alternative to deep-fried french fries and antibiotic laden burgers when you’re in a hurry. In this post I have included a set of guidelines in ordering healthier choices, as well as a list of the top 10 fast food restaurants in the US. Remember to USE the guidelines when ordering food at these establishments, as calorie bombs can be found almost ANYWHERE, including these places!
The truth of the matter is that almost any eatery you step into will have healthy and unhealthy options to choose from. So let’s start with a list of tips on making smart food choices when eating out. First and foremost, always check the nutritional information! Look at how many calories are in one serving, how much sodium and sugar is added before ordering anything to eat.
Furthermore,try to considerate the following common sense guidelines when deciding what to order next time you’re out and about:
- Pay attention to food description. Stay away from foods labeled deep-fried, pan-friend, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce. These are usually the foods that are VERY high in calories and sodium.
- Avoid drinking Soda. It is important to stay conscious of how many calories you’re drinking. One 32 oz cup of regular cola runs you over 400 calories per serving! Diet sodas’s have zero calories but are extremely unhealthy, as aspartame can cause cancer (as well as increase your appetite!). The best drink to order when eating out is WATER( if you dislike water, try adding some squeezed lemon to it for some flavor).
- Sauce on the side. Sometimes we don’t realize how many calories salad dressings, spreads, and cheeses add to our meal. Always ask for things without mayo, with salad dressing on the side, without cheese, etc. You’re much better off asking for some mustard or ketchup on the side and controlling how much you put on the sandwich.
- Special requests. Some places will have options for the way your food is prepared. If you have a choice in the matter, always have your veggies steamed rather than sauteed, ask for brown rice instead of white, etc.
TOP TEN FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS (according to ‘Health Magazine’)
1. Panera Bread
2. Jason’s Deli
3. Au Bon Pain
4. Noodles and Company
5. Corner Bakery Cafe
7. Atlanta Bread
9. Einstein Bros. Bagels
10. Taco Del Mar
Remember to use the guidelines I’ve provided you with in the beginning of this post. Even when ordering foods at these establishments you can fall victim to unhealthy choices, so skip the deep-fried foods, ask for things without cheese and/or mayo, try to get smaller meals, and always choose water over soda!!
Do you have any fast food favorites with healthy options I didn’t list here? Let me know what they are by commenting!