With busy work and school schedules, grabbing a quick meal between events sometimes becomes necessary just to make it through the day. The good news is that it is possible to make healthy choices when eating at fast-food restaurants. Here are five tips for making nutritious choices when dining out – keep them in mind next time you hit the drive-thru!
5 Tips for Making Healthy Fast-Food Choices
- The first step is to choose a restaurant where you know there are healthier options available. An increasing number of fast-food restaurants are now providing healthier choices – be a conscious consumer and check out the restaurant website or app ahead of time to see what items are available and determine how they fit into your nutrition plan.
- Limit fried foods and instead opt for items that are grilled, baked, steamed, or roasted, Choose a grilled chicken sandwich or single-patty hamburger over fried chicken, fried fish, or chicken fried steak. Instead of having French fries, tater tots, or onion rings, choose a healthy side item. Many fast-food restaurants now offer side salads, fruit cups, apple slices, steamed veggies, and yogurt parfaits all of which are great choices.
- Add in whole grains where you can. Choose a whole wheat bun for your burger or sandwich and brown rice in your burrito bowl. When you switch to whole grains you add fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your meal.
- Watch out for empty calories in your beverage – opt for water, unsweet tea, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice over sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages. For information on the amount of sugar in common drinks, visit the CDC’s Rethink Your Drink website.
- Avoid the urge to Super-Size! This is not your last meal – you can have a healthy snack later in the day when you get hungry. Super-Sizing may only cost an additional $0.49, but the calories and saturated fat from the extra-large soda and fries can easily derail your nutrition game plan. Remember – moderation in all things!
In conclusion, making healthy fast-food choices is possible. Remember – choose a restaurant with healthy options, limit fried foods, add in whole grains, limit empty calories in your beverage, and avoid Super-Sizing.