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How to make healthier fast food choices

How to make healthier fast food choices
September 09
10:49 2014

These days fast food has become the part of daily diet in lots of individuals’ life, because people are always in hurry and there can be no convenient way than to grab a burger or a sandwich on the way to office or home to fight the hunger. In addition, when the taste is so yummy and prices are pocket friendly then nothing can seem better when hungry and on the run. But people tend to forget that fast food are not just loaded with delicious ingredients but they are also loaded with calories, fat and sodium.

When you are watching your health or weight, fast food menus can be tricky. Finding a well-balanced meal in most fast food restaurants is a daunting task. However, there are always healthier options veiled among the diet disasters.  You just have to know what to look and how to place the order.

Can fast food actually be healthy:

When you regularly eat at fast food joints, it becomes daunting to follow a healthy diet. Fast food is generally, high in calories, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat. And it is also likely to be low in nutrients and almost completely lack vegetables, fruits and fiber.

That doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid fast food. It is ok to treat a craving once in a while, but you can’t make it a regular habit, if you want to stay healthy. The key is controlling both, how frequently you visit fast food joints, and what you order. You can always make healthier choices. Here we will be discussing few recommendations and tips that can help you stay on track. However, always remember that even the healthiest fast food options have some nutritional disadvantage like high sodium. So, try keeping fast food for special treats.

Remember to keep your calories of the entire meal to 500 or less: A normal adult eats 836 calories in every fast food meal and they generally don’t realize this fact which becomes the reason for the number of side effects caused due to fast food. So rather than guessing, try and keep a watch on your calorie intake.
Go for food that are higher in fiber and protein and lower in fat: Look for items that have more good stuff, like whole grains, fiber, and high quality protein. Also look for items that are comparatively low in saturated fats. And completely avoid all the items that contain trans fats.

If you really want to advance your health, bring your own add-on items: Getting sufficient fiber and other essential nutrients and vitamins from a fast food menu can be difficult even when you place your order carefully. If you are placing an order for home delivery or on the go then you can add toppings like seeds, nuts, dry fruits, pear slices, apple, carrot slices and yogurt.

Watch your intake of sodium:

High sodium intake plays a vital role in contributing to cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends that adults should keep their sodium intake under 1500 mg and never consume more than 2,300 mg a day. Sadly, that is difficult when eating fast food. However, you can request to serve burger or meat without salt.

Guidelines to order healthier fast food:
  • Watch for serving size: Many fast food joints serve enough food for a number of meals in the appearance of a single meal. Avoid value-sized and supersized items and opt for smallest size when ordering burgers, sandwiches etc.
  • Read the descriptions on the menu carefully: Dishes labeled crispy, pan-fried, deep-fried, breaded, creamy, butter-dipped etc. are generally high in unhealthy fats, calories and sodium. Same applied to items with cream sauce etc.
  • Don’t be mistaken that dishes that sound healthy are always a nice option: For example, number of fast food salads are a diet minefield, oppressed in fried and high-fat toppings. Therefore studying nutrition facts before placing your order can make a huge impact.
How to keep fast food calories limited:
  • Be careful when it comes to dressings and condiments: When going through menu, be aware of fat and calorie packed salad dressings, sauces, spreads etc. Oil based and mayonnaise sauces are high in calorie. You can also control how much you spread on your burger or sandwich.
  • Adhere to zero calorie beverages: There are great amount of hidden calories in soda. The average large soda has around 300 calories. Shakes on the other hand have up to 800 calories. Try to order diet soda, water, or unsweetened tea.
  • Be wise about additional things served on your plate: Try to avoid items that are served with one or more side dishes. Sides can easily increase your calorie intake including chips, fries, noodles, rice, onion rings, biscuits, cheese, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Rather go for side salads with light dressings like fresh fruit cups, baked potato, apple slices etc.

We hope by keeping these tips in mind, you can enjoy your fast food treat without increasing your calorie intake.

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