Healthy Eating: How to choose wisely at the fast food counter

Although we all know it’s not healthy, fast food is daily consumed by Americans. It’s quick, convenient and affordable, making the go-to option for many busy families across our nation. Most people are not going to fast food restaurants looking for healthy options, but thankfully, fast food places are taking steps to make their offerings healthier and better quality. If you order purposefully, you can get a healthier meal at many fast food restaurants.

  1. Go small (on everything) – bigger is not always better, unless you want your waistline bigger too. Even though the small and large may be the same price, opt for the small size for your sandwich or sides. The small is plenty of food and calories to satisfy so cut your calories nearly by half by just downsizing your normal order to the small.

  1. Grilled, grilled, grilled – by choosing the grilled option over fried, you are saving on calories, fat and unhealthy oils that contain trans fat.  Avoid anything labeled fried, crispy, buttered and batter-dipped.

  1. Don’t drink your calories – soda, lemonade, sweet tea and milkshakes can often contain enough calories and sugar to be the entire meal, only you also order a whole meal too! Skip the sugar filled drinks and opt for unsweetened tea or water instead.

  1. Add fruit and veggies – many restaurants are offering salads, veggies or fruits instead of the traditional sides like fries or potato salad. Make a healthy swap for a side salad, and just be sure to keep the dressing on the side so you can manage the amount used. Calories from salad dressing can easily add up.

  1. Read up on calorie counts – today more and more menu boards are posting calories for each item. If they are not displayed, calorie count is often available online for that restaurant. Realizing that your typical meal is 1200+ calories could help guide you towards a grilled chicken sandwich, side salad and unsweetened tea for a fraction of the calories and fat.

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