When people are looking for a quick, easy and cheap meal, fast food is a common solution. With its efficient service, low prices and casual atmosphere, fast food seems like an ideal choice. In fact, more than 25 percent of Americans eat fast food every day.
Unhealthy Fast Food
While there are some ways to eat a well-balanced, nutritious meal at a fast-food restaurant, the unhealthy options are more common and more appealing. You can consume all of the fat and calories your body needs for the entire day in one meal at a fast-food restaurant.
There’s no problem with eating fast food occasionally, but if you’re eating it more than once a week, consider ordering healthier options.
Nutritious Fast Food
Today, more fast-food restaurants offer healthier options and ingredients, plus ways to customize your order. To cut down on some of the calories and extra fat in many fast-food options, try these tips:
- Don’t order the biggest sizes. While it may seem like a bargain to super-size your order, it’s no bargain for your health. The largest sizes have the most fat, calories, sugar and sodium. You’ll probably be just as satisfied with a smaller portion.
- Skip the soda. Soda is full of sugar and calories, but it doesn’t fill you up. Select skim or low-fat milk, fruit juice, tea or water.
- Watch the condiments. Sauces such as mayonnaise, tartar sauce, spreads and salad dressing can add loads of extra fat and calories. Same with cheese, sour cream, gravy and “special” sauces. Order a sandwich without the condiments, or ask for them on the side so you can add your own.
- Try salads. Salads are usually a healthier option, especially with a healthier dressing. Most places give you more salad dressing than you need, so add it yourself and don’t use the whole packet. Chose low- or reduced-fat options when possible.
- Choose baked or grilled. Although tasty, fried foods aren’t the best choice. Choose meats and other items labeled as grilled or baked.
- Go for the kids menu. The portions are smaller, and you can usually make substitutions.
- Enjoy leftovers. Bring half of what you order home to eat later.
- Choose menu items labeled “healthy” or “light". Most places now call out healthier sections on their menu.
Last Reviewed: October 2019