You’re in a pinch, running late to work and need a quick bite to eat. You pull up to the drive through menu, looking hard for something that’s not too greasy. The drive through guy yells at you for taking too long. Your response: “Hold on, I’m looking for something healthy!”
Look, we’ve all been there – searching for healthy food at a fast food joint can be a maze. While fast food won’t top any lists for being the healthiest food, finding something nutritional to chow down can be done. Here are seven tips to beat the fast food menu and walk out with something you wouldn’t mind eating.
- Go Grilled: Choosing the grill over the fryer will spare you droves of excess calories and sodium. Fast foods fried in oil absorb the fats they’re cooking in, saturating the food with excess calories. Grilled foods, on the other hand, lose a majority of the fat due to extraction, which occurs when the piece of chicken, for example, heats to a temperature hot enough for fats to cook off.
- Switch Sides, Literally: You don’t always have to go for the fries! Many fast food chains, such as McDonalds and Wendy’s, offer other options such as apple slices and baked potatoes.
- Go Green: While a fast food salad certainly won’t be the best one you eat in your lifetime, it’s a good way to pack in nutrients if time is not in your favor. Pro tip, go easy on the dressing – that’s the fastest way to undo all your careful eating!
- Drink Water: There are only positives for this. It quenches your thirst, has no added sugar, preservatives or dyes, you can have as much as you want and, of course, it’s free and everywhere. Fast food will make you thirsty, be careful not to quench it with soda!
- Speak Up: If you want a particular item but not all the fixings, say it! If extra cheese, mayo and oil are not your thing, ask for it off. After all, you’re the one buying it.
- Find the Golden Ratio: Okay, I lied, there is none. But you can always scope out foods that are high in protein and low in calories and sodium. Many fast food restaurants display the calories on the menu so you can decide before you order. If you want to know about more than just calories, go to their website. Almost all restaurants have complete nutrition facts online.
- Mind the Portion: Yes, you’ll have to use your eyes for this one. Just because a food item looks small on the menu doesn’t mean it couldn’t be heaping in real life. Be wary of the number of items you order as they could pile up! As always, order with your eyes, not your stomach.
Healthy eating can be intimidating when at a fast food restaurant. With menus arranged to appeal to your deepest, greasy desires, being keen and conscious of the food you eat can make all the difference – and now you know how.