Advisor Heidi Ingram:
We take alot of road trips this time of year due to the holidays and stopping and getting fast food is at times unavoidable. If we do end up stopping what are some healthier choices to get?
Typically, fast food is low in nutrition and high in trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and calories..for example, a single meal of a Double Whopper with cheese, a medium order of fries and an apple pie from Burger King contains more saturated fat than the American Heart Association recommends we consume in two days!! Moderation is key. It's OK to indulge a craving for French fries every now and then, but to stay healthy you can't make it a regular habit. Finding a healthy, well-balancd meal in most fast food restaurants can be a challenge, but there are always choices you can make that are healthier than others.
Use common sense guidelines to help you make your meal healthier. For example , a seemingly healthy salad can be diet-minefield when smothered in high-fat dressing and fried toppings, so choose a salad with fresh veggies, grilled toppings, and a lighter dressing. Portion control is also important, as many fast food
restautants serve enough food for several meals in the quise of a single serving.
Tips for making healthier choices at fast food restaurants
· Make careful menu selections- pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried , basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au graton,or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats
· Drink water with your meal -Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp of regular cola packs about 425 calories, which can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea
· "Undress" your food. When choosing items be aware of calorie - and fat packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich withour the mayonnaise. you can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself controlling how much you put on your sandwich
· Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
· Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat an savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for your body to register that you have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more
Tips for what to AVOID at fast food restaurants
· Supersized portions. An average fast food meal can run to 1000 calories or more, so choose a smaller portion size, order a side salad instead of fries, and don't supersize anything. At a typical restaurant, a single serving provides enough for two meals. Take half home or divide the portion with a dining partner.
· Salt. Fast food restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributer to high blood pressure. Don't add insult to injury by adding more salt.
· Bacon. It's always tempting to add bacon to sandwiches and salads for extra flavor, but bacon has very few nutrients and is high in fat and calories. Instead, try ordering extra pickles, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, or mustard to add flavor without the fat
· Buffets - even seemingly healthy ones like salad bars. You'll likely overeat to get your money's worth. If you do choose buffet dining, opt for fresh fruits, salads with olive oil& vinegar or low-fat dressings, broiled entrees, and steamed vegetables. Resist the temptation make sure you are hungry before going back for more.
Less healthy choice
Double-patty hamburger with cheese, mayo, special sauce, and bacon. Fried chicken sandwich, Fried fish
sandwich, Salad with toppings such as bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing, Breakfast burrito with steak, French fries, milkshake, Chicken"nuggets" or tenders, Adding cheese, extra mayo, any special
Regular, single-patty hamburger without mayo or cheese, grilled chicken sandwich, Veggie burger, Garden salad with grilled chicken and low-fat dressing, Egg on a muffin, Baked potato or a side salad, Yogurt parafait, Grilled chicken strips, limiting cheese, mayo, and special sauces.
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