Making healthier choices is possible when it comes to eating out and does not mean that you have to give up some of the foods you love to eat.
What it means is that you need to learn to choose wisely. For example, eating at a fast food restaurant will not completely derail your decision to eat healthier as long as you don’t choose the worst food offenders on the menu in terms of fat, sodium and grease!
Read Food Descriptions Carefully
Healthy food choices are all about reading the menu carefully and making the best selections possible. Read the descriptions of food labels before you order. There are certain words that will tip you off to the fact that the food item is high in calories, high in salt or is full of unhealthy fat. These are the buzzwords you should look for in foods to avoid- pan-fried, deep-fried, batter-dipped, creamy, crispy, basted, scalloped, breaded, or Alfredo.
As well, anything that is made with a cream sauce or is au gratin is not good for you. Instead of these choices, look for foods that contain more vegetables and choose fish or lean cuts of meat.
Watch the Condiments
Those unsuspecting condiments such as ketchup, salad dressings, mayonnaise, spreads, sour cream and cheese are often filled with fat and are very high in calories. You can solve this problem easily by ordering food without dressing or by ordering it on the side. If you order a fish burger for example, tell them that you don’t want any tartar sauce on it or you want it on the side so you can put it on yourself.
For a grilled chicken burger order it with no mayonnaise. If you are ordering something that usually comes with ketchup and mustard then ask for a packet of each so you can put it on yourself.
Drink Water with Your Meal
If you like to have a drink with your fast food meal then pass on soda pop or a milk shake. Both are high in calories and not very healthy. Drinking soda pop on a regular basis can pack on as many as 15 extra pounds in a year’s time! A 32 ounce glass of regular pop can provide you with approximately 425 calories which is a tremendous amount.
Instead, drink water with your meal. If plain ole water is a little too dull for you then add a little bit of lemon to it to spice it up. Another option is to order unsweetened iced tea.
Beware of Sodium
Fast food restaurants often sell foods that are very high in their sodium content. In particular French fries are one of the worst offenders. Consuming too much salt is a contributing factor to developing high blood pressure. To offset this concern, either fore-go fries all together or order them but do not add any extra salt. Have them with a little bit of ketchup for flavoring or ask for a small packet of white vinegar.
Choose Small Portion Sizes
Portion size matters when you eat out at a fast food chain. The average meal at a fast food restaurant can equal 1000 calories or more. Order as small a portion size as you can. Consider ordering a salad as opposed to French fries and do not go the supersize route.
You might even want to order the kid’s size to guarantee that you are getting the smallest size possible.