It might be hard, but it is possible to make it through that fast-food drive-through with only healthy choices in tow. Laying a few ground rules for your trips to fast-food spots will help you stay away from the calorie-laden, diet-busting foods. Here are some ways you can choose wisely:
Stick to Small
Fast-food restaurants often ask if you'd like to go with a larger size meal, and say that it's a better value. If you are ordering something healthy to begin with, stick with the smaller size. You'll get the same flavor but consume fewer calories.
Ditch the Fizz
A 20-ounce soda can contain 240 or more calories, and many fast-food restaurants offer free refills. Skip the soda and go with water or unsweetened iced tea if you want to drop some calories from your fast-food order fast.
Substitute the Side
You don't have to go with greasy French fries. Most fast-food restaurants offer alternative sides you can substitute for just a small cost. If a side salad is an option, get it with low-fat dressing and no cheese, bacon or croutons.
Lay Off the Sauce (the condiments!)
Sauces and condiments like ranch and mayonnaise can be packed with calories and fat. Order sandwiches without condiments and avoid sauces that contain oil or mayonnaise. Stick with extras like pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion and plain (yellow) mustard.
Go With Grilled
If an entree is available grilled instead of fried, go for it! Avoid anything that says "crispy," since this usually indicates it is fried. You can also ask for the bun to be served plain, not buttered, to cut back on some calories and fat.
Share With a Bud
If you really have to order something you know isn't the healthiest choice, share it with a friend so you won't eat the entire meal on your own.
Get the Facts
The nutrition facts! Most fast-food restaurants provide a copy of their nutrition facts upon request. Some even place the nutrition facts on their packaging. Grab a copy and take a look before ordering. You might be surprised.
Eating at a fast-food restaurant isn't the healthiest alternative, but following a few rules can help you dine in a hurry without guilt. Try to limit yourself to two or less fast-food meals per week, but when you are in a rush, just make sure you choose wisely. For more information on how to live a healthy lifestyle, check out the Central Florida Regional Hospital Health Library online. To get health information and physician referrals, call our free Consult-A-Nurse service at 1-800-445-3392.