What Are the Healthiest Fast Food Options?
It’s no secret that fast food isn’t good for us, but sometimes the drive-thru is the only option. A dietitian discusses tips for how to order fast food.
It’s no secret that fast food isn’t good for us. But life happens, right? Sometimes we find ourselves in a pinch when plans go haywire.
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And we get it. Fast food is convenient, inexpensive and in our busy society – sometimes the only option. But if you learn the tricks to ordering healthy fast food, you’ll feel better prepared the next time your only choice is the drive-thru.
“Calories and nutrients are pretty readily available if you look online or by the register,” says dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CCSD, LD. “Knowing what you’ll order ahead of time or how you’ll order can give you a better attitude towards fast food. It doesn’t have to derail your whole day.”
Finding a well-balanced meal at a fast food restaurant requires a few tweaks, but don’t worry – you won’t be the first person to ever make a request like this. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra veggies, to substitute or to leave something out.
Keep these three things in mind when contemplating a fast food order:
Craving something specific? Follow these nutritionist-approved tips:
Burgers. This fast food staple can pack in the calories and leave you feeling gross. But if you’re craving a burger, there’s ways it can be calorie controlled.
Chicken. A step up in nutrients from traditional meat burgers, chicken sandwiches or chicken nuggets can be a good source of lean protein.
Fish. If you’re looking for a taste of the sea when it comes to fast food, tread carefully. A lot of fish options come with a high price tag in calories and fat.
Salads. No one really goes to a fast food restaurant to order a salad, but surprisingly there are several healthy options if you order correctly.
Burritos & tacos. When it comes to these popular Mexican meals, it’s best to skip the tortilla and opt for a bowl instead (unless you’re a serious athlete who needs the carbs).
Sides. French fries are one of America’s favorite foods and a staple at many fast food joints. But they’re often overly processed, deep-fried and chock-full of saturated fat.
Dessert. Sometimes you just need a sweet treat. Plus who wants to take the kids to the ice cream shop and not get anything?
Drinks. It’s no secret that soda (of any variety) isn’t good for us.
Condiments. Sauces, dips and seasoning can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy meal. And most have a ton of hidden sugar and sodium.