We all know that eating out, especially at fast food restaurants, is not usually the healthiest option. Eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium, and saturated fat for an entire day, but, of course, the fast-and-easy temptation is tough to resist. However, as an informed customer, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the convenience of fast food restaurants. Here are a few of my tips for enjoying fast food in a “healthy” way:

•    Drink water with your meal. If you’re going to indulge in fast food, skip the soda all together. There is nothing nutritious about soda!

•    Watch portion size. I always order a small size to help reduce unneeded calories and fat. If the “small” is not that small, I will share it with Mal or take the other half home for later.

•    Make careful selections. I pay attention to menu descriptions and sometimes ask employees for clarification about a particular menu item, if needed. Seemingly healthy items can be deep-fried, batter-dipped or breaded, which adds extra calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats to the meal. Similarly, if nutritional information is available on-site or on-line, I will check it out before I make my meal decision.

•    Nix the extras. For example, if you order a burger, nix the cheese and/or “special” sauce, and eat your burger plain or with healthy toppings like lettuce, tomato, salsa, pickles, etc. Same goes for salads: I order mine without cheese and the dressing on the side.

•    Eat mindfully. Savor each bite, chew your food thoroughly, stop eating when you are full, and try to avoid eating on the run.

•    Enjoy the splurge! And don’t feel guilty about it! Of course, moderation is key, but if I over-do-it, I just get back on track the very next day with extra healthy meals and some exercise.


Tina Haupert- Carrots ‘N’ Cake


Question of the Day: What are your favorite “healthy” fast food options? We would love to hear some feedback!

(Images: from Flikr, Jayna)