Fast Food Tips To Try
How do you eat healthy while on the go? Most of us have work, school, running kids to and from events, errands to run, and chores to do at home. So how do you fit in healthy meals throughout the day? This is one of the most common and popular topics that comes up with my Wellview participants and likely relates to anyone reading this. While in a dream world, we would all find the time to “meal prep” on the weekend and make pre-portioned meals for each day of the week, but honestly, this isn’t realistic for most. Plus, add fast food as an option, and it’s tough to turn that down right? If limiting fast food is one of your goals but the thought of cutting it out completely is totally overwhelming, these tips are made just for you!
Of course when looking at the nutritional value of a fast food meal versus one made at home with fresh ingredients, the homemade meal wins out every time. However, there are plenty of ways that you can alter fast food that can dramatically improve its overall ranking on the health scale. For example, start with the creamy condiments that are loaded onto burgers, burritos, and tacos. Try asking for no mayo or sour cream, or ask for very light amounts of each. Instead, try guacamole, hot sauce, salsa, ketchup, or mustard as the main topping. Another big hitter: opt for a grilled option over a fried one. Now I’m not saying never have that original Chik-Fil-A sandwich every now and then because, let’s be honest, they are delicious! Just try to limit this option and begin rotating in the grilled sandwich (try a wheat bun instead of the traditional white one) or grilled nuggets.
Below are some fast food tips to help you make better choices on those days when 24 hours just doesn’t seem like enough to get it all done. I challenge you to try just one of these swaps at your favorite fast food place the next time you’re in a pinch for a quick meal. Once you feel like it’s easy to do it once a week, try two days, and so on. These small steps can begin to add up and help you in your wellness goals. Good luck!
- At Taco Bell, opt for an option off of the “Fresco” or “Power” menu. These are lower calorie and/or high protein options to keep you feeling fuller longer without all of the added junk. Click here to see the options included in these sections.
- Is Starbucks a must for you? Here are some sneaky tips to make your latte/ frappuccinos /etc. leaps and bounds better for you!
- Ask for no “classic” in your drink. This is the syrup base that is added to nearly every single drink aka sugar water. I promise you will not notice the difference without this OR, if you must, ask for 1 pump of “classic”.
- Here are the general rules for sizes and syrups: 2 pumps in talls, 4 pumps in grandes, and 6 pumps in ventis. CUT THIS IN HALF OR EVEN JUST 1 PUMP! For example, getting a peppermint mocha? They do offer “skinny” versions of drinks with sugar free syrup, but if you like the real stuff, ask for just 1 or 2 pumps of flavor to drastically cut down on the empty calories. Many of these drinks, depending on size, can add up to a whopping 500 or more drinking calories!
- If you are not against artificial sweeteners, they do offer “light” or “skinny” versions of basically every menu item. For example, when getting one of those delicious frappuccinos, ask for a “light” with no or light whip cream. They actually taste better to me this way.
- Chik-Fil-A actually has pretty tasty salads! Try one with grilled chicken and if you feel like it’s not enough, add an order of grilled nuggets to get that extra protein in. The dressing already comes on the side so use it sparingly and add it as you need it rather than dousing the whole thing right off the bat.
- Frequent McDonalds? Opt for the basic hamburger or cheeseburger, McDouble (this one is better over the Big Mac, etc because it give you double the protein with the same small bun and no creamy calorie bomb of a sauce), or one of the wrap option sans sauce (get it on the side and dip or ask for light sauce).
- In a pinch for breakfast? No matter which place is your favorite pit stop for breakfast, look for an egg/meat/cheese (or no cheese) option on an English muffin. The muffin alone can save you a ton of calories compared to the biscuit option. Go for the McMuffins at McDonalds, the chicken/egg white English muffin from Chik-Fil-A, or a breakfast burrito from Taco Bell.
Didn’t see what you were hoping to find with our fast food tips? Ask your Wellview advisor for tips at your favorite fast food stop or sign up for a session with one of our awesome Wellview dietitians!
– LAUREN ORMSBEE, CHC, CEP