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Making Healthier Fast Food Choices

Posted Mar 25 2012 3:37pm

Every time I see a fast food commercial on the television telling me about there healthy and fresh food options I cringe.

Healthy and fresh? There really isn’t anything healthy or fresh about fast food restaurants! If there were truth in advertising, the commercials for fast food would probably say “Incredibly dangerous: Will cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, asthma, allergies, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and hundreds of other disorders. Oh, and we microwave the shit out of it!”

The salads are even too huge for one mere mortal to consume without indigestion and most of them come with fried, breaded chicken bits and salad dressings that are loaded with sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and chemical preservatives.

We all need to start being more aware of the foods we are consuming, no matter where it is we are eating them. Pay attention to what you order, and eat, and your favorite sit-down restaurant. Be aware of what you put on your plate at the office pot luck. You even need to watch what you are making in your own kitchen. Here are a few ways to be aware of what you are eating on each of the places you are likely to eat at on a regular basis.

Healthy Fast Food Choices

picture Burger And Fries

Fast Food can be tempting... and deadly!

I get why we eat fast food. We’re in a hurry and that means we just don’t have time to make something to eat. So, when you are stuck eating fast food your best bet is to choose a healthier fast food restaurant. My favorite by far is Chipotle. They actually use real food ingredients, no processed foods, and cook on a stove, not in a microwave. Chipotle also now serves brown rice which is much better than white rice. I always get the veggie burrito bowl with brown rice, fajita green peppers and onions, black beans, tomato salsa and guacamole.

If you absolutely have to eat at a fast food restaurant, your best choices are salads. Pick a small salad, no breaded chicken and only use a small amount of dressing (ask for it on the side).  The best thing to avoid the need for fast food is to keep some “fast” foods at home; trail mixes and fruits are great for a fast snack to tide you over until you can have a healthy meal. Always carry healthy snacks in your car like whole food raw bars or trail mix or nuts! It could save you from a horrible trip to a fast food chain.

Healthy Restaurant Choices

Same goes for this restaurant choice as does fast food. Go for small salads with light dressings. For breakfast, as for half an omelet and no cheese, or light on the cheese. Restaurant usually give you enough food on one plate to feed three people. Ask for a half order any time you can, or take a doggy bag home with you for lunch the next day. If you ask, you might be able to get a nice salad for breakfast as well! There’s no better way to start the day than with some healthy greens in you for energy.

Sometimes business meetings force you to eat out, don’t let it break your nutrition pattern, just make wise meal choices. And always order a water! Skip the sodas, juices or sweetened teas. If you want an unsweetened iced tea, that’s fine but make sure you drink plenty of water afterwards to rehydrate yourself.

Making Healthy Choices During Parties

When you find yourself eating at someone else’s house it can be difficult to turn down food. It makes you feel bad, or you feel like you’re being rude for not having some of that pie. But it isn’t rudeness. What would be rude is for your friend to expect you to eat something you don’t want to eat!

This goes for people with certain food intolerance issues too. Just explain to your friend why it is you can’t eat certain things. Honesty is always the best policy. As always, eat more vegetables than anything else, and you’ll surely be following some good nutrition.

I always do this when it comes to birthday parties or celebrations. People always ask me to eat cake, ice cream, or whatever kind of candy or junk food they think is “fun.” To me, heart disease and cancer isn’t fun! I see it every day with the people I work with and just ordinary people I meet on the street or in the grocery stores. Every choice you make matters! EVERY SINGLE CHOICE matters. Every little thing matters!

At first, I felt awful refusing cake when people persisted and asked me “Why not, why not?” repeatedly. But eventually I got used to it – and you will too. Sometimes you have to be willing to be uncomfortable to be healthy and successful – are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Healthy Pot Luck Choices

At a pot luck you will find some healthy choices and some not so healthy choices. Salads are good, even some of the past ones (if you don’t overdo it), unless you have a gluten issue. Pick white meats, like turkey and chicken. Vegetable mixes and fruits plates are your best friends. Avoid the dessert table, or at least visit it very sparingly. Pick some fruit instead of a big piece of cake.

picture of root vegetables

Go for the veggies!

At Work/School

The cafeterias of today are somewhat different than the cafeterias of yesterday. Hospitals, coporate buildings, colleges and high school no longer serve only greasy pizza and French fries for lunch. Sure, they still have many bad food options, but most of these dining places have begun to incorporate healthier options. Your first stop should always be the salad bar. It’s the safest bet, and the place with the least calories. Fill your dish up with fruits and vegetables. Pick a light vinaigrette instead of heavier dressing. Skip the cheese and other dairy options, instead grab some broccoli for your calcium intake. Better yet, take a sack lunch.

At Home

Get rid of your fryer. Buy a grill. Fill your fridge with fruits and vegetables. Salads are fast. Throw together some lettuce, either fruit chuncks or vegetable chuncks, drissle on a little dressing and it’s ready to go. Make healthy foods ahead of time and freeze leftovers. Grab them out to thaw the night before, or day of, and they’ll be thawed and ready to heat up for lunch or dinner.

Think Before You Eat

Take some time to think about what you’re eating. Where did it come from? How healthy is it? Eat it slow and enjoy the texture and flavor. Embrace slow food and avoid fast food.

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