The $110 billion, fast-food industry is not going away any time soon. The average American consumes three hamburgers and four orders of fries each week! Soft-drink consumption has more than quadrupled in the last 40 years. Fast food certainly seems to be somebody's friend.
The question we seek to answer is: "How can we prevent fast food from becoming our foe?"
Because fast food is a way of life for many, I've sifted through the menus to help you find some healthier options.
One of my favorites is Subway. Their "Subway Seven" are all under 6 grams of fat: Veggie Delight, Turkey Breast, Turkey Breast & Ham, Ham, Roast Beef, Subway Club and Roasted Chicken Breast. Keep in mind, mayonnaise is not part of this equation.
Pizza, nature's most perfect food, is another good choice. Go for a thin crust for fewer calories. Papa Gino's and Dominoes pizzas usually are lower in fat. One slice of Domino's Cheese Pizza can have as few as 256 calories. Other Domino's options are: Pepperoni (305 calories), Ham & Pineapple (309 calories), Chicken ( 276 calories), Mushroom, Pepper and Onion (263 calories).
When visiting Taco Bell, choose entrees from their "Fresco" selections.
Hamburgers can be a healthy option if you choose the basic burger. Avoid burgers with cheese, bacon, guacamole, as well as the double burger sandwiches; they're all double trouble. Instead go for Wendy's Junior Hamburger (270 calories), Carl's Jr. Junior Hamburger (280 calories), In and Out Burger (310 calories), McDonald's Hamburger (280 calories) or Burger King Hamburger (310 calories).
Grilled chicken is another popular entree. May I suggest adding a salad and subtracting the bun? Avoid the salad toppings such as cheese, bacon, creamy dressings, nuts, fried noodles, croutons, sour cream and more. Go for fresh veggies and fat-free dressing. Remember: If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Be sure to have a plan when visiting your favorite fast-food restaurant; plan your meal selection ahead of time.
Balance and moderation are the key ingredients for a healthy lifestyle. Experience the fresh vegetables and fruits in season and enjoy home-cooked meals with family and friends. Visit fast-food restaurants once or twice a week. Don't let fast food become your foe.
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Kathleen Aicardi earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition, a masters in education and is certified both as a health educator and personal trainer. Ms. Aicardi is also founder of Transformations, where she works with groups and individuals desiring to maximize their overall well-being. The author lectures to colleges and high schools, leads corporate training programs, and conducts seminars on nutrition at health institutions around the country.