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Eating Healthy at Fast Food Restaurants

Eating on the go can be a constant challenge when trying to maintain a nutritional diet. The dining room has been replaced by the office desk, the car, and sometimes even the couch. When it becomes extremely difficult to prepare a balanced meal, stopping by the drive-thru becomes an appealing option. But how can we eat on the go without sacrificing nutritional content and essential vitamins? Not to mention avoiding unwanted calories, fat, and preservatives? Eating at fast-food restaurants can be tricky, but its not impossible. By following just a few simple steps, even the busiest person can feel confident the food they eat at some of the top convenience chains is healthy, low in calories and fat, and won’t leave you feeling sluggish and bloated for the remainder of the day.

The first step is to forgo anything described as fried. McDonald’s fried chicken sandwich (better know as the “crispy” chicken sandwich) has 20 grams of fat and 530 calories. Compared to their grilled chicken sandwich, which only has 370 calories and 7 grams of fat, you will save 160 calories and a whopping 13 grams of fat!
Anything at fast food chains that is breaded will cost you your waistline. The fish fillet is a great example of the breaded offender. It boasts 14 grams of fat, alone. Stick with anything grilled and ask for the sauce on the side. This will save you hundreds of calories and dozens of fat grams. If you can’t eat the food without the sauce, however, try ketchup, or the fat-free dressing most fast food restaurants offer.

One sneaky way many restaurants slip extra fat and calories into meals is in something that seems healthy to the naked eye: salads. Generally, salads are pretty healthy- tons of fiber, a great source of protein, and they help keep you full all day. Many restaurants, however, such as Wendy’s, will add fried foods, cream-based dressings full of fat, and piles of cheese to their greens. Their chicken BLT salad has 780 calories and 53 grams of fat!
That’s more than most of their burgers and fries! Instead, try the Oriental Mandarin Salad without almonds and substitute the Asian-style dressing for the fat-free dressing. You’ll save 470 calories and 49 grams of fat!

If a burger is what you are craving and there’s no way around it, instead of getting Burger King’s famous Whopper with cheese, order the Whopper Jr. without mayonnaise and skip the cheese. You’ll save more than 350 calories and 20 grams of fat. Plus, the sandwiches are so juicy you’ll never notice the cheese is missing. Instead of mayo, add ketchup, mustard, or fat free honey-mustard sauce. You’ll
probably never even know the difference!

Finally, we couldn’t talk about healthy fast-food without mentioning Subway. In the 1990’s, Subway put Jared Fogle on the map when he announced he had lost 245 pounds simply by eating Subway’s tasty sandwiches. Subs may be a great alternative to greasy burgers, but are all the sandwiches Subway offers healthy? The 6″ double Italian meat sandwich weighs in at a hefty 630 calories with 35 grams of fat. And the meatball marinara has 560 calories with 24 grams of fat. As most of us know, Jared didn’t lose all that weight eating meatball sandwiches. Stick to the grilled chicken, ham, or turkey to keep your figure. Or try a veggie sub. Most people love the crisp taste of fresh veggies nestled in the warm store-made bread.
But again, beware of the extra fat and calories in the oil, the sauces, and the cheese. If you skip the cheese
you’ll save almost 100 calories per sandwich and if you choose the fat-free honey mustard, you’ll save yourself up to 13 grams of fat!

The last step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle while eating fast food? Be careful not to indulge in fatty sides and deserts.
Instead of an apple pie or ice cream, try a fat-free yogurt. While fries may seem tempting and delicious, apple slices are a crisp, crunchy and tasty substitute. Remember; even though life can be too hectic to eat at the dinner table every night, when you do get a chance to relax you
don’t want any unwanted pounds on your hips keeping you from putting on that bathing suit!