Sunday, May 17, 2009

How to eat Fast Food

Let's face it, it's tough to avoid fast food. Balancing work, school, relationships, family, etc. is tough enough. Trying to squeeze in exercise and cooking can make things really difficult. I know I preach the importance of cooking and eating healthy all the time but let's be realistic sometimes you just can't pass up the convenience of grabbing some fast food on the way home. Now I am by no means advocating eating fast food over cooking. But if you are going to stop by a McDonalds on the way home, lets figure out a way to make the healthiest decisions possible.

I did an article on the lack of healthy options in our communities a while back called "Popeyes or KFC." I think the lack of options in our communities is terrible. It is unfortunate but just because they put that poison (food) in our communities, doesn't mean we have to make terrible choices......

Maintaining my weight loss is super important to me right now but eating fast food is sometimes unavoidable. I have developed a few strategies to be sure that I stay within my calorie limit and maintain my weight loss. I typically eat fast food for lunch 3-4 x a week. I also eat at restaurants like every weekend. I love trying new restaurants, but I refuse to undo all my hard work. So here are some tips I hope you find useful.

1. Just eat the sandwich/entree ---- Don't believe the hype, there is no value in a "value meal" Unless you see value in Type 2 diabetes. You can really save on the calories by cutting out the fries or chips. Now I know that may not seem easy because the fries/chips fill you up. But give it a try eat your sandwich and see if you are still really hungry. If you are bring your own side (yogurt, fruit, string cheese). Bringing your own side will also save on $$$$. This is the most important rule. *You can also get a side salad, you can one at McDonalds/Wendys/Burger King/KFC for just a $1.

2. Drink Water with lemon or a flavored water----- I did an article about the unnecessary calories that pop/soda adds to your meal. Check out the post...."You are what you drink." If you don't feel like reading the post, then just trust me cut those drinks and substitute water.

3. Drink Green Tea---I could write a whole post about the benefits of green tea (in fact I might). Drinking green tea everyday has helped speed up my metabolism. It's especially great for after eating heavy meals.

4. Grilled---This is an obvious one but you should always choose grilled over fried.

5. NO MAYO--- Mayonnaise can add over a 100 calories to your sandwich. It is so not worth it. Have mustard instead. This applies for dressings too, especially creamy ones. Always choose the vinaigrette over a creamy dressing.

6. Plan Ahead---check out calorie count websites like Calorie Lab before you eat. You can easily access must calorie sites from you cell phone.

7. Satisfying a sweet tooth--- Of course adding a sundae or candy bar to your lunch/dinner can really add the calories. For dessert there are a couple healthy options. I like to a have Yoplait/Dannon yogurts (Key Lime, Orange Creme). They are just sweet enough to fulfill my craving. Sometimes I will crumble up graham crackers and mix them with the yogurt. Also, you are usually pretty safe with lowfat frozen yogurt. At McDonald's you can get it for $1 and 120 calories....not bad.

Eating healthy does not have to be difficult. It just takes a little bit of thought. These are a few of my tips I may add more, so check back!


What suggestions do you have for eating healthy in this fast food nation


Laura said...

Very nice post. You are 100% correct in everything you write. My only suggestion is not to beat yourself up too much after. Sometimes we succumb and eat the wrong thing but beating ourselves up after doesn't achieve too much. Too much guilt is less healthy than the calories!

Fitness Goddess said...

Thanks me I splurge on occasion; and I don't beat myself up. I just like to have some guidelines to keep things under control.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the entree-only & water options...I do that all the time! Here are my suggestions:

1. LAY OFF THE CHEESE. I know this is hard for us Americans, but seriously it adds sooo many calories!

2. STOP super-sizing!

3. Try not to get the greasiest thing on the menu, you'd have less guilt afterwards

Kathryn said...

Here are a few strategies I find helpful:
1) At McD's, like you said, just a sandwich and a Diet Coke will get you out the door for 400-600 calories, which is about right for a meal. Leave the fries and shakes alone. Get the sliced apples or a green salad if you must.
2) At BK, junior-size it. A Whopper Jr. is truly a miniature Whopper, and will fill you up if you let it. Again, leave the sides alone, or get a salad, and water or a Diet Coke.
3) KFC: the new Grilled chicken is not bad at all. If you lean towards the corn or green beans as sides instead of the mashed potatoes and cole slaw, you haven't killed your diet that day.
4) Subway: There seem to be at least as many Subways as Mickey D's, especially if you travel by car, or are in malls a lot. A six- inch turkey, ham or veggie will fill you up, and they have the Baked Frito-Lay products, which I love.
5) Back to Mickey D's: the Asian salad with grilled chicken is 400-some calories, low fat and actually good for you.
6) Panda Express (or Kentucky Fried Panda as we like to call it):
Get the plain white rice instead of the fried rice or chow mein, and make one of your entrees the stir-fried veggies. Hell, a veggie serving is a veggie serving, right?
7) Wendy's: Like with BK, go junior size. Get a single, or just order the kid's meal. You can also go with the grilled chicken (some say hold the sauce, but I think that's just too much punishment). You could even add a baked potato with butter. SMALL frosty is actually not too bad, calorie-wise.
I've got more, but I think that's enough for now. Let me know if you want more suggestions. Making these kinds of changes helped my sister shed 19 pounds since 2008.

Fitness Goddess said...

Thanks Kathryn and CAL!

luvlylayd said...

yes, thanks Kathryn!