It’s a fact that fast food is not healthy. However, it is convenient, tasty, and inexpensive. If you belong to almost 50% of Americans who have their fast food fix at least once a week, you are in the right company.
Because fast food consumption is an intricate part of the American culture, you don’t have to give up your drive-thru habit completely. Instead, you need to make healthier options. When we say healthier, that means you need to skip the usual 2,000-calories menu that you love like the triple-decker cheeseburger.
One of the tricks to avoid unhealthy foods, when you order at a fast-food restaurant is to watch the portion sizes. You also have to stay away from foods with excessive Tran’s fats and saturated fats. Try also to get food with high nutritional value like fiber, vitamins and minerals, and high protein content. Another is to select a meal that is large enough to make you feel full. Here are the seven healthy fast food options you can choose if you want to stay healthy without breaking your drive-thru habit.
If your usual fare is the tasty and greasy fried vegetable dumplings and shrimp lo mein, try substituting your favorite dumpling with a steamed option. You can also ask for your shrimp with brown rice or any high-fiber whole grain instead of your favorite noodles. The noodles are not healthy because they are made from refined white flour.
An even better alternative is to switch your orders to their vegetable options. You can pile on their bok choy or broccoli which are high in vitamins and fiber. Water chestnuts and baby corn have fewer nutrients, so don’t order them. Also, be careful with their sauces and opt for the low-sodium soy.
Deep-dish pizzas are to die for especially with sausage, cheese, and green peppers. If you are craving for pizza, choose the thin crust option and chow them down with a filling and fiber-rich cup of soup (preferably minestrone for lesser salt.
Better yet order a thin crust with light cheese and grilled chicken. You can get the protein from the chicken with less fat and calories. And your pizza cravings are satisfied.
There is no other go-to food as satisfying as Chicken Parmesan and a side of spaghetti. Yummy but full of calories, it is as unhealthy as it can be. To make this fast-food favorite less dangerous, you can opt for grilled chicken instead of fried.
But if you are craving for pasta, you have to avoid cheese overload and have it topped with marinara sauce instead of the creamier and saucier option.
If your usual order is Tempura vegetables with spicy tuna and California rolls, you can substitute one of them. Try a side dish containing soy like a bowl of edamame (steamed). Or better yet a bowl of miso soup. Consume starch to a maximum size of a tennis ball.
You should avoid any food that is fried (tempura) and any rolls because it contains mayonnaise. Choose nutritious foods like vegetable rolls, sushi that has avocado and salmon that are rich in Omega-3.
Tacos are a staple of Mexican foods and mainstay in the American fast-food culture. The menu will not be complete without a side of rice and refried beans. You can make it healthier by getting the vegetarian option of the refried bean. These foods do not contain pork fat or lard and consume extra guacamole instead of your usual dollop of sour cream.
Whenever you are in a Mexican fast-food, choose foods that are wrapped in a soft tortilla and not fried. A burrito will be healthy if filled with vegetables, light cheese, and more guacamole and salsa.
If you are craving for a Whopper and your usual side salad at burger King, satiate your craving and remove 500 calories from your diet with a hamburger off the kid’s menu. It has a smaller portion but equally satisfying. You can also order the Tender Grilled Chicken Sandwich. It is not fried, without cream sauce, and you can ask for extra tomato and lettuce.
An order of 6-piece Chicken Nuggets with ranch sauce and a large French fry is loaded with calories at McDonald’s. You can still have this favorite but replace your ranch sauce with barbecue to lower the calories. A better option will be to order the California Cobb Salad with grilled chicken. Choose a balsamic vinaigrette that is low in fat.
Even if you are following a weight-loss or a healthy diet, you can still go to fast food by choosing healthier options. You can follow our hacks and be careful about what you order.
Photo by Michelle Krozser from Burst