Fast Food

Fries on the Side?

Fast FoodTruth: Many fast foods are unhealthy and over indulging in them will likely cause you to gain weight. However, you can eat fast food on occasion and simply choose menu options with care.

Whether your are eating out, on-the-run, or at home the basic rules are the same: choose healthy foods that are nutrient rich, low in calories, and small in portion size.

Diets rarely allow for treats and unplanned “cheat” days.  If you think of how you eat as a lifestyle — not a diet plan you will find it easier to to say no to treats.

It is human nature that as soon as we are told we cannot have something, we think of it more and want it more.  Instead of saying you will never again indulge, plan food splurges.  Celebrate a birthday or a promotion at work or some other happy occasion at your favorite restaurant and don’t let guilt drag you down.

You don’t have to go crazy when you eat out but you don’t have to feel food deprived for the rest of your life either.  In most things, balance is best.

Diet Tips

To choose healthy, low-calorie options, check the nutrition facts. These are often offered on the menu or on restaurant websites. And know that the nutrition facts often do not include sauces and extras. Try these tips:

  • Avoid “value” combo meals, which tend to have more calories than you need in one meal.
  • Choose fresh fruit items or nonfat yogurt for dessert.
  • Limit your use of toppings that are high in fat and calories, such as bacon, cheese, regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, and tartar sauce.
  • Pick steamed or baked items over fried ones.
  • Sip on water or fat-free milk instead of soda.

Ask for nutritional information when you eat out. By law, restaurants and fast food venues must provide the nutritional information for the food they serve upon request. You can use the Nutrition Facts label on foods:

  • to track your calorie intake and number of servings; and
  • to make healthy food choices by serving smaller portions and selecting items lower in fats, salt, and sugar and higher in fiber and vitamins.