Everywhere you turn, there seems to be another fast food joint. It’s not easy to say “no” to your friends when they want to swing through their favorite burger place. But there are ways to enjoy your favorite hangouts – and still eat foods that aren’t awful for your body.
First, the bad news: Most fast food is riddled with fat and calories. The average Big Mac contains 29 grams of fat; with French fries, you add another 25 grams. Just a Mac and fries alone total 54 grams of fat – and that’s more than the recommended amount of fat for the whole day. But don’t get discouraged: There are options that will benefit your body in the long run, and still taste good.
Here are some tips to help you eat better when faced with the choices at your favorite fast-food counters:
- Say no to supersizing: Supersizing adds a significant amount of fat and calories.
- Choose chicken instead of beef: Chicken is higher in protein and lower in fat.
- Choose broiled foods instead of fried: Fried foods are high in fat and calories.
- Get the cheeseburger but pass on the fries: Fries can add up to 25 grams of fat to your meal. Get a small side salad or a baked potato to go with your cheeseburger instead.
- Can the soda and get some H2O: Soda has useless calories, and it’s loaded with sugar. Water helps to keep you hydrated.
- Try eating a regular cheeseburger instead of a specialty burger like the big bacon classic.
- Have a salad instead. Wendy’s mandarin chicken salad has little fat and calories and will help you get your daily servings of vegetables.
Try a 6-inch veggie sub instead of the meatball sub. It has less fat and has a full serving of vegetables.
Try to avoid adding a combo with chips. But if you feel like you can’t pass on the chips try trading in regular chips for a baked chip.
Be careful of condiments – adding mayo can add hundreds of calories!
Try switching your beef burrito for chicken. Burritos have the potential to be really good for you if they includes the right things, such as lean chicken and black beans.
Be careful of the taco salad. Even though it’s a salad, it still contains a lot of fat because of the shell and added condiments.
Try a plain crunchy beef taco. This has less fat and fewer calories.
The Fat on Fat
So what makes fast food so bad? One of the reasons is because of the high fat content. But not all fat is bad for you. There are different types of fats: good fats, such as monounsaturated, and bad fats, such as saturated and trans fats.
Trans fats are in processed oils that many fast food restaurants use to fry their foods and are linked to high cholesterol and heart disease.
Monounsaturated fats, or good fats, are commonly found in olive oils and foods like avocados – and can actually lower your cholesterol.
In one decade, between 1970-1980, the number of fast-food outlets in the U.S. quadrupled from about 30,000 to 140,000. That’s a lot of extra French fry places.
Slow Down on Fast Food
Eating fast food in a while is OK – but every day? If this is the case, it might be time to find new places to eat, or try eating a bagged lunch or dining at home.
Of course, there will be times when fast food is your only choice; when this happens, just remember that you have options when you choose what to order. Keep your body on track to a healthier you.
This article has been reviewed by BodiMojo expert Carolyn Butterworth.