Fat Food…I mean, Fast Food
I try not to eat fast food, but I’ll always cave for a White Castle hamburger when I’m in NYC. Sometimes you just don’t really have a choice in the matter.
So at the request of my brother, here’s some of your better options and some helpful tips when eating fast food.
First up are a few tips from AskMen.com.
Remember that good options include:
- The smallest size of burger
- Grilled chicken sandwiches or salads
- Low-fat dressings and sauces (or none at all)
- Diet soft drinks or water
A few things to avoid:
- Super sizes of anything
- Fried or breaded chicken or fish
- Chicken nuggets
- High-fat sauces and dressings
- Onion rings
- Extra cheese
Those are pretty obvious, but Real Simple has tips when ordering at some of the more popular fast food places.
For example, when dining at…
If You Usually Order: A Whopper with cheese and a side salad.
Make It Healthier: Satisfy your burger craving (and cut out almost 500 calories) by replacing the Whopper with a hamburger from the kids’ menu. (Kids’ menus offer smaller portions.)
Better Yet: Order the Tender Grilled Chicken Sandwich – there’s no crispy fried stuff and no creamy sauce, and you can ask them to double up on the lettuce and tomato for an extra helping of vegetables.
If You Usually Order: Six-piece Chicken McNuggets (with a side of ranch sauce) and large French fries.
Make It Healthier: Ask for medium fries and replace the ranch sauce with barbecue and you’ve knocked 345 calories off your meal.
Better Yet: Get the California Cobb Salad with grilled chicken. Just beware of what you put on the salad: The Cobb dressing adds 120 calories and 9 grams of fat. Opt for the low-fat balsamic vinaigrette.
If You Usually Order: A loaded baked potato (stuffed with bacon, cheese, low-fat sour cream, and Buttery Best spread) and a small Original Chocolate Frosty.
Make It Healthier: Save 130 calories and 16 grams of fat by loading your potato with chili, low-fat sour cream, and broccoli.
Better Yet: Try a baked potato topped with chili, broccoli, and chives. It is filling, has loads of fiber, and has a mere 370 calories and 3 grams of fat. Add a glass of 1 percent reduced-fat chocolate milk to satisfy a sweet tooth.
If You Usually Order: An Extra Crispy chicken breast and a side of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Make It Healthier: Order an Original Recipe wing and leg (290 calories and 17 grams of fat total). Though white meat seems a wise choice, the breast is one of the worst items on the menu, with 460 calories and 28 grams of fat.
Better Yet: Get the Honey BBQ Chicken Sandwich. It only has 300 calories and 6 grams of fat. Among sides, best bets include mashed potatoes (without gravy), green beans, and a small corn on the cob.
If You Usually Order: Chalupas (fried taco shells filled with cheese and ground beef).
Make It Healthier: “Avoid the crispy things in favor of soft tortillas,” says Leslie Bonci, director of sports medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. (Indeed, the word crispy is often a euphemism for “fried.”)
Better Yet: Order food “Fresco-Style,” which replaces a dish’s normal sauce and cheese with fresh salsa. Loading up on salsa instead of cheese and other sauces can save you hundreds of calories and 10 or more grams of fat.
If You Usually Order: A classic tuna sandwich with Cheddar cheese and potato chips.
Make It Healthier: Get a wheat roll, and add extra vegetables. If you can’t omit the cheese, know that American cheese is the lowest-fat option, followed by provolone, with Swiss and Cheddar tied for last. Choose baked chips.
Better Yet: Subway’s tuna salad contains lots of mayonnaise, so a less cholesterol-raising option would be the Veggie Delite or Turkey-Breast Sandwich from the “6 Grams of Fat or Less” side of the menu.
Just remember that if you don’t think it’s a healthy choice, it probably isn’t. Some other things to remember when ordering:
BURGERS – Keep in mind lots of burger joints (fast food included) now offer “protein style” where they wrap your burger in lettuce instead of a bun. If you need the bun, see if they offer a whole wheat option. Also turkey burgers are usually healthier than beef.
PIZZA – Go thin crust. Light on cheese, and pile on veggies and protein (like chicken).
PASTA – Ask for a whole wheat pasta option, or get a chicken parm sans bread.
JAPANESE – Avoid anything “tempura” and stick to fishes high in omega-3’s and things like salmon, veggies, and avocado which include healthy fats. Also a soy option (miso soup or edemame) is a good idea.
INDIAN – Replace pappadams (thin and crispy) with naan (thicker bread) and order your food grilled rather than smothered in sauces.
MEXICAN – Limit yourself to chips. Instead of tacos or anything cripsy, stick to a flour tortilla and fill it with extra veggies, lots of salsa, leaner meats and a lot of guacamole instead of sour cream.
If that’s not specific enough for you, check out this site which includes a pretty comprehensive list of various fast food places and their healthier options.
Photo from Flickr, where I found this poem attached to the photo. Pretty much sums up our fast food nation.
Fast Food Nation.
They say we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
An epidemic like it is polio.
Like we’ll be telling our grand kids about it one day.
The Great Obesity Epidemic of 2004 (-07 and counting)
“How’d you get through it grandpa?”
“Oh, it was horrible Johnny, there was cheesecake and pork chops everywhere.”
Nobody knows why were getting fatter?
Look at our lifestyle.
I’ll sit at a drive thru.
I’ll sit there behind fifteen other cars instead of getting up to make the eight foot walk to the totally empty counter.
Everything is mega meal, super sized. Want biggie fries, super sized, want to go large.
You want to have thirty burgers for a nickel?
There’s room in the bag. Take it!
Want a 55 gallon drum of Coke with that? It’s only three more cents.
Adapted from Underwear Goes Inside The Pants – Lazyboy.