Fast Food: Saving Time and Waistlines
Making Healthier Choices
Now that you know what not to do, are things you can do help your family make better choices when eating on the go:
Look for Low-Cal and Low-Fat: There are some great lower calorie options for hungry people on the go. For example, Subway offers subs with six grams of fat or less. Other chains offer baked potatoes, which are good if you don’t smother them in fattening toppings, and Wendy’s small chili is 200 calories and six grams of fat. Chicken and fish can be good choices if they are not breaded and deep fried. If you have a craving for a hamburger, order a basic burger instead of the huge double-decker dripping with fat-laden sauce.
If you’re eating out for breakfast, try an English muffin, bagel with a reduced-fat spread or cream cheese, or toast. Muffins can be fattening, so check the restaurant’s nutritional information before making this your breakfast choice. Some fast food places also offer cold cereal and milk, yogurt, scrambled eggs, or hotcakes with a reduced-calorie spread.
Use Healthy Fillers: To increase the volume of food, add a green salad, soup, or healthy side dish. Many fast food restaurants offer a side salad, and some offer meal-sized salads, too. Choose one of these with a low-fat dressing to help displace the need for fried items. Salad bars let you pick plenty of yummy toppings, but stay away from high-fat dressings, cheeses, bacon, croutons, and creamy pasta salads not labeled as low-fat.
Subway, Blimpie, and other delis and bagel shops often offer soup, which is a good filling food; choose one with a broth (not cream) base.
Fast food restaurants are increasingly offering healthy, kid-friendly side dishes such as applesauce, yogurt, apple slices, and mandarin orange sections.
Order It Grilled or Roasted: Grilled hamburgers and grilled or roasted chicken are leaner than fried choices. As an example, a KFC Original Recipe fried chicken breast has a whopping 400 calories and 24 grams of fat, while the Tender Roast chicken breast has only 251 calories and 11 grams of fat.
Terrific Toppings: Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and peppers all add taste and bulk to a deli sandwich. Mushrooms, onions, peppers, and tomatoes are great extras on a thin-crust pizza. Stir-fry vegetables are a good choice from the Chinese take out.
Water It Down: In the continuing effort to get enough fluids and save money, ask for ice water with meals.
Eat in a Seat: Whether in the restaurant or at home, eating at a table gives you time to relax, concentrate, and enjoy your food. At home, you can also add healthy fruits and vegetables to supplement your meal.
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