Fast food is hardly health food, but when you`re on the road or it`s late at night, sometimes it`s your only option. These are the menu options to look for that will fill you up without filling you out.
General Guidelines for Finding the Least Unhealthy Options
Let`s just come out and say it: fast food is generally not healthy. It`s all processed and packed with sodium, unhealthy fats, and excess preservatives. When you compare it to meals you could make at home, there`s obviously no way that fast food could be considered healthy options. Andy Bellatti, Registered Dietician, explains:
It is important to recognize that when it comes to chains like McDonald`s, Wendy`s, and Burger King, it isn`t so much about “healthy options”, but rather about “what is the least worst?” This is an important distinction to make.
So as long as you approach those “I have to eat something” roadtrip moments with that mindset, you`ll find it to be a less stressful experience. As Bellatti puts it, there`s more to fast food than the nutrition facts:
We have to get away from the concept that a meal is “healthy” because it contains fewer than X number of calories or because it has X grams of protein. The issue with most fast food items is that even if they are among the `better` choices, they are usually cooked in unhealthy oils and offer very little in terms of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
With all of that in mind, Bellati suggests that there are a few tips you can follow at most chains to find those food items that are the lesser of evils:
- Avoid fried foods when possible.
- Opt for smaller portions if they`re available (or share food with someone).
- Pass on sugary beverages like soda and drink water or unsweetened iced tea instead.
- Be wary of sauces(dressings, sandwich toppings, and for dipping)because they can be high in sugar and sodium.
- Say no to mayo. It can save you a lot of calories and fat.
- When in doubt, use your smartphones to look up nutrition information and healthy options.
Doing some research is especially helpful if you have special dietary restrictions. Something reasonable for one person could be really unhealthy for another, so don`t hesitate to check nutrition facts online or ask for them at the counter or drive-thru.