While many fast food restaurants are slowly introducing healthier options to their menus, you can improve your chances of making a healthy choice if you follow these 10 tips.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
Oftentimes, people duck into a fast food restaurant because they just don't know what to eat. Take out the guesswork by planning each meal in advance and writing it down. Give yourself a very limited fast food quota and stick to it.
Don't Wait Until You Are Starving
If you eat when you are famished, you tend to grab at anything, typically the worst foods. If you stick to assigned meal times, you'll avoid getting super hungry. If you can't adhere to a schedule, keep healthy snacks on hand such as nuts, dried fruits or fiber wafers to curb your appetite until you can sit down to a meal.
Read the Menu Closely
If your favorite fast food joint doesn't post the nutritional information on the menu, they may have it behind the counter. If not, check out their website and look up the nutrition content online.
Don't Up the Ante on Portion Size
Even when the jumbo, double, super, giant and deluxe size seems like a better value, if you choose the larger size to save money, you might not stay healthy enough to spend it. Always order the regular.
Have It on the Side
Salads are a great healthy option, but not when they are swimming in an oily or creamy soup topped with fried croutons. Ask for salad dressing, sauce and gravy on the side so you can control the amount you'll use or skip it altogether. Try drizzling lemon juice or using salsa instead.
Keep It Plain
Nothing kills a healthy option like a slathering of secret sauce or a mountain of bacon. Condiments such as ketchup may have added sugar, and full-fat mayo can sabotage a meal in one fell swoop. Mustards might be a better choice. Don't be afraid to ask for substitutions.
Skip the Soda and Shake
This is what shocks people the most: Some large sodas clock in at more than 500 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. And that offers no nutrition at all. Instead, drink water or seltzer with a wedge of lemon.
Blow Off the Bread
Yes, burgers come with two sides to the bun, but that doesn't mean you need both sides to enjoy it. Top the burger with an extra tomato and a layer of lettuce to take its place.
Forego Anything Fried
No matter how you slice it, foods breaded and deep fried in oil are an artery-clogging disaster. Chicken, fish and vegetables that are grilled, broiled or steamed taste just as good as fried, particularly when they are well seasoned.
Many fast food portions are enough for two. Bring a friend and split it in half.