7 tips for healthier fast food

7 tips for healthier fast food

On average, adults consume 11.3 percent of their daily calories from fast food, and the amount of food eaten away from home continues to rise in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast food may not be the healthiest option, but in the midst of a chaotic day, stopping at the drive-thru may seem like the only option.

Eating fast food doesn’t have to be off-limits, says Dr. Sasi Royyuru, an Advocate Medical Group family medicine physician at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

Dr. Royyuru and the American Heart Association offer these tips for eating out:

  1. Avoid sides – Fries and chips are high in fat, sodium and calories. A burger or sandwich will usually be enough to keep you full. If you do choose a side, have a fruit cup, salad or baked potato with low-fat sour cream. Eating the fruit or salad at the beginning of the meal fills us up better and limits eating huge portions of other things.
  2. Try the grilled option – Grilled skinless chicken has much less fat than a burger or fried chicken. It also tends to be less processed.
  3. Skip soda – Most fast food restaurants have 100-percent juice or low-fat milk, but the best option is always water. This will help you cut back on unnecessary sugar and calories.
  4. Order small sizes – When you order the “super-size” combos, you may get a better “value,” but your meal naturally grows in calories, fat, sugar and sodium. You also tend to overeat. Eat slowly and see how amazingly full you feel, even with the smaller ‘dollar-menu’ sizes.
  5. Try wheat bread – When ordering a sandwich or burger, most restaurants will have an option to substitute for whole wheat.
  6. Choose healthy toppings – Try veggies like tomato, onion, lettuce and pickles on your sandwich instead of cheese, bacon and mayo to cut down on fat.
  7. Skip these – Avoid milkshakes, fried chicken nuggets and fried fish sandwiches.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.