Everyone has those days where the meal planning didn’t get done, there was not enough time to go to the grocery store, your kids have a late night practice or you just don’t feel like cooking at home. We get it, it happens to everyone. However, what we want to try and avoid is making the worst decisions when stopping at fast-food restaurants. Some of the tips and choices below will allow you to still get that quick meal in without all of the added guilt, try them out!
Skip the Sauces: Going light on the sauces and dressings can make a big impact on the calorie content of a meal. Mustard is usually the best dipping sauce in terms of being healthy. Ask for burgers, salads and sandwiches ‘dry’ or with the sauce on the side to help manage intake.
Make it a Small: When ordering a combo meal, fast food places may try to upsell you for a minimal charge, don’t fall for it! If you get a combo meal ask for the small serving of sides and drinks. That way, you still get the sides you love, but don’t get the chance to over indulge.
Say “No” (Thanks) to the Soda: This is a hard one, because a drink usually comes with the meal. Skip the soda and try unsweetened tea, hot tea, coffee, soda water – if you still need that carbonation, or just a cup of water. Removing soda from the meal takes out unnecessary calories and sugars, that I would rather use on actual food!
Eat When Relaxed: This is another tricky tip to follow, especially if you are in a rush. I know I get fast food when I am in a bind, its past bed time and have two screaming toddlers in the back seat. I find all too often gorging down the meal while driving, just so I can get home and get everyone else taken care of, knowing this is my only chance to get some food down. This is called distracted eating. I recommend skipping the upset stomach later by waiting to eat when you can sit down at home or park the car and have everyone eat in a somewhat relaxed manner. This way your stomach has a chance to tell your mind it is full.
Some ‘healthier’ option ideas next time you are at McDonalds
(McDonalds Healthiest (CNN, 2017))
Kids: 4 piece chicken McNuggets, apple slices, low fat yogurt stick and low fat milk.
Vegetarians: Fruit and yogurt parfait (snack/mini meal); or Southwest salad (no chicken) with Newman’s Own creamy Southwest dressing
Vegans: Southwest salad (no chicken or cheese) with Newman’s Own low-fat balsamic vinaigrette; or side salad with balsamic vinaigrette and hamburger bun; and a “Cutie” (mandarin orange)
Calorie Counters: Southwest grilled chicken salad (without dressing); or bacon ranch grilled chicken salad (without bacon and with half a packet of Newman’s Own ranch dressing); or Egg McMuffin (without Canadian bacon or butter); and fruit and yogurt parfait (snack/mini meal size)
Sugar Conscious: Chicken McNuggets (six pieces) with spicy buffalo dipping sauce; or Egg McMuffin (without Canadian bacon or butter)
Gluten Sensitive: Southwest grilled chicken salad (without dressing or tortilla strips); or Egg McMuffin (without muffin and butter)
Athlete: Artisan grilled chicken sandwich; or fruit and maple oatmeal without brown sugar; and fat-free chocolate milk jug
Low Carb: Artisan grilled chicken sandwich (without bun); or Egg McMuffin (without muffin and butter); or cheeseburger (without bun); side salad with Newman’s Own low-fat balsamic vinaigrette