Healthy Fast Food: Easy Guidelines for Choosing the Best Fast Food

Fast food is quick and easy and, with all the new dollar menus, it can be an affordable option, too. But eating too much of the wrong kind of fast food can be unhealthy, with loads of saturated fat and extra calories.

Use these simple guidelines to easily choose the healthiest choices from each fast food menu.

Salads tend to be among the healthiest options, as long as you aren't slathering on the dressing. Some salad dressings contain just as many calories and fat grams as some of the more obvious diet wreckers. Take a look at the nutrition information on the dressing packet before you squirt it on your salad.

Another hint: Try squeezing the dressing on the side and dipping just your fork into the dressing before each bite. That is a great way to control the amount of dressing you are consuming.

Healthy fast food does not mean you are restricted to salads alone. There are lots of other options that are just as tasty and filling. You just need to recognize what is good and what is not:

Try to avoid anything that has been deep fried in oil. French fries and chicken nuggets are not health foods.

Avoid creamy sauces and loads of toppings, such as mayonnaise and extra helpings of cheese. Ask for extra vegetables, such as tomatoes and lettuce, instead.

If you're in a sub sandwich shop, substitute wheat bread for white bread, go easy on the meat and cheese and load up on vegetables. Skip the oil and the mayonnaise. And keep in mind that mustard adds a lot of flavor without the calories of mayo.

When ordering soups, opt for a soup with a clear broth instead of the cream-based variety.

Eat reasonable portions. Do not supersize or upsize anything. If you do, you'll be eating far more than one serving. Avoid double burgers and burgers with a lot of extras, except vegetables.

Make a conscious effort to slow down when you are eating. Fast food restaurants tend to be loud places where everyone is in a hurry, which are two factors that can lead to eating too fast. When we eat too fast, we tend to eat way more calories because we keep eating past the point of satiety. Chew each bite ten to twenty times and put down your hamburger (or your fork) between each bite. When you feel full, stop eating.

You can also cut a lot of calories by opting for water or unsweetened iced tea, instead of a 16 ounce (or larger) soda or lemonade.

In general, your best choices for healthy fast food are either a salad with minimal dressing, a small burger with no cheese, a grilled chicken sandwich, or a submarine sandwich on wheat bread.

Many fast food restaurants are making an effort to provide healthy options. Experiment with new foods and see if you can find new favorites instead of your standard burger with fries and a soda.

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