Picking Your Entree
By Ashley Sineath, MPH
We’ve all been there. You’re on the go, and the only options seemingly available for food are fast food restaurants. With their affordable menus, speedy prep time, drive through option, and late hours it makes sense why many eat at these restaurants. While fast food is not known as a health haven, many fast restaurants are now offering options that are still quick, affordable, and may be a bit better for your body than options in the past. Keep reading to see that it is possible to make healthier choices on the go!
If you’re not aware, fast food is frequently high in calories, high in fat, high in sugar, high in sodium, and usually offers heavily processed foods. If you do decide to incorporate fast food into your diet, we encourage you to consider these general strategies next time you’re on the run to make healthier choices.
1. Consider ordering a grilled entrée, a salad, or a wrap instead of a fried option. Grilled options typically offer your body protein without the extra salt, fat, oil, and negative effects of fried foods.
2. Go one step further and ask for any sauce, dressing, or cheese on the side.
3. Take it even further and ask for a sandwich with no bun.
4. Watch your beverages. Try half sweet/half unsweet tea, water, or a diet drink opposed to drinks that are full of sugary calories.
Check out the examples below to see the different nutrition in items from the same menus:
|Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad||Grilled Chicken Sandwich||Quarter Pounder with Cheese|
|330 Calories||380 Calories||540 Calories|
|14g Fat||6g Fat||27g Fat|
|114mg Sodium||960mg Sodium||1110mg Sodium|
|9g Carbs||44g Carbs||42g Carbs|
|6 inch Turkey Breast on Wheat Bread||6 inch Oven Roasted Chicken on Wheat Bread||6 inch Spicy Italian on Wheat Bread|
|280 Calories||320 Calories||480 Calories|
|3.5g Fat||5g Fat||24g Fat|
|760mg Sodium||610mg Sodium||1490mg Sodium|
|46g Carbs||46g Carbs||46g Carbs|
|Farmhouse Salad-Roast Turkey with Balsamic||Roast Beef Classic -- Medium||Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich|
|360 Calories||460 Calories||800 Calories|
|25g Fat||20g Fat||34g Fat|
|1340mg Sodium||1400mg Sodium||2420mg Sodium|
|13g Carbs||37g Carbs||79g Carbs|
These are just a few examples. You can always search online for the restaurant you visit the most and check out their “Nutritional Information” provided for their menu items. Also, please note that the nutrition information above may vary based on toppings, sauces, and nay sides you choose.