Healthy Fast Foods: Tips and Strategies

Photo: Thinkstock/Mekanikko

Do you feel like you’re constantly busy or chained to a desk with little to no down time? Life seems to have turned into a constant go-go-go, from the moment the alarm shrieks until it’s time to go to sleep. If this sounds familiar, you likely are feeling anxiety and stress, which easily can turn into less-than-healthful eating habits, such as turning to fast food a bit too often.

A sedentary lifestyle paired with consuming too much fried food and red and processed meat and not enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains may lead to increased risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, nutrition deficits and a range of other ailments. However, there’s more to fast food than highly processed, fatty, salty meals or sugary treats. The following are some tips for healthier fast food:

  • Look for foods lower in saturated fat and higher in fiber
  • Focus on lean meats and plant-based protein sources such as beans and avoid fried meats
  • Bring your own nutrient-dense sides and add-ons such as dried fruit, nuts, homemade salad dressing, yogurt, etc.
  • Be mindful of portion size and stop eating when you’re satisfied
  • Learn menu descriptions and steer clear of dishes that are labeled creamy, battered, breaded, crispy and include butter or oil sauces, which typically contain more calories
  • Stick to water for a beverage

Next time you find yourself about to order that fried crispy chicken sandwich, take a moment and consider an alternate choice.  You’ll likely feel better afterward and your body will thank you!

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Abbie Gellman
Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN, is a New York City-based registered dietitian and chef. Check out her site and blog at Culinary Nutrition Cuisine, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.