Tips For Ordering Healthfully at Fast Food Restaurants

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Despite its tastiness and convenience, fast food has long been known to be very unhealthy for us. Most fast food is greasy and full of carbs, added sugars, and other not-so-good ingredients. Generally, it’s best to avoid eating fast food if possible, and instead, eat fresh, nutritious foods made at home.

As we all know, however, sometimes this just isn’t possible and fast food is the only option at our disposal. While it’s not as healthy as a homemade meal, there are ways to make healthier orders at fast food restaurants!

The following are some dieticians recommended tips from the Cleveland Clinic on how to make the healthiest choices when eating out at a fast-food restaurant!

  1. Research calorie and nutrient content = Many restaurants list the nutritional information for each food either on their menu board or online. Take some time to research the caloric and nutrient content before ordering.
  2. Leave off some ingredients and add others = Many places are more than happy to leave off an ingredient or two and substitute extra of another. For example, you might consider leaving off the cheese from your burger and getting extra veggies instead. Or swap the bun for a lettuce wrap!
  3. Opt for low-carb options = Look for foods that aren’t heavily comprised of carbs by getting grilled nuggets instead of breaded or ordering a salad instead of a burger!
  4. Look for lean proteins = While there is nothing wrong with getting a burger, they are typically on the greasier side. This means that they are higher in fat, which adds up to a lot of calories, and sometimes can make our stomachs not feel too great. Grilled chicken or other lean proteins are a great way to still meet your protein needs without all the grease.
  5. Skip the soda = Often, it is very easy to drink a lot of calories without realizing it. So instead of ordering a sugar-filled soda, get water or unsweetened tea!
  6. Choose the healthier sides = While French fries are the classic fast food side order, they are not exactly the healthiest, as they are full of carbs and unhealthy fats. Try ordering a side salad or a side of fruit or veggies for a healthier addition to your meal.

Even though fast food isn’t the healthiest option, sometimes we’ll find ourselves in situations where it’s the only option for meals. With just a few extra steps you can order meals at restaurants that have some nutritional value to them!

For more health-related articles, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!

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