How to Make Healthier Fast Food Choices

Fast food is EVERYWHERE in the US! You can’t drive a half-mile without being bombarded by images of delicious food–hamburgers, pizza, tacos, and the list goes on. No matter who you are, it’s tough to avoid all that fast food. There’s something addictive about the flavors, and you may be struggling with it while dieting. Thankfully, we’ve got a few tips to help you make healthier fast food choices:

Avoid Fast Food Restaurants

This is probably the most obvious way to avoid eating unhealthy fast food: simply avoid it altogether! Instead of eating at fast food restaurants, make sure to only eat food that takes a long time to cook. This will ensure that you are eating only fresh ingredients, and hopefully making healthier food choices. Resist the urge to pull into that drive-through. If that means always having healthy snack in your car, so be it. Fight your fast food cravings, and it will be easier to make the healthy choice.

Find “Healthy” Fast Food

Just because it’s fast food, that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. There are a few places that offer healthy fast food options. Take Subway, for example. It’s a classic fast-food eatery, but there are healthier options to choose from: whole wheat bread, low-calorie dressings, turkey and chicken breast, veggie toppings, and so on. A Subway sandwich will always be healthier than a Big Mac or a slice of Domino’s Pizza, so it’s the “better” of two choices. If you just can’t kick your fast food cravings, try to make the healthiest possible choices.

Order With Your Hands

If you can find an eatery with self-order options, take advantage of it! In one study, people who ordered their meals by pressing buttons on a self-serve vending machine actually made healthier choices than people who ordered aloud. When you use your hands to order, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is activated. This is a part of your brain that not only controls your hand movements, but it also plays a role in your impulse control. It may sound silly, but ordering with your hands can help you to make smarter, healthier choices.

Limit Yourself

A staggering number of people eat fast food on a daily basis. That is a recipe for obesity and poor health! Instead, limit yourself to one treat a week–or, better yet, one a month. If you just can’t say no to fast food, at least keep your indulgences in check. Make sure that you only get fast food once in a while. If you have to go all out on that occasion, so be it. But do not allow yourself to overdo it on the fast food!

Choose Healthier Ingredients

Anything that is fried and breaded will be way high in fat and calories, while “grilled” options are always a healthier choice. If given the choice between chicken and steak, always go for chicken. Try to make sure your fast food meals are loaded with veggies, and avoid the high calorie sides. NEVER order a fountain drink or a milk shake, but always stick with water. If you are offered extra sauces or condiments, decline the offer–both are fairly high in calories. NEVER super-size your order! You’ll not only spend more money, but you’ll eat more calories. To find the healthiest items on your favorite fast food restaurant’s menu, visit their website and do the research. Just about every fast food restaurant in the world has a “healthy” option, so spend time looking for it before you walk into the store.

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