Published on July 28th, 2013 | by Tom Firehill


Fast Food That Won’t Lead to Love Handles

Just because one wants to eat healthier, it doesn’t slow down the pace of everyday life. Needing something quick and cheap shouldn’t preclude getting something at least semi-nutritious for a meal. Most people would like to have an extended lunch break or extra time to go get the healthier foods, but that is not always an option. Don’t beat yourself up too much about it, but perhaps try exercising that day if you must give into fast food. The following is a guide to choosing healthier food options at fast food joints.

1) No Fries, No Soda, No Desserts, No Chips

It can be tempting to get these tasty and affordable add-ons that are offered at most fast food chains. The restaurants wisely market these with prices that seem like great deals. They also try to appeal to customers with displays that encourage impulse buys. All of these little additions ad up calories and fat that you will get plenty of from your meal.

Check out this following list of calories and nutritional value that may change your mind next time you just want a little treat with your lunch.

2) Hold the Sauce

Not all sauces are terrible. Some are definitely worse than others. As a general rule if you think it may have mayo in it skip it. That rules out honey mustard, special sauces, chipotle mayo or anything that sort of looks creamy. As an alternative, you can stash a bottle of sriracha, hot sauce or mustard in the glove box to give things a little extra flavor boost.

The following are the calories of some sauces to give you an idea of how fatty and gross some of these sauces they smother on actually are for your health.

  • McDonald’s Big Mac Special Sauce contains 105 calories and 17% of your daily recommended fat in just a .7 oz serving.
  • Subway’s Chipotle Southwest sauce contains 96 calories with 15% of your recommended daily fat in a .7 oz serving.
  • Burger King’s Creamy Mayonaisse contains 80 calories in just a .4 oz serving.

3) Be Careful with Salads

Salads can be healthy. They can also leave you hungry leading you to eat unhealthier later in the day because you are starving. Salads also can have extremely high calories when you choose the wrong dressings. If you are not willing to use a light dressing or no dressing, make sure not to use the whole packet of dressing they give you, so that you cut back on some of the fats and sugars that are present in most dressings. When in doubt, vinegarettes are usually the lighter and healthier option. Creamier dressings are usually loaded with fat calories. For the healthiest salad dressing options consider carrying your own dressings in your car or at work.

The following is the calorie counts of some popular dressings served at fast food chains.

  • McDonald’s Ranch Dressing contains 170 calories in just 2 fl oz with 22% of your daily sodium.
  •  Panera’s Full Greek Dressing contains 220 calories in 1.5 oz with 24 g of fat.
  • Wendy’s Avocado Dressing contains 105 calories in 1.1 oz.

4) White Meat is the Way to Go

With the controversies surrounding Taco’s Bell’s dog-food quality meat, pink slime and the UK’s horse burgers- I hesitate to get ground meat out anywhere. Consider what ingredients you would be able to buy to make a hamburger for $1 before you adventure into the scary world of dollar menu red meat.

At least with chicken you can be semi-reassured by it not being too processed to make anything too nightmarish. In addition, chicken always contains less cholesterol, fat and calories. Try to go for the grilled chicken option instead of the fried if at all possible. Despite what your mama may have told you, chicken nuggets do not count as food.

5) Don’t Do it!

Fast food is never great for you. If you need to do it don’t beat yourself up for it. Just try to make a habit of avoid it. Try packing lunch whenever possible for a cheaper, healthier and even faster option. No matter how fast McDonald’s is, there is nothing faster than making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You don’t have to spend money, time or gas to bring a packed lunch. It may be boring, but it is better than cardiovascular disease!

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