6 Ways to a Healthier Eating in a Fast Food Restaurant

Mar 14, 2016 04:28 AM EDT | By Mark Jason Alcala

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Fast food restaurants are not really associated with healthy eating. Among the nutritional dangers fast food items pose are the unhealthy calorie level of each oversized orders, saturated fat levels and sodium content according to Jim Algar in Tech Times.

However, one can't always avoid fast food joints; they're a fact of modern day living. They are convenient and ubiquitous meaning that the temptation is always just around the corner. Thankfully, eating in a fast food joint doesn't have to be unhealthy according to Keri Gans writing for US News and reposted in Yahoo News site.

Kerri Gans offers these six tips for ensuring that one does not have to eat that unhealthy in a fast food restaurant:

1.Portion Matters

Of course, too much of a bad thing makes it worse. Conversely, a smaller portion of an unhealthy food such as fries is of course "healthier" than a larger portion. Maybe "healthier" is not technically the right term to use but the term "less unhealthy" seems a bit awkward.

Gans suggests staying away from anything that says "double," "triple," "extra-long" or "whole" as one is more likely to get the maximum unhealthiness of these fast food items due to the bigger portion. Instead, opt for anything "small" if there is that option.

2.Ditch Any Beverage

Anyone who is closely monitoring his or her daily calorie intake would be better off without a soda or any sugary drink. These beverages are simply loaded with sugar and therefore, calorie-dense, while at the same time do not really offer anything in terms of satisfying one's hunger. In fact, they might do the opposite being high GIs and cause one to become hungry more frequently.

A wiser option would be to spend those calorie allocations on solid food that could really address those hunger pangs and pair them with water, of course, the healthiest, zero-calorie drink.

3."Best" Ingredients Do Not Equate With Lowest Calories

It is a common marketing ploy for a fast-food restaurant to use the "best ingredient available" label to sell certain menu items, most likely the premium-priced ones. However, one must note that all ingredients add to the overall calorie content of a meal; the more ingredients there are, the higher the calorie count of the final meal.

As an example, Keri Gans cites a burrito bowl from Chipotle. Adding chicken, brown rice, tomato salsa, cheese, guacamole and black beans, the multi-ingredient bowl will have a whopping 760 calories with 7.5 grams saturated fat. Gans points out that while everything in the bowl is "good for you", the total calorie count might not be so good - it is way too high for an average lunch.

4.Fastfood Salads are Not Necessarily the Healthiest Choice

If vegetables are considered healthy, then a salad - even in a fast food setting - is healthy, right? Not necessarily says Gans and it all boils down to the calories involved. For example, Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad has 600 calories while the Grilled Chicken wrap has only 270 calories. Another example is Subway's Turkey Salad with ranch dressing has 430 calories while its 6-inch turkey sandwich with mustard has only 290 calories.

Gans suggest that the sandwiches are a smarter choice because the smaller calorie content still allows  for an additional healthy side dish such as a side salad or a piece of fruit which could be more satisfying for the same calorie count due to variety.

5.Customize If Possible

Getting rid of the most nutritionally-sinful items from an order is possible and many fast-food joints would allow it. Yes, they can remove the bacon, the cheese and even the side dressing if one just asks.

6.Consider the Cooking Style

In most cases, grilled items are healthier compared to their fried counterparts.

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