Fast food restaurants are growing fast now a days. Often first foods are the easiest option for people to take at regular basis in working hour or to celebrate their occasions.
Although it is quicker and many times a cheaper option, many of these foods are not usually the healthiest one. Eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium and fat for an entire day. With little knowledge about these foods can help make healthier choices and still enjoy the convenience of fast food restaurants.
Making healthier choices is easier if you prepare ahead by checking guides that show you the nutritional content of meal choices at your favorite restaurants. If you do not prepare ahead of time the following guidelines help to make your meal healthier.
* Pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats.
* Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. Try adding a little lemon to your water. Soft drinks also contain calories. Try limiting the intake.
* When choosing items, be aware of calorie and fat packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise. You can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself, controlling how much you put on your sandwich.
* Watch your salt. Fast food restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure. Do not add insult to injury by adding more salt.
* Avoid buffets-even seemingly healthy ones like salad bars. You will likely overeat to get your money’s worth. If you do choose buffet dining, opt for fresh fruits, salads with olive oil and vinegar or low-fat dressings, broiled entrees and steamed vegetables. Resist the temptation to go for seconds, or wait at least 20 minutes after eating to make sure you are really still hungry before going back for more.
* Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for our bodies to register that we have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better and makes you feel more satisfied.
* Watch portion size — an average fast food meal can run as high as 1000 calories or more, so choose a smaller portion size. At a typical restaurant, a single serving provides enough for two meals. Divide the portion with a dining partner. Sharing might make dessert (or something else indulgent) more of an option.
* Do not be afraid to special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it were not for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
The delicious, quick and cheap temptation of fast foods can be hard to resist. Before satisfying your test bud, make sure the foods you are taking satisfy your health.
Source: The Daily Star, April 03, 2010