How to Eat Healthy at a Fast Food Restaurant

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It’s wonderful, of course, to eat a diet of grass-fed beef and organic vegetables. However, sometimes we’re in situations where we can’t exactly have the finest ingredients for the finest meals. Sometimes we’re traveling, for example, and find ourselves in a town where every dining establishment has a drive-through. Maybe we have a long layover in an airport that doesn’t have free wifi or a restaurant without combo meals. Whatever the reason, there is good news. You can still make healthy choices even at a fast food restaurant.

First of all, your choices will depend on your diet. If you’re a low carb eater like me, then you’re probably an old hand at making the low carb choice at fast food restaurants. However, if you’re new to low carb, here are the basics.

At burger restaurants, order burgers without buns and without ketchup. To make your meal a little more filling, add in a side salad and make sure your dressing is full fat. At chicken or fish restaurants, choose grilled meat and green vegetables. At Tex-Mex places, they usually offer a bowl option that you can get without rice or other carbs.

If you’re fine with carbs, your options are a little wider but pretty much the same. A small burger is usually a good option, but you should choose a side salad instead of fries. As far as meal salads go, many of them can be good choices if you choose lower calorie dressings and ask for them without croutons or other empty calorie add-ons. (Most restaurants have nutritional info in their stores, but if not, you should be able to find it on their websites).

For fish and chicken restaurants, your options are similar to low carb dieters. Grilled is usually healthier than fried, and green vegetables are usually always a good choice. And at Tex-Mex, you should avoid creamy, cheesy sauces and get guacamole or pico de gallo, instead.

Many chains have recognized that consumers want healthier options, so not only have they made their nutritional data more transparent, they’ve made an effort to add smarter choices to their menus. These days, it shouldn’t be a death knell for your diet if you have to drive-through.

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