Not to promote eating at a fast food restaurant, especially if you are on a diet, but sometimes plans donâ€™t go according to schedule. Maybe you are on a trip with another family and donâ€™t want to bring to attention your limited dietary options, or you have been out all day and have run out of your healthy snacks. The occasional trip to a fast food restaurant wonâ€™t blow your diet, if you know what low carb fast food options to order.
Know Before You Go
As with any restaurant you dine in outside the home, plan ahead. I canâ€™t reiterate this enough. There will be other trips to a fast food restaurant, so do your planning once and keep it in your mental back pocket for future trips. Go online and pick a few of your â€œfavoriteâ€ fast food restaurants to view their menu. Read the nutrition facts and plan your order ahead of time. You can visit calorieking.com for a calorie breakdown of fast-food chains and restaurants, or an app called the Fast Food Calorie Counter, which lists over 9,000 menu items. Now you have various ways to plan ahead and not blow your diet.
If you have the option, choose the smaller-sized meal, sandwich, etc. Or you can just order an appetizer, half an entrÃ©e, or a side salad. The option to order from the kidâ€™s menu may seem silly but the portions are generally smaller and enough to tide you over until you have healthier options within reach.
Avoid anything pan-fried, sautÃ©ed, battered, breaded, au gratin, cheesy, creamy, buttered, deep-fried, bÃ©arnaise, or crispy. Choose an entree or salad with grilled chicken, shrimp or vegetables. Select grilled or roasted lean meats, such as turkey or chicken breast, lean ham, or lean roast beef. Skip the bun if itâ€™s a burger, and any toppings, such as cheese, bacon bits and croutons. Choose broth-based soups like wonton, hot and sour soup, or minestrone. Stick to sandwiches on whole wheat, pita, multi-grain breads, with deli meats and cheeses. Adding mustard, or low-fat mayonnaise can make the sandwich more flavorful without blowing your diet.
Healthy side dishes are offered at many fast-food restaurants. Instead of French fries, choose a steamed vegetable, or side salad with oil and vinegar, or low-fat dressing. You can even ask for a lemon and just squeeze the juice over the salad. A fruit bowl or a fruit and yogurt option might be available, as well as apple or orange slices, or corn on the cob.
Grab a Bottle
Skip the sodas, shakes, lemonades, and other sweetened juices. These beverages are super high in calories. A 32 oz. large regular soda offers 300 empty calories. Grab a bottle of sparkling or spring water in place of those sugary drinks.
Knowing what to order at fast-food restaurants allows you some flexibility in situations where food is not readily available. There are many ways to blow your diet, donâ€™t let fast food be one of them.