Fast food and dieting is not synonymous. In fact what most people do–if they want weight loss success is get rid of the fast food–fast. But what they normally do is make everything so bland and tasteless that it is just a failure soon after. We aren’t saying that you can go to the drive through everyday, but we are going to give you some tips and tricks for fast food that won’t break the diet rules.
A lot is wrong with fast food but that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart with it. First though you have to understand what we mean by fast food because you may only be thinking McDonalds or Burger King, but it is more than that.
Fast food restaurants may be the most notorious for their high calorie, “unhealthy” fat, sugar and salt contents, but they are not alone. It’s important to remember that most restaurants – including fine dining – will come with a lot more of those unwanted nutritional excesses, not just fast food.
The food doesn’t have to be served in a bun to make it hard on your diet and your nutrition as a whole. It only has to be served outside your home. Why is this the case? On the whole, the answer is simply economics. There are many reasons that cause a restaurant to do better financially when it serves food that will work in direct opposition to our health.
Restaurants are successful based on a number of factors. Issues like reputation, cleanliness and location (vital components, of course) aside, a restaurant will never be successful if it is known for having portions that are too small to make the average diner feel “full”, if its food doesn’t taste good, and if the amount it charges for the meal doesn’t cover the cost to produce it.
The establishment has to be within their budget so what the food is cooked in makes a difference. To make food more affordable, many restaurants, particularly those in the fast food industry, will use lower quality ingredients because they are cheaper. This typically means that fattier, saltier, lower nutrient dense foods will be served with little to no option for a good portion of vegetables, fruits and whole grains (particularly those that aren’t doused in a salty, sugary and/or fatty sauce or dressing).
At the same time, higher end restaurants aren’t off the hook, because the foods that will often make our taste buds dance the most are frequently fatty, salty, and/or sugary. It’s not impossible to eat healthy foods at restaurants. Far from it. In fact, healthier options are becoming more readily available in many cities. However, the vast majority of restaurant meals, particularly those served by fast food restaurants, are very difficult on our weight management and nutrition strategies.
If you are with friends or family–you get coerced into eating out a lot and you also get to sit and watch them eat what you shouldn’t be and get yourself into trouble. Just remember a few key things. You can always custom design your food and calorie count. You can also locate plenty of restaurants that have a “fit” menu. This menu is a lower calorie menu that will tell you the calories in it and what is being substituted. There are also very basic common-sense things to remember. Ask for no mayo or have a veggie burger instead of a beef patty or maybe do chicken as a substitute. Choose the side salad instead of the fries. If you truly love French fries, go for the small serving and never up-size your meal.
There are also applications that you can download to the phone in order to track the calories of your favorite foods and guess what? You can also look up the calorie count and ingredients of most of the food in most of the popular chain restaurants. This way, you don’t have the pressure of having to be a downer on your company and have to go to restaurants that serve twigs. Fast food can always be modified and after a while you will know off the top of your head where the best places are for you.