Healthiest Fast Food
In the past, it was almost impossible to say healthy and fast food in the same sentence. But in recent years with all the slamming of fast food restaurants on contributing to the obesity of the American Public, things have improved greatly. If you pay attention, Healthy Fast Foods are available and you can now get a lower calorie and healthy meal at most fast food restaurants.
What we are going to try and do in this article is give you some methods to choose the healthiest fast food from any popular restaurant. There are quite a few obvious characteristics of high calorie and bad fat choices that are easy to spot. And there are also ways to determine the healthiest fast foods from available menu items. The trick is using a few guidelines to get the lowest calorie and fat content but still enjoy your meal. This is much easier since the menu items change with the weather at most fast food restaurants.
There are really three very important considerations when selecting the healthiest fast food. The number of calories, the amount and type of fat, and especially the amount of bad boy trans fats. Trans fats are the worst possible type of fats to consume and your daily consumption should be 0, yep no trans fats are the goal. I often refer to trans fats as the widow maker of all the different types of fats since it contributes to Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, and Strokes. No kidding, daily consumption of trans fats will kill you, maybe not today but eventually.
So basically no healthy fast foods should contain trans fats, acceptable amounts of calories, and as little bad fat as possible. Good fats (fats that come from vegetable oils) are unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. The bad fats are saturated fats, found in animal products (poultry skin, high-fat dairy, meat, and eggs) and in some vegetable fats like coconut and palm oils. Based on most nutritionists, it’s OK to have about 7% of your calories from bad fats. There are quite a few good foods as far as basic nutrition goes but do have a small number of bad fats like an Avacodo.
OK, here’s our basic guidelines for finding the healthiest fast foods:
- Very low or no trans fats
- Low-calorie count (350 or less for the main entre)
- No dairy products or just small amounts (that’s cheese and milk)
- Up to 10-15% of good fats (polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats)
- Watch out for special sauces (they are usually high calorie and fat items)
- Drinks can add up to 300 calories for a soda so don’t forget that
These simple and easy to follow rules can be applied to any restaurant meals but are especially useful at fast food restaurants since they fry almost everything if they can. As an example, you can get a milkshake and a double cheeseburger from any of the popular fast food places. Let’s throw in some onion rings to make it a meal.
- White Castle Chocolate Shake – 1150 calories
- Surf & Turf Slider w/Cheese – 540 calories
- White Castle Homestyle Onion Rings – 810 calories
So the three above selections are the worst possible scenarios and come to a total of 2500 calories and at least 100 grams of fat for one meal but I chose them to make a point. Even at half the numbers of calories and fat, you can see the problem with fast food restaurants. But we only have ourselves to blame, we buy this stuff so they sell it. You can very easily hit 1300-1500 calories on bad choices in any fast food restaurant. But the good news is many now have some healthy fast foods choices too. After getting tons of bad press, almost all restaurants do two things that can help you get the healthiest fast food. First, they list the calories and amounts of fats on most items. Second, they offer low calorie and fat dishes that actually taste good.
Healthy Fast Foods Choices
Here’s a good example of low calorie and fat meal at a fast food place:
- McDonalds Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich – 350 calories
- McDonalds Snack Size Fruit & Walnuts – 210 Calories
- McDonalds Diet Coke® (Medium) – 0 calories
That’s not a bad meal on both taste or getting your fill. At a total calorie count of 560, low-fat meat, and the good fat in the walnuts, it’s a well-balanced meal. Even children would go for this so it’s a good choice all around. Most fast food places have similar choices that provide good nutrition and low calories and fat. When I was looking at the McDonalds menu I saw at least 7 or 8 combinations that fit these criteria and offer the healthiest fast food.
The best way to get the healthiest fast food is to check out the menu items on the calorie and fat content. Use the guidelines above and you should be able to get a good meal for around 500-600 calories. The biggest change is that most fast food restaurants have changed the cooking oil to one that doesn’t have trans fats. That’s made a huge difference in the number of calories and bad fat. Healthy fast foods choice are there, you just have to pay attention when ordering.
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The content on this site is presented only for informational purposes and does not replace medical advice from a practicing physician.