Wellness Works!

Eat Out and Eat Healthy Too!

Fast food is easy: no meal preparation, no clean-up. Plus, there are usually multiple places to stop between work and home, making it really convenient.

When you compare people who eat a lot of fast food with people who don’t, there are several
differences between the two groups. Fast food eaters consume more dietary and saturated fat. They also have more body fat, and they eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Studies have shown this to be true for children, African American and Caucasian adolescent girls, college and middle aged adults according to Steven G. Aldana, PhD.

Fast food consumption is contributing to chronic diseases such as obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. Most fast foods contain red and processed meats, butter, white flour, high fat dairy products and most importantly, they are fried in trans fats.

Studies have shown a direct link between consumption of trans fats and chronic diseases. Healthy oils such as olive, soybean and peanut actually improve blood cholesterol. Trans fats are thought to be 10 times worse than saturated fats, increasing the risk for heart disease.

Fruits, vegetables, vegetable pizza, many sandwiches, salads and vegetable stir fry are healthier choices. Anything that is close to being natural such as a salad is a healthier choice. Baked potatoes instead of French fries are another healthier choice.

The following is a chart showing several of the most popular fast food restaurants and the healthier choices that are available. The key is to try to order items that are less than 300 calories per serving.

Wendy’s: grilled chicken fillet with honey mustard (no mayo), a Jr. hamburger or Jr. cheeseburger, side salad, spring mix salad with honey pecans and ½ the salad dressing packet, or a small (8oz.) chili.

Taco Bell: tacos (soft beef or chicken) taco supreme, any of the Gorditas

Subway: 6 in. sub or deli round with lots of veggies, ham, roast beef or turkey breast. Use mustard or vinegar as the topping. Any of the salads with 6 grams of fat or less topped with a fat free Italian dressing. Most soups (not chili) that don’t contain bacon or cheese would add 90 calories to the meal.

Burger King: Whopper Jr. or the Chicken Jr. with lettuce and tomato, no mayo will be around 310 calories. The chicken tenders are only 210 calories for a 5 piece serving and will still be under 300 calories if dunked in barbeque or sweet and sour sauce.

McDonalds: a small hamburger with lettuce and tomato, no mayo, or a California Cobb Salad (with or without the chicken) and half a packet of balsamic will keep it to 300 calories.


Fast food chart compliments of WebMD