Fast food is a popular choice for busy moms as they can quickly pick up dinner while shuttling their kids around town or heading home from a long day’s work. While some fast foods are a nutritional nightmare, this is not universally the case. By ordering carefully and considering the potential health benefits of many fast food options, you can make your grab-and-go dinner just as nutritious as the one that you would have prepared at home.
While some fast food sandwiches are definitely diet busters, deli-meat sandwiches are generally a diet-safe fast food choice. Instead of opting for a double cheeseburger, select a sandwich filled with turkey, ham or another lean meat. To make the sandwich an even wiser choice, select a whole grain bun and mustard, instead of a standard sandwich bun and mayo. Many fast food joints are also beginning to offer healthy wraps in addition to their usual meat-on-a-bun varieties.
Grilled Chicken Sandwiches
Grilled chicken sandwiches provide the same filling meal as a burger without the fat content. Most burger joints offer a grilled chicken sandwich option. Look for a sandwich free of calorie-laden additives, like bacon. For an even leaner fast food fix, select a cheese-free grilled chicken that also does not contain mayo but instead has a light dressing or mustard topping.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits
Fruit and yogurt parfaits are inexpensive and nutritious. Many restaurants, including McDonald’s and Panera Bread Company, offer a fruit and yogurt parfait option to customers looking for a healthy snack on-the-go. These between-meal treats are nutritious because they contain calcium-rich yogurt and fruit that contains an assortment of healthful nutrients. They are also creamy enough to make you feel as if you are indulging a sweet tooth instead of eating a healthy treat. Be aware, however, that the yogurts may have a high fat or high sugar count.
At many restaurants, conscientious diners can select a fruit side instead of greasy fries. Select pre-packaged sliced apples, mandarin oranges or a mixed fruit cup in place of your standard side. Doing so can save you loads of calories and fat. You can also select these options for your kids instead of allowing them to snack on the unhealthy sides that commonly accompany kid’s meals.
Many dieters make the mistake of assuming that all salads are created equal. In truth, some salads pack more of a calorie punch than a cheeseburger. While a salad is often a wise choice, it may help to check out the caloric content of that salad you’re about to order. Particularly, avoid salads topped with fried chicken, bacon or rich and creamy dressings. While these salad toppers may be tasty, they are also full of fat and high in calories, negating the health benefits of the lettuce and other vegetable toppers.