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How to Be Healthier - The Best Way, Not Just the Fast Way

Jun 26, 2008
You can't help but miss the current trend of healthier menu options at fast food restaurants. Is it only used for marketing, or can you really get a nutritionally rounded meal? Yes you can; food that is fast and healthy can now be put in the same sentence, but if you take in large amounts, here's what you will have to know.

You have to practice conscious eating. You need to be aware of your choices at any fast food restaurant menu. If you wisely choose it is a strong possibility that you will be able to have a balances meal.

Another important thing you will need to know is ask the difference between grilled and fried. Fried food, especially deep-fried food, is put into hot oils covered with fats. Grilled food, on the other hand, is cooked on an open flame; when you order your grilled food be careful not to submerge it in tons of condiments. Spread a healthy amount over the food and ask for the condiments on the side. Cheese is also a huge factor. Cheese tastes good and is a good source of dairy to add to your diet. However, when you are planning a to eat something, like a huge sandwich, with cheese on it, just remember that an ounce of cheese can have up to ten grams of fat in it.

Finally, salads are not always what they seem; people tend to develop them into an unhealthy choice. Ironically, salads have become as popular as French fries to fast food places. Most salads commonly have fresh lettuce and vegetables which are very healthy to eat, but when a salad comes loaded with cheese, fried chicken, bacon and is smothered with a fat and rich dressing, what's the point? Be careful what you turn your healthy choices into.

Portion control is also a good way to eat healthier at fast food restaurants. A lot of the restaurants will give you more for your money. Nonetheless, even though you are paying less, does not mean that it is a healthy choice. You have to ask yourself what your priorities are in life. You have to ask yourself what is more important to you, eating healthier or spending less money. Another way fast food restaurants try to cheat you out of eating healthy is giving you bigger portions. Try to stay away from making your meals bigger.

A good way to follow fast food restaurants and their nutritional facts on their products is reading their web sites. You will find fat grams, total amount of calories, and the amount of trans fatty acids, sodium, fiber, sugar and cholesterol. A lot of the web sites will have a section where you can create your own meal and then have a breakdown of your choices. The results will help educate you in what you will be eating.

Many nutritionists contain a cynical perception on fast food restaurants. Nutritionists have come to realize that event though the menus have become healthier, they have not full taken out the junk food; its considered to be fast food for a reason, not necessarily healthy food. In other words, although fast food restaurants have played a huge role in America's obesity problem, they are not the answer to it. You have a choice.

* Check online. Most fast food chains declare the nutritional facts about their products on their Web sites. There you'll find fat grams and total calories, plus the presence and quantity of trans fatty acids, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, sugars, etc. Some Web sites allow you to "build a meal," then display a nutritional breakdown of your choices. The results may surprise you; and will certainly help educate you.

* Some words about cheese. Cheese is to fast food what wheels are to cars. And why not? It tastes great, especially melted, and a certain amount of dairy in your diet is good for you. But when you're planning your made-to-order, six-inch, Subway sandwich, remember this: An ounce of cheese can contain up to 10 grams of fat!

* Conscious eating. Being aware of your choices is never more important than when you're ordering from a glitzy fast food menu. "There's a possibility that if you choose wisely you can get a balanced meal," says Debby Demory-Luce, Ph.D., an instructor in nutrition at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. But beware - no one can foul up a perfectly healthy meal like the purveyors of fast food.

* Grilled, not fried. All fish and chicken are not created equal. Deep-fried foods are submerged in hot oils loaded with artery-clogging trans fats; grilled foods are obviously cooked by open flame. And when you order grilled, don't blow it with a ton of butter and mayonnaise. Ask for your condiments on the side so you can spread a healthy quantity yourself.

* But surely a sandwich is OK? They're quick and easy and potentially wholesome. The trick is to be aware of what you're putting on them. Go for lean meats and skip oil and mayonnaise additives. Like everyone else, Jared had to read the menu and select a Savory Turkey Breast Subway sandwich over Meatball Marinara. Demory-Luce says a plain baked potato with a small serving of chili from Wendy's may be a better option. "If you're stuck and you have to eat in a fast food restaurant you can eat healthy," agrees Lieberman. "McDonald's is the most difficult place for me to do that; Arby's is the easiest.

* Portion control. It's true that McDonald's has dropped its super sizes. But fast food is still driven by the conviction that consumers want value for money. More often than not, meals remain two to three times the size of recommended portions, warns Demory-Luce. "A lot people are eating on the run, eating in their car or in front of the TV, and they're not paying attention to how much they're eating." Mindless eating doesn't cut it with fast food.
About the Author
Fitness Expert Chris McCombs is a well known Personal Trainer in Laguna Beach and you can learn more about him a http://www.socalworkout.com/
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