Health Hacks for Eating Fast Food
I’m going to break a cardinal rule here. This may get me disbarred from the National Personal Trainer Board of Certified Professionals (not a real thing…that I know of). And my fellow fitness professionals may give me dirty looks (definitely a real thing…but I don’t care).
Instead of telling you not to eat fast food, which is usually what fitness professionals preach, I’m going to give you a few tips to make your drive through runs a bit healthier. Truth be told, I really like the occasional quarter-pounder with cheese (QPC) combo. I also dig the Nachos Bell Grande (I love authentic food). You may even remember a couple of previous posts about my drive thru encounter and my movie theater episode.
Well a busy travel schedule has again caused me to think about ways to remain as healthy as possible while traveling. I thought I’d share a few ways that we can all make our trips to those not-so-healthy establishments a bit less life-threatening. Try incorporating some of these the next time you swing through the drive-thru.
- Replace soda (aka sugar water) with water. This goes back to the adage of not drinking your calories. It’s very easy to mindlessly sip the straw without realizing how many empty calories you’re consuming.
- If you have to have the soda (I usually do), go for extra ice. Many fast food restaurants have self-serve drink stations. If you’re pouring your own drink, fill the cup up with ice first. The more ice you have, the less room there is left for soda. If you’re going through drive-thru, ask for extra ice.
- If you don’t prefer the ice trick, at least order a small drink, not the medium or large (which seem to get bigger every year). Even if your meal comes with a medium or large drink, ask for a small. You may get a funny look, but it’s your health, not theirs…and small things add up.
- Just say “no”…to the supersize and to the hot apple pie.
- Go dutch. My wife and I will usually order one combo meal and an extra sandwich. We then split the fries and drink (which is usually more than enough for two people).
- Opt for healthy substitutes. Some restaurants will allow healthy swaps such as fruit or small salads instead of french fries, or grilled chicken instead of burgers.
- Skip the extra salt. This actually applies wherever you eat. All too often, I see people put salt on their meal without even tasting it. Use the salt sparingly, especially if you have a history of hypertension.
It would be so easy for me to tell you to avoid fast food altogether. And if you’re capable of that, then I commend you. But if you have a busy travel schedule, just want a break from cooking, or simply like to indulge from time to time, I don’t blame you. We do it too. It’s ok.
Remember, the key to a healthy lifestyle is to incorporate habits that are sustainable. That way you can remain consistent. It’s ok to cheat from time to time, as long as it doesn’t become your normal routine. So go ahead…thrown down that combo meal! Just don’t tell my trainer friends…