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Healthy Fast Food

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Healthy Fast Food
With a few healthy choices, you can opt for healthy fast food sans the excess calories and trans fats. Learn how you can make a difference in your fast food eating lifestyle.

We all realize the hazards of regular consumption of fast food and its effects on healthy lifestyle. Yet, millions of adult men and women find it extremely difficult, rather impossible to resist the temptations of fried chicken, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, sodas or pizzas.

The taste aspect apart, quickening pace of life, paucity of time have all led to increased consumption of fast food. Eat out or take home fast food has become the norm of the day. This article is a guide to those who do not wish to fall prey to 'fast food fad' and ruin their health. Learn to make certain modifications that make fast food healthy.

Tasty, easy fast food

Almost a quarter of all Americans buy fast food every day. Reports from the World Health Organization indicate that a sixth of world's population is overweight. Most of it due to a near total craving for fast food consumption and the lack of exercise. Taste, inexpensive pricing, variety and convenience contribute to the popularity of fast food.

Ill effects of fast food

Many fast food items are laden with high calories. Most often, consumption of high-fat, high-sugar fast food results in exceeding the recommended dietary allowance. Ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oil contain high amount of trans fat. Certain additives and processing techniques reduce the nutritional value of trans fat. Food overloaded with fat and sugar content in colas results in weight gain. Fast foods also contain more salt.

Obesity is almost an epidemic in America and the primary cause is linked to fast food consumption - a single fast food meal contains enough calories to satisfy an individual's caloric requirement for a whole day. Steady intake of fast food interferes with calcium absorption, can result in sluggishness and increases risk of stroke, greater increase in insulin resistance, a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. The risk associated with fast food results from:

  • High fat, salt, sugar and kilo joules

  • Low in fiber content

  • Devoid of important nutrients, vitamins and minerals

Switch to healthy fast food

A team of scientists has revealed that bingeing on foods, which are excessively high in fats and sugar can bring about changes to the brain and body. The physiological changes make it hard to say no to old habits. Instead of struggling hard to keep away from favorite fast food items, embark on a healthy fast food eating style.

Explore ways to reduce the risks associated with eating fast food. These should be changes that drastically eliminate the harmful fats, cholesterol, sodium and all other unhealthy aspects of fast food. Making these modifications, you can reduce the ill-effects of fast food and yet give in to occasional meals of fast food.

Apart from standard menu, fast food restaurants and inns have healthy dishes and items as part of the regular menu. There are plenty of options to eat healthy while on the run. Serious efforts are made to boost the quality of fast food varieties by using leaner meats, whole-grain bread, lower-fat fries and low-sugar soft drinks and adding more vegetables. It is time for you, the consumer to make the most out of fast food. Use these suggestions.

Reduce fast food choice: You can't take the big jump all at once. Begin by making small changes. This should be the first step. Make a chart for a full month and decide on the minimum number of times you will go to a restaurant or consume fast food.

Tackle temptations: Take pro-active steps to tackle the temptations even before it hits. Make it part of a regular diet to eat a piece of fruit, a bowl of cereal or a low fat yogurt. This helps in making you feel full and controls temptations.

Keep orders small and simple: Be selective and regulate size by ordering regular versions. This ensures that you eat what you need, the right amount of meal. Be trained to say no to oversize. If you order super-size, share with a friend.

Selection of beverages: Replace sodas with unsweetened ice tea or skim milk with lemon or fruit juice or just water. Carry water or buy bottled water.

Avoid fried items: All fried items are dunked in hot oil, have more fat and high calories. Instead of French fries, opt to have a grilled chicken sandwich. Instead of fried items, select steamed, poached, broiled, baked, grilled/barbecued or roasted foods. Try plain baked/mashed potatoes minus the sour cream, bacon and cheese topping whenever you are tempted to eat French fries.

Go green: Fast food restaurants have a variety of salad types. Place a large order of your favorite vegetable. Avoid all fatty stuff including cheese, mayonnaise or any other special sauce. Instead, carry along a fat-free salad dressing and use it generously. This helps in increasing the amount of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins intake.

Know the nutrition content: Choose restaurants that provide nutrition information. Ask for the menu card and check nutrition information and the calories contained.

Smart select outlets: You can exercise control on the amount of meat, Mayo and other sandwich spreading in places where low fat sandwiches on wheat bread or pita are prepared. Opt for places that are known for fresh servings of fruits and salads.

Smart order tips

  • Order plain burgers without cheese, bacon or sauce. Instead ask for extra tomatoes and lettuce.

  • Select chicken thighs or any dark meat portion.

These are healthy fast food options at your disposal. If you care to keep fit and at the same time wouldn't like to keep away from your favorite fast food, make healthy choices.

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