Finding time to eat three meals a day can be challenging; making those meals healthy seems next to impossible. Even if you’re diligent about preparing healthy meals in advance, you likely have days where you can’t stay on track, like when you’re traveling.
The good news is it is possible to make healthy choices even when dining at your favorite fast food restaurant. And in the age of technology, you have apps at your fingertips, which make it a lot easier to know exactly what you’re putting in your body.
Although it is best to meal prep fresh foods and pack them on the go, here are some healthy tips for those times when you go through the drive-through.
All meals listed below from three popular fast food restaurants are under 550 calories, have more than 10 grams of protein, and 20 grams of fat or less.
A normal lunch should be around 400-600 calories, depending on your height, weight and meal preferences.
Make Healthy Choices at Fast Food Restaurants
Here are three healthy choices you can make at three of the most popular fast food chains.
Instead of: Big Mac with small fries and Coke (910 calories)
Try: A McDouble (390 calories, 22 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 18 grams of fat) with cheese and a side salad with low-fat balsamic vinaigrette (50 calories, 1 gram of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fat) and unsweetened tea either plain or with Splenda (0 calories).
Total: 440 calories, 23 grams of protein, 40 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams of fat)
Instead of: Baconator with fries and a Coke (1380 cal)
Try: Plain baked potato (270 calories, 7 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, 61 grams of carbohydrates) and large chili (250 calories, 21 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 29 grams of carbohydrates) with a sugar-free beverage
Total: 520 calories, 28 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, 90 grams of carbohydrates
Instead of: Original Sandwich with medium fries and Coke (1,090 calories)
Try: Market Salad with Grilled Chicken (340 calories, 14 grams of fat, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 32 grams of protein) and diet lemonade (50 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates)
Total: 390 calories, 14 grams of fat, 32 grams of protein, 48 grams of carbohydrates
- Ask for light dressings and sauces on salads, wraps, sandwiches and pizza.
- Choose water instead of a flavored, sugary beverage.
- Substitute your side of fries for a side of fruit or salad.
- Skip the extra cheese.
- Don’t add extra salt.
Making simple fast food swaps like these can keep you on the path to reaching your health and wellness goals.
Many restaurants have detailed apps on which you can pre-order food. Those apps tell you exactly how many calories to expect in your meal, even with modifications to the meal!
There are also great apps that allow you to track food and get insights on whatever you buy whether it is fast food or ingredients for a homemade meal. Some Ochsner-approved apps include:
Have more questions about weight loss and healthy eating? Ochsner Healthy You can help you get the tools and support you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle.
If you are interested in weight loss surgery, click here or call 225-761-5200.