Healthy Fast Food – Save Calories at Fast Food Restaurants

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Okay. So if I could, I’d eat this meal about once a month. At some points in my life, I did! It’s my favorite fast food meal! My guilty pleasure that I try to say no to as often as possible. It’s McDonald’s Filet o’ Fish meal! So whenever I feel like I can’t say no, I have my substitute meal instead!

Now the substitute meal doesn’t have the same guilty pleasure attached to it, but it does make me feel like I can eat a little something “I’m not supposed to”! I think it’s important to let yourself have a little leeway once in a while to make sure you don’t feel deprived. The substitute meal also satisfies my hunger without making me feel totally full. I feel better having small meals often versus eating larger meals less frequently.

So here are the details on my favorite guilty pleasure meal and what I have instead.

Favorite Meal – McDonald’s Filet o’ Fish Meal

  • 970 calories
  • 37 grams of fat
  • 927 mg sodium
  • 144 grams of carbohydrates

Substitute – McDonald’s Side Salad, Small Fries and Water

  • 290 calories
  • 14 grams of fat
  • 890 mg sodium
  • 37 grams of carbohydrates

It’s hard to say no to the favorite, but looking at it like this and it’s a no-brainer! So if you have a plan, you can eat at your favorite fast food place and still feel content without the guilt.

So let’s talk about salads! You’d think eating a salad is the best option. Often the salad dressing is what does us in! It is important to look at the nutrition facts labels on foods. When looking at these labels, be sure to look at the % Daily Value area. This area describes what percentage of each nutrient is provided for the entire day.

What is also important to make sure you look at is the Serving Size. If the serving size is one tbsp (tablespoon), you must multiply that by the amount per serving. So, if there are 5 tbsp in the package, multiply the calories, fat, sodium, etc. by 5 to get the entire Daily Value.

Try to avoid double, triple or super sizes at restaurants. These types of meals often contain the same or more calories, fats, carbohydrates than you need for the entire day! Usually the more protein you eat, the fuller you feel. So if your appetite is at an all time high, eat more protein! Lean protein that is. Generally speaking, hamburger meat used in fast food meals is less lean than what you can purchase and cook from your local grocery store.

Limiting fried foods is also a good option when eating fast food. If it’s a piece chicken you’d like, get the grilled version instead of fried. If it is French fries or a baked potato, pick the baked potato hold the bacon, butter and sour cream! Some fast food restaurants are also offering healthier side items like fresh fruit.

You may find a cup of chili, a baked potato, or a grilled chicken salad filling and better for you. So take your time at the fast food window, pick your best options and listen to your body. If you order something and then change your mind – change your order. It’s never too late to feel good about what you are eating. Remember you are not alone and always, I’m pulling for you!

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About Author

Nell Ellis

I'm a ISCA certified personal trainer and I've had the pleasure of working with stay at home moms, former athletes, young professionals and ordinary people who simply want to get back in shape, but who often don't have time to get to a gym. Performing exercises in the comfort of your home can make a world of difference in how you look and feel. See my profile page for more information!

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