Help!  I’m at a fast food restaurant, what do I eat???Fast food

Have you ever been in that situation?  In a fast food restaurant, hungry and have no idea how to pick something halfway healthy?

I think we’ve all been there!  

Instead of just giving up and ordering a meal that will make you feel sick, tired and unsatisfied, I’ve put together a few tips to help you out:

Top Five Tips:

  1. Don’t order right away.  Before you place your order, take a close look at the menu.  Don’t assume that what sounds healthiest IS the healthiest item.  Check everything out – that grilled chicken might be covered with a mayo based sauce,  while a small hamburger is a lower calorie, less fat choice.  Most companies show calorie count and ingredients, so use those to help you out if available.
  2. Think outside the box.   Just because it’s dinnertime, doesn’t always mean you have to order a dinner entrée.  A great example, if I’m stuck with no other options, I’ll often order oatmeal and enjoy it with fresh fruit and honey versus a greasy sandwich and fries.  Another great out of the box example – my son has been known to order salad for breakfast since he isn’t a fan of typical breakfast sandwiches.
  3. Try something better.  Before assuming you HAVE to eat at the restaurant, look around – perhaps there is a better option nearby?  Or even a grocery store.  No reason you have to settle – run over to the grocery and pick up some pre-cut fruit, veggies and humus and then join the rest of your party in the restaurant for the meal.  If you feel like you must order something, get just a sandwich or small entrée and eat half of it but fill in with your healthier sides.
  4. Plan ahead.  If you know you’ll have to stop somewhere less than ideal (or even if you suspect that might happen in the near future), plan ahead.  Check out restaurant websites, do a little research and have a plan in place.  Check to see if the restaurant offers oatmeal, baked potatoes, salads, etc.  Then come up with a few ideas of what you’d feel good eating.  Make sure and order water before the rest of your meal – that way you won’t be tempted with sodas or milkshakes!
  5. Go small.  Really craving something a bit indulgent?  Don’t see any healthier options?  Go small.  Most fast food restaurants won’t complain if you order a kid’s meal.  You’ll end up with a smaller portion (or more accurately an appropriately sized portion) of a typical fast food meal.

Regardless of how you manage this situation, keep in mind that as long as it’s once in a while, a little bit of fast food is probably not going to kill you or permanently damage your health.  But remember, once in a while should be just that – once in a while – not once a week!

How do you handle fast food?  Or eating on the road?  We’ve discovered that by accepting the fact we won’t drive straight through while traveling, we can use Yelp to find fun, local restaurants and avoid the fast food completely!  We’ve had some great experiences this way and often don’t end up spending that much more time enjoying a healthier and tastier meal!

Need help avoiding fast food during your regular, daily work week?  Check out my menu planning e-course and have a weekly plan of attack that helps you avoid those last minute drive thru runs!

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