to Approach Fast Food Wisely
you find that the very survival of you and your kids seems to depend
on the occasional consumption of fast food, you don't have to cut
it out all together; you just have to make judicious, nutritious
Food to Go. You can reduce the associated fat and calorie content
to a significant degree by eating the food at home rather than at
the restaurant or atop the dashboard dining facilities in your car.
Studies show that people tend to consume more food when they're
eating away from their own kitchen tables. When you bring fast foods
home, you can supplement the meal with side orders of fresh fruits
and vegetables, saving yourself 15 to 30 grams of fat by simply
foregoing the fries. Instead of guzzling the 32-ounce soda that
comes with the meal, you can opt for a glass of water, saving yourself
around 300 calories and several tablespoons of sugar.
Buffets. If you want to keep your fast food and your good health,
avoid all-you-can-eat buffets like the scourges to humanity that
they are. If this type of establishment holds any appeal for you
at all, you might be able to diminish it a significant degree just
by spending a few minutes in the parking lot, watching the portly
patrons come and go. Chances are that you won't see too many thin,
healthy looking folks frequenting these modern-day shrines to gluttony.
the Fries. When you're eating out, you'll have some important decisions
to make. A super-sized serving of French fries may have as many
as 30 grams of fat. For some folks, this is almost an entire day's
supply. Are the fries worth it? If they aren't you'll need to forget
the fries and stick with the leaner choices on the menu.
to the "Light" Menu. Most fast food restaurants offer
"light" menus and low-fat selections. You're always better
off choosing from among these items. Fried foods and those served
with high-fat condiments like mayonnaise, "special" sauce,
and tarter sauce need to be approached with extreme caution. If
the restaurant doesn't offer a light menu, your best bet is to choose
salads with low-fat dressings or grilled chicken sandwiches. When
it comes to ordering soups, choose the broth-based varieties rather
than those that are cream-based.
Be Afraid to Special-Order. Wherever you end up eating, ask for
all condiments to be served on the side rather than slathered on
your food by the chef, who is likely to be as indifferent to the
lining of your arteries as he is to the circumference of your waistline.
A single tablespoon of regular mayonnaise or salad dressing contains
about 9 grams of fat and 100 calories, so you'll want to use these
condiments sparingly, if at all.
vegetables are usually safe choices, their nutritional value is
significantly diminished if they're overcooked to the point of disintegration
or if they're swimming in lakes of oil or butter. Ask for your vegetables
to be served plain and lightly steamed, so that they'll be reasonably
nutritious and free of added fat.
the Fryer. While fish and chicken entrees sound nutritionally safe,
you have to pay attention to the methods in which they are prepared.
The fried versions of either food put them in the same class as
burgers, and drowning fish or chicken in creamy sauces or butter
can demote them to the nutritional status of high-fat desserts.
To ensure that they remain low in fat and cholesterol, order your
fish or chicken entrees baked or grilled.
Charge of Your Plate. Even when you're dining at restaurants that
don't offer super-size versions of their normal fare, you can bet
that a "single" serving still provides enough calories
for at least two meals. The average restaurant meal contains around
1500 calories, even minus the bread and dessert. Its a good
rule of thumb to leave at least a third of the meal on your plate--some
for Mr. Manners and the rest for Mrs. Health. Or, you can eat half
of your meal while you're at the restaurant and save the other half
for the next day's lunch.
always a good idea to opt for smaller portions than the ones provided,
and you can be fairly certain that you won't run the risk of starving.
Some restaurants are happy to oblige your request for half-orders.
If they aren't, you can try ordering a child's plate of the same
meal. If that doesn't work, you and your dinner date can always
share an entree. If you feel that you must indulge in a food that
is high in fat and calories, don't make matters worse by committing
the twin sins of eating the wrong kind of food and eating too much
of it. As you lose weight and gain health, you'll be pleased to
find that savoring just a few bites of a tasty treat is often just
as satisfying as a half-pound serving. It's definitely less guilt
from Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's Guide to Keeping You and
Your Kids Trim (LifeLine Press, September 2003)
McAllister, MD, the author of Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom's
Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim (LifeLine Press, September
2003), runs a family practice specializing in nutrition, wellness,
and weight loss called Healthy Solutions, in Kingsport, Tennessee.
Dr. McAllister is the creator and popular host of Rallie On Health,
a health magazine TV show with over 1 million viewers in the five-state
area of eastern Tennessee. Millions across the country also know
her for her weekly nationally syndicated column called "Your
Health by Dr. Rallie McAllister." Dr. McAllister lives with
her husband and three children in Kingsport, Tennessee. Visit Rallie
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healthcare advice for any individual problem, nor a substitute for
medical or other professional advice and services from a qualified
healthcare provider familiar with your unique circumstances. Always
seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare
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