Generally, fast foods refer to pre-cooked meals which are kept in readiness for a customer’s arrival. The idea of fast food was put in place to accommodate large numbers of busy commuters and travelers who often did not have time to sit down in a diner or public house and wait for their meals. Various types of fast foods include; burger, muffins, cookies, hot dog, fried chicken, donuts, soft drinks, pizza, pancake, pretzel, chips, sausages, sandwich, salads etc.
It is common knowledge that fast foods are typically poor in terms of nutrition, this is because fast foods tend to contain various substances that are generally unhealthy. They are high in salt, sugar and saturated fats. They are also high in many processed ingredients and preservatives. Most of the nutrients they confer are not beneficial to health. But, in all this negative reports, there are still several fast foods that are healthy and can be good options if you want to maintain a healthy diet. There are some guidelines you need to consider when choosing a healthy fast food option, such guidelines include;
- Limit your fast food meals to 500 calories and below.
- Pick fast foods that are low in fat and high in fiber and protein. Replace refined grains with whole-grain buns or bread.
- Avoid buying French fries, noodles, onion ring, macaroni and cheese etc. Choose healthier sides foods like side salads with fresh fruits or plain baked potato.
- When you want to order for burgers and sandwiches, try to go for the smallest size. Avoid buying super-sized burgers and sandwiches.
- Instead of choosing fried and breaded meats, go for grilled or roasted meats.
- Be careful with anything that may sound healthy but is not. Foods like salads often come with high calorie topping and high-fat dressing. Choose wisely and check out for nutritional data.
- Replace mayonnaise and oil based sauces with ketchup and mustard.
- Choose zero-calorie beverages. Try to avoid soda, fruit juice, lemonades or shakes.
- Order thin crust pizza instead of regular crust pizza. Choose veggie toppings instead of high-fat meat toppings.
When you visit fast food restaurants, there are some foods you could order that are loaded with nutrients and are also low in calorie. Some of these foods may surprise you. They include;
- Oat Meal
Eating a plate of oat meal in the morning is a tummy saver. It is a very easy means of getting some fiber and protein. Order them with the dried fruits, nuts and other toppings in a side dish so that you can control the amount of sugar you want in your oat meal.
- Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Order an artisan grilled chicken sandwich with a side of apple slices instead of fries. This will boost the healthy properties of the fast food.
- Grilled Chicken Nuggets
This is a great alternative to normal fried chicken nuggets. Order this with a vegetable option to create a complete and well-rounded meal.
- Eggs and Cheddar Sandwich
Egg and cheese sandwich is a great protein option especially if you want to have enough strength. It is also a source of calcium, iron and vitamin A. Choose an egg and cheddar sandwich when you are short of time in the morning, this is a great healthy fast food option to start up your day.
Choose a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard or ketchup. Choose a garden side salad with pomegranate vinaigrette and apple slices to go with it. By adding the salad and apples it boosts the nutritional content and provides you with more fiber than other fast food meals.
- Tuna Salad Sandwich
Order a tuna salad sandwich on a six-inch nine-grain wheat roll with spinach, green pepper, olives, cucumber and banana peppers. It will give you a much lower calorie than other fast foods and it is also a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
- Turkey Chili
A turkey chili soup is more satisfying than other soup options because of the protein and fiber in the turkey and beans.
- Chicken Salad
This is a high protein vegetarian salad that is packed with protein and low in calories. Order the salad with the dressing at the side not in the salad, as the dressing holds more of the sodium in the meal.
- Veggie Burger
Order a veggie burger with ketchup and top it with a slice of cheese and low-fat chocolate milk. This vegetable patty provides a healthy dose of protein from textured vegetable protein and some fibers too. The chocolate milk gives an additional protein, calcium and vitamin D.
- Veggie Omelet
Try this veggie omelet for a satisfying breakfast or brunch. This fast food gives you a low calorie option.