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Fast Food Restaurants – What You Should Eat

list of fast food restaurants Fast Food Restaurants   What You Should Eat
Over the past year many fast food restaurants have made noticeable improvements to their menus.  In part it is to prove that they are making an effort to provide healthy alternatives to fatty fried foods, and it is also to entice more health conscious people who prefer not eating hamburgers on a regular basis.

It can be difficult not to eat fast food from time to time, even though we may try very hard not to.  As Americans, and people the world over, become busier and take on additional responsibilities, planning a menu, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up have become daunting tasks that we take on less and less.

Fast food restaurants are not all bad. Many now have healthy alternatives for those who like eating well and being healthy.  The key is knowing how to navigate the menus at your favorite establishments.  The next time you find yourself on the road for work or pleasure and fail to pack a healthy snack, don’t hesitate to stop at a fast food restaurant; just take our lead when preparing to place your order.

Here are a couple of basic rules to remember when ordering at fast food restaurants:

  • Order water to drink, never soda. Sodas contain sodium and sugar in unhealthy levels which are hard to get out of your system, even diet soda.  Avoid them at all costs.  If water is not an option, or you want something with a little flavor, at least order diet soda which is sugar free.
  • Try to avoid anything that is fried. Fried chicken, french fries, fried cheese, anything fried contains unnecessary fat and calories.  Look for healthy options that are not fried.  Grilled chicken is something that is on almost every fast food menu.
  • Order food without condiments or with condiments on the side. If something contains “special sauce” or mayonnaise, anything other than ketchup and mustard, order the food without condiments.  This cuts down on the number of calories and grams of fat being consumed.  If you cannot do without the condiments, order them on the side and put them on yourself.  Many employees at fast food restaurants do not know the meaning of “light”.
  • Never add salt. The food served at fast food restaurants many times contains enough salt for about three meals, before any additional salt is added.  Salt is a big contributor to heart disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.  It is good practice to avoid any temptation to add additional salt to anything purchased at a fast food restaurant.
  • Ask for a bag for leftovers. If ever there was a time to practice portion control it is when at a fast food restaurant.  Of course the size seems almost perfect for one meal, but everything is inundated with fat, calories, and carbs.  Every bit that you can leave on your plate is less that will be absorbed into your body.  And luckily, the prices at fast food restaurants are so reasonable that you can leave food behind and not cringe at the thought of being wasteful.

Here is a list of suggested purchases from some popular fast food restaurants:

McDonald’s –

Salads (with grilled chicken)        220-320 calories each
Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette   40 calories
Newman’s Italian                       60 calories
(Croutons are an additional 60 calories per package)
Grilled chicken snack wrap           245 calories
(No Sauce)

Fruit & walnut salad                    210 calories
Scrambled Eggs                          170 calories
Fruit & Yogurt Parfait                  160 calories
Apple Dippers                            35 calories
Caramel Dip                               70 calories

Ice Cream Cone                          150 calories
(compare to hot fudge sundae @ 340 calories)

Small Cappuccino                         60 calories
(compare to small nonfat latte @ 90 calories)

Click HERE to view McDonald’s entire nutritional menu.

Taco Bell –

Taco Bell now offers a “Fresco” menu, which is 9 menu items under 9 grams of fat.  The best of these items, by far, is the Grilled Steak Soft Taco.  I have had this item several times, and it is very tasty.  It has only 160 calories and 40 calories from fat.  It is important to also look at the number of calories from fat when evaluating fast food menus, and not just the calories.

Click HERE to view Taco Bell’s entire nutritional menu.

Wendy’s –

The reason we like Wendy’s is because they now offer five (5) new menu items that you may order, when ordering from their value meals, rather than french fries.  These options include: baked potato, side salad,Caesar side salad, small cup of chili, and Mandarin oranges.

Wendy’s also has a complete salad menu, my favorite of which is the Grilled Chicken BLT salad.  My downfall when eating a Wendy’s salad are the delicious garlic croutons of which I always ask for extra!!

Click HERE to view Wendy’s entire nutritional menu.

Here is a tool that can help you locate great food in your area, no matter where that may be.  Simply enter your zip code and you will be provided with the names of restaurants, their locations, and the menu items available that are reduced-calorie or reduced fat.  They include fast food restaurants, fine dining, casual dining – no dining option is excluded.  This tool is FREE of charge to the user.  Try Healthy Dining Finer.

Here is a list of the 10 most health-conscious fast food restaurants, according to Health.com:
  1. Panera Bread
  2. Jason’s Deli
  3. Au Bon Pain
  4. Noodles and Company
  5. Corner Bakery Cafe
  6. Chipotle
  7. Atlanta Bread
  8. McDonald’s
  9. Einstein Brother’s Bagels
  10. Taco Del Mar
Likewise, Men’s Health Magazine recently published a list completely opposite of that above, listing the worst fast foods and beverages possible in 19 different categories.  Here is the list they cam up with.  For more information visit Men’s Health online.

Worst Fast Food Items

Category Restaurant/Menu Item Calories
Drink Sonic Minute Made Cranberry Juice Slush (LG) 450 cal
Menu Item Burger King Spick Chicken Crisp Sandwich 450 cal
Mexican Entree Taco Bell Grilled Stuffed Burrito 680 cal
Hot Sandwich Sonic Chicken Club Toaster Sandwich 690 cal
Breakfast Sandwich Jack in the Box Sausage, Edd and Cheese Biscuit 740 cal
Fish Entree Long John Silvers' Battered Fish (2 pc) & small fry 750 cal
Salad Chick-fil-a Chicken Strips salad with Buttermail Ranch Dressing 610 cal
Roast Beef Sandwich Arby's ROast Beef & Swiss Market Fresh 810 cal
Kid's Meal Burger King kid's dbl cheeseburger with kids fry & sm coke 950 cal
Chicken Strips Dairy Queen 6 pc Chicken Strips Basket 1,270 cal
Side Arby's LG Mozerella Sticks 849 cal
Milkshake McDonald's LG triple thick chocolate shake 1,160 cal
Potato Side Jack in the Box Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges 720 cal
Dessert Dairy Queen Strawberry Cheesecake Blizzard 990 cal
Fish Sandwich Burger Kind BIG FISH Sandwich with Tartar Sauce 640 cal
Cheeseburger Hardees Monster THickburger 1,420
"Healthy" Food Arby's roast turkey & swill market fresh 708 cal
Grilled Chicken Jack in the Boc Chipotle Chicken Ciabatta 690 cal
Meal Carl's Jr. Guacamole bacon burger with chili cheese fries & 32 oz. coke 2,340 cal

If your favorite did not make the list, that does not mean that there online meds without prescription is nothing there for you to enjoy while on a diet.  There is almost ALWAYS something healthy and appetizing that can be ordered from a fast food restaurant without feeling guilty when you leave.  Keeps these simple rules in mind the next time you find yourself in line at a fast food restaurant.  It may be sooner than you think.

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