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Fast food is convenient, inexpensive and filling but unfortunately not a healthy one. Eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium and fat for an entire day or more. Also, in a bad economy the temptation is often be hard to resist. However, as an informed consumer, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the price and convenience of fast food restaurants.
Making healthy restaurant choices is one of the most important skills of long-term weight loss success. Many restaurants have hidden menus. Here are some healthy restaurant and fast food choices. Also, we have included a few classic recipes (like faux fried chicken, meatloaf sliders and carrot cake cupcakes) and made them healthier!
The Starbucks Short
Upon request, your barista will serve you a "short" 8-ounce cup—which means big calorie savings. A grande white-chocolate mocha, for example, has 400 calories—the equivalent of about three Starbucks double fudge mini doughnuts. The short has half that amount.
Subway’s 6-inch chicken marinara sub
The meatball marinara sub tastes great but costs you 580 calories and 23 grams of fat. The oven-roasted chicken is 320 calories and 4 grams of fat. For some extra flavor, top the sandwich with oregano and a few black olives.
IHOP. Real fruit.
Many of the menu's pancakes and waffles come with fruit toppings which are preserved fruit swimming in extra calories. The healthy alternative is to order a short stack of buttermilk pancakes and ask them to top it with fresh fruit.
Chipotle. Customized tacos
Chipotle can make a taco which is not on the menu. Ask for three crispy tacos with black beans, fajita vegetables, tomato salsa and lettuce. This custom taco saves you 615 calories and 28 grams of fat over a chicken burrito with black beans, rice, green salsa, cheese and sour cream.
Red Robin. Gimme the petite burger
This small burger was removed from the menu but the Red Robin kitchen still makes it. The petite is about half the calories of the standard 931-calorie cheeseburger.
1 lb chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard