Ordering lunch at a fast food joint can be a bit overwhelming — especially if you’re trying to eat healthy. On one hand, the double double with special sauce makes your mouth water. But, on the other, the health coach in your head is screaming at you to step away from the French fries. While the best way to keep up with a healthy diet is to avoid fast food altogether, sometimes it’s not an option.
That said, there are ways to make a fast food order healthy. Up ahead, we share a few simple tricks — plus, foods to avoid — for making healthy choices at McDonald’s, Chipotle, and beyond.
1. If you’re going for a combo meal, choose a bottle of water over a soft drink
It should come of no surprise that soft drinks such as, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, and even Minute Maid Lemonade are chock full of sugar. Instead of succumbing to the empty calories, choose water or an unsweetened iced tea.
2. Step away from the French fries
We hate to break it to you, but when it comes to health, French fries aren’t exactly your friends. Instead of fries, ask if the fast food restaurant offers sliced apples or a small salad.
3. Cut out condiments
When it comes to healthy food options, condiments can be a big no-no. Instead of ordering your burger with thousand island dressing and dipping your fries in ranch dressing, try a lighter sauce. Or, better yet, no sauce at all.
4. Look at the veggie options
Some fast food chains — such as, Chipotle — offer a variety of healthier veggie options. So, whether you’re making a burrito bowl or ordering a chicken burger, don’t skip out on the veggies.
5. Go for a salad
With health and wellness trends taking over, many fast food joints offer a healthier options menu with salad on the list. Instead of the burger and fries, go for a delicious grilled chicken salad with vegetables. As for the dressing? Choose the lightest option and rather than douse the entire salad in dressing, dip your bites into the container to ensure you aren’t over consuming fattening calories.
6. Don’t supersize
One of the biggest issues with eating out? The supersize meals. While it may be hard for you to avoid a larger portion, be mindful of how much food you put down and don’t feel like you have to finish your entire meal. Eat until you’re satisfied and your body will thank you for it.
7. Grilled, not fried
If you’re at a fast food restaurant that has grilled options, go with grilled. Fried chicken sandwiches may taste delicious, but they are not the healthier option.
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