The holiday season can be a hectic time for us between making a presence at friends, relatives, and colleagues’ holiday parties, shopping for gifts and get-together meals, and keeping up with a healthy lifestyle. There are times when we are out and about and may feel ravenous. I like to carry healthy snacks in my purse, but during the holiday season, it’s not uncommon for that to slip my mind.
So what do I do when fast food seems to be my only option? Overall, I try to:
- choose baked, boiled, or steamed instead of fried, sautéed & Au gratin.
- keep my eye on portion size (there is no reason whatsoever to Supersize my meal).
- pay attention to the descriptions on the menu.
- be careful when it comes to condiments and dressings
- always choose water for my drink.
- pass on the French fries and try to pick semi-healthy sides.
- skip the bacon (As if the burger alone isn’t unhealthy as it is, why make it worse)?
So let’s look at some sample fast-food places and I’ll provide you with a couple of recommendations.
If I’m at a BURGER PLACE, I stick to a single patty and say no to special sauces, bacon, cheese, etc. I skip the fries, and find out if there is yogurt or sliced apples or something like that that they give with kid meals and ask if I can buy something like that—they usually give them to me at no charge. And I ask for a cup of ice water.
At CHICKEN-THEMED PLACES, I find that they often offer grilled chicken, so that’s what I order. If they have sides, I make sure that they are just steamed and not slathered in fattening sauces or butter. And again, I ask for a cup of ice water.
At MEXICAN PLACES, I opt for brown rice. Swap sour cream for guacamole. I hold the cheese and always order the vegetarian options. And yes, I ask for a cup of ice water.
At ASIAN PLACES, I again choose brown rice and order any of their steamed dishes and ask for them to either hold the sauce or put it on the side. It’s way better to drizzle a tiny bit of sauce for flavor than to have your meal drowning in sauce. I ask for either ice water to drink or green tea, which is often offered.
At SUBS and DELIS, I always ask for whole grain bread and choose lean meats like turkey. I go easy on the condiments and have my sandwich loaded with veggies. And yes, I order ice water for my drink.
Though PIZZA is a guilty pleasure, I always go with the thinnest crust possible, and load my pizza with lots of veggie toppings.
If you are frazzled this holiday season and have no choice but to order some fast food, I hope these tips come in handy for you!