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Lighten Your Fast Food

Our hectic lives are often so busy that we feel we can’t get by without eating on the run. However, it is possible to make your fast-food choices a little lighter by being careful when you choose a menu item. Click through this tips gallery for helpful reminders when you’re at the fast-food counter.  

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Fast Food

Fast Food

With a little effort, you can cut the calories (and the fat) that lurks in that convenience food you’re craving.

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Basic hamburgers are in the 250- to 350-calorie range, with about 10 to 20 g of fat, while deluxe, all-dressed cheeseburgers weigh in at about 500 calories, with 26 g of fat. Choose a basic hamburger, no cheese, no mayonnaise, no bacon. Order it dressed with mustard, pickle, fresh onion, tomato, and lettuce.

Healthy Alternatives: Beef-Less Burgers

Grilled Turkey Burgers

Veggie Cheeseburgers

Asian Grilled Tuna Burgers

Spiced Tofu and Carrot Burgers

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French Fries

French Fries

Of course we all want fries with that, but we must be prepared to pay the nutritional price. Just one medium-size serving of French fries delivers between 360 to 450 calories and a hefty 17 to 22 g of fat. A large order of fries from several chains provides almost 600 calories with 27 g of fat, part of which is trans fat. Try to skip the fries, or eat them only occasionally.

If you must have fries, get the smallest order, and avoid those cooked in anything but vegetable oil (always ask the counter person to verify this). And if possible, order wide, large-cut fries. They are usually slightly lower in fat and salt than the skinny ones because in an entire order of fries, there is less surface area for the oil to cling to. Do not add extra salt, add a little ketchup instead. Ketchup has no fat and only 15 calories per teaspoon.                 

Healthy Alternative:

Baked Potato Cakes

German Potato Salad

Crispy Potato Skins

Warm Potato Salad

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Hot dogs

Hot dogs

The traditional North American hot dog contains about 240 calories, and 16 g of fat. Typically, 60% of the calories come from fat, with only a small percentage from protein. Eat hot dogs only occasionally, and watch the toppings: Skip the cheese and chili, stick with mustard, relish, and onions.

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A regular beef taco with the traditional toppings of lettuce and cheese in a hard taco shell has approximately 180 calories, with 10 g of fat. Stick to one taco, with only the regular toppings.

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There’s no question that pizza is one of our all-time favorite fast foods. Unfortunately, it is also a major source of fat. One 14-in. (35-cm) commercial pizza has anywhere from 22 to 36 g of fat.

Lighten-up Tips: 

  • Stick to one slice. Fill up on a side salad or vegetable sticks to feel full and cut fat and calories.
  • Load up on vegetable toppings. They have the least calories and fat and the most nutrients. Lean meats like chicken and ham are better choices than fatty sausages and pepperoni.
  • Cut down on cheese. Ask for more sauce and less cheese. If your toppings are grilled vegetables, chicken or seafood, and herbs, try having no cheese at all.
  • Healthy Alternatives:

    Gourmet Pizza with Pastrami

    Smoked Salmon Pizza

    Quick Tortilla Pizzas

    Cheese Vegetable Pizza