Cooking your favorite meals at home is almost always more nutritious than eating out. The challenge is our schedules. Between taking the kids to practice, doing household chores, checking homework, and running errands, we often run into a time crunch. One of the more popular ways to save time is to eat “fast food”. McDonalds, Wendy’s, KFC, and Chick-fil-a have become our drive thru dinner spots. So how can we make the best decision when eating out? Look before you eat! Many fast food (and sit-down dinner) restaurants now have their menu’s nutritional information posted online. To avoid a last minute decision, take a minute or two today to get familiar with the calorie, fat, sodium, sugar, etc. content of the items you enjoy most often. If they are fairly healthy choices, enjoy! If not, look for healthier alternatives. Every restaurant (even fast food joints) has them, we just have to look for them.
Let’s take McDonalds for example:
Quarter pounder with cheese
Medium French fries
The facts: 1100 calories, 45g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat, 1520mg sodium, and 143g carbs!
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic
1 Packet Newman’s Own Low-fat vinaigrette
Dasani bottled water
The facts: 480 calories, 13g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0 trans fat, 1930mg sodium, 58g carbs.
Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken
1 Packet Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing
1 Medium Diet Coke
The facts: 550 calories, 35g total fat, 8 saturated fat, 0.5 trans fat, 1530mg sodium, 30g carbs.
If I had to rank these in terms of which would be better for your overall health from highest to lowest:
1. Dinner #2. Use ½ the vinaigrette to save 365mg of sodium.
2. Dinner #3. Would actually be better than #2 if you ditch the Diet Coke.
3. Dinner #1. No surprise here :).
A similar set of choices is available at most every restaurant. You just have to take the time to look for them.
coach tam's Blog
40-something who loves food, fitness, and fun!