Fast food is cheap, convenient, filling, and to many of us it tastes good. Unfortunately, eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium, and fat for an entire day or more. Eating fast food on a regular basis can lead to a host of different health problems. Still, the quick-and-cheap temptation can often be hard to resist. Eating healthful alternatives will improve your health, and eventually, your cravings for fast food will diminish.
Pack a meal: If you tend to be stuck with lesser-of-various-evil options, invest in an insulated lunch sack, and toss in a meal you can whip up in a jiffy. For example, in a sealable container, combine a few handfuls of veggies, like grape tomatoes, chopped red onion, baby spinach leaves, and sliced mushrooms, and a small scoop each of quinoa and chickpeas. Sprinkle with Italian herb seasoning, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, close the lid, give it a shake, and toss it in the bag. Easy peasy.
Supermarket smorgasbord: Grocery stores are generally in the same vicinity as fast food joints. So rather than pulling into a drive-through, pop into the supermarket and stroll through the express line. Most chains now have prepared food sections, with ready-to-eat options like chilled vegetable salads and grilled salmon. Other healthy items that don't require prep include baby carrots and hummus, mini bananas, and nuts.
Whipped up options: Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast. Whipping one up and taking it with you can be a great way to sidestep processed alternatives. For the best nutritional balance, and to stay full and satisfied, include a combination of good carbs, lean protein, and healthy fat. Reach for: frozen fruit and a handful of leafy greens; organic skim milk or almond milk and a plant-based protein powder like pea protein; a dollop of almond butter; and a small scoop of old fashioned rolled oats. To add flavor, aroma, and an extra dose of antioxidants, season your smoothie with spices, like cinnamon or ginger. For convenience, make a few smoothies at a time, stock them in the freezer, then transfer to the fridge to thaw a bit before you head out the door.
- Sass, Cynthia, Mph, and Rdhealth.com. "5 Healthy Fast Food Alternatives." ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2014.