Sticking to Your Diet at Fast Food Places

Fast food restaurants are beginning to offer some choices for dieters or to those who want to eat nutritious food, but you have to use caution to stick to your diet. You can swear never to eat another burger, fry, or shake again, but get real.

Often, the one and only option on America’s interstates is fast food. And certainly, a trip to the mall usually means passing the food court, with its aromas seducing you to stop for just a little something.

Ever noticed where they put the restrooms in shopping malls? Other than the ones located within department stores, the men’s and women’s rooms are stacked near the food court. It’s no accident — mall designers plan it that way.

Dieter’s aid: To balance all the grim news about fast foods, consider the following few happy thoughts:

  • You get no surprises. You know what will be on the menu. With few exceptions, the menus are the same from coast to coast, so you can choose a restaurant that you know offers items that fit into your diet.

  • Except for beverages, portions are generally small, especially if you stick to the regular or kids’ sizes.

  • Most restaurants post nutrition information or will provide it when asked, so you can make informed choices.

Even a small soda is a generous portion, so be sure to order a diet one or a seltzer and drink it all before going back for more food — it will fill you up.

Choose more of these:

  • Baked potato

  • Grilled chicken

  • Fat-free or lowfat milk

  • Fat-free salad dressing

  • Salad with the dressing on the side

  • Single burger (regular or kid-size)

  • Small fries

Eat less of these:

  • Cheese sauce

  • Chicken nuggets (they often include the skin)

  • Croissants

  • Fish sandwich (it’s fried)

  • Fried chicken

  • Large and jumbo-size fries

  • Onion rings

  • Salad dressing (unless it’s fat-free)

  • Sauces and high-fat add-ons such as cheese, chili, and tartar sauce

  • Specialty burgers

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