A survey by Center for Disease Control found that more than 36 percent people are likely to have consumed fast food on any given day. According to ObesityinAction, the growth of fast food and obesity rates have been in sync with each other. The number of fast food restaurants in the US has doubled since 1970 and so have the obesity rates.
The end result is that two thirds of Americans are overweight and one third of children between age 6 to 0 are either overweight or obese.
But fast food has become so integral a part of our lives that it will be hard battle to completely eliminate it from our diet. All we can look is the possibility of how to opt for healthy fast food.
Is it even possible that a healthy fast food diet plan exists? In fact, if you are committed, you can reduce the unhealthy effects of junk food, though it will be a challenge of the extremes to find a fast food chain that servers a really healthy fast food. However, we would rather encourage you to stop eating fast food first 🙂
Why we eat fast food knowing it is not healthy?
In our world today, eating fast food has become the order of the day and rightly so.
People eat at a fast food restaurant for a number of reasons which usually revolve around time, price, taste, and a couple other reasons.
Now, as someone on a diet, fast food restaurants might be the last place you want to eat at. They produce high calorie food in large scale and would tend to employ the quickest ways to make your order.
There’s a lot of saturated fat, sodium, preservatives and cholesterol (mainly coming from trans fat) in fast food. They sell to tickle your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
As a result dieters, who are looking to eat healthy food, are usually advised to avoid fast food places completely but it isn’t that easy.
Fast food is “fast” literally. We are busy a lot of the time, you might leave work late or want to get something in your system at lunch break, you opt for the nearest fast food restaurant.
Most of them even do home deliveries when you’re tired and can’t be bothered to cook and drive-through where you order your food on the go without having to walk in and order. How convenient is this!
They are also usually very inexpensive and taste good!
If you enjoy fast food, it’s going to be upsetting when you have to stop taking it while you diet. A fast food meal truly has lots of calories and if you have to lose weight while still eating them you have to be smart about it.
Too much of everything is bad and frankly, too much fast food intake is bad for you. If normally the fast food you eat makes you gain weight, you need to understand that if you want to eat the same fast foods and lose weight something has to be different.
So we will tell you how you can have a healthy fast food diet so that you don’t feel pathetic because of being left out of all the appetite inducing convenient food.
Is healthy food even possible?
Fast food sellers have cleverly crafted menus for those who would like to watch their weight. It is quite a Herculean challenge to find a healthy meal at a fast food place. But there are some useful recommendations that will help you to ensure that you do not end up eating 2000 calories at one meal (which is your entire calorie count for the day). By the way, it is possible to eat almost your daily allowance at some fast food meals.
- Your entire one time meal should be under 500 calories. On average people eat an average of more than 800 calories at one such meal. So next time you are making choice as part of a health fast food diet plan, look up the nutritional information on menus, apps or websites of the fast food outlets and keep your calories under check.
- Select foods that are low in fat and specially saturated fat and have healthier ingredients like lean protein, whole grains and fiber.
- Steer miles away from trans fats. Many restaurants use hydrogenated oils to enhance flavor. These are high in trans fats.
- You may also bring along your own healthier toppings and sides like carrot sticks, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt or cottage cheese and stay away from calorie loaded sides that fast food restaurants offer almost universally. This will ensure that you get essential fiber, vitamins and nutrients as part of a healthy fast food diet.
You may also like to read how to prepare yourself for eating healthy when eating out.
How to Eat healthy fast food on a weight loss plan?
When eating fast food you need to be mindful. A meal could contain thousands of calories which could be more calories than you need in an entire day.
Before going out to a fast food restaurant, try looking up their nutritional information online. You’ll see how many calories each food contains. From there you can decide menu items with fewer calories and what you want that won’t add up to too many calories.
Sometimes you are shocked at the amount of calories a burger could contain, after all it’s just one small burger.
Fast food restaurants are also bringing fun to your meals by allowing you to build your customized order. Apart from this being an incredibly fun thing to do it can help you reduce the amount of calories you are eating.
You are able to remove what wouldn’t be too good for you and add what is a little healthier. It might not end up as a perfectly healthy diet but it won’t remain as calorie filled as normal fast food.
You can also remove unnecessary sauces and dressings from your food to make it lighter and to reduce the calories.
You can also try to prefer healthier choices by ordering food that is boiled, steamed or grilled rather than fried. Those are healthier or politely ask them to tweak your food a little to your preference, by grilling your order instead of frying. Order for water or fruit juice that’s better than sodas. In short, always remain on the lookout for a healthier option.
Also, portion sizes are very important. Choose your portions carefully. The double quarter pounder isn’t more savory than the quarter pounder, it just has much more calories. Make sure you eat slowly and savor the taste.
Go for a baked potato as a side order in place of french fries that are a recipe for weight gain for sure.
Learning the right portions to eat would be a tremendous help in losing weight with fast food. How many fried chicken legs do I need to eat? Do I really need the large fries? Ask yourself these questions. One healthy choice a day will add up to a healthy lifestyle. One preference of grilled chicken sandwich over fried chicken breast will gradually add up to fewer calories.
Also learn not to eat mindlessly. You do not need to eat every time you are bored, take a walk instead.
Know how to put your hunger and fullness levels on a scale of 1-10. Ensure you stop eating when you aren’t hungry and not when you are full. Also, don’t wait till you are extremely hungry before you eat, you’ll eat too much.
How often do you eat fast food? Making a conscious effort to regulate the number of times you eat fast food is probably better than not eating it at all. If you have it all 7 days in a week, you might want to cut it down to 4 days. This will go a big way towards reducing your calorie count.
You’ll notice a difference in your body. Eating fast food every day compared to eating it 4 days in a week and replacing it with healthy eating would make a big difference.
When you incorporate all these tips, you are still eating fast food but differently and your body will be different.
How to eat pizza on a healthy fast food diet plan?
Pizza is one of the most convenient and favorite foods of fast food lovers. However, if you consider it healthy, you are mistaken. But you can take some easy steps to make pizza part of a healthy fast food diet plan:
- Personal pan pizza is about 800 calories which is not what you want to eat at one meal at all. If you order pan pizza, eat half of it and eat the rest of it at a second meal.
- Go for thin crust which will reduce the calories and also completely avoid pan pizza or deep-dish pizza.
- Loading your pizza with veggie toppings will increase the healthy nutrients and vitamins in the pizza.
- However, pick pizza over pasta because pizza is a healthier option at most fat food joints than pasta.
How fast food salad may destroy healthy fast food diet?
Most fast food places offer salads, but they ruin their goodness by using salad dressing that is rich in calories and unhealthy fats. Here is how you can enjoy a healthy fast food salad by keeping your calories in check and healthy nutrients in abundance.
- Choose salads with grilled chicken, shrimp, or vegetables. Avoid salads with breaded chicken or other fried toppings.
- Opt for a fat free or low fat dressing and at the same time ask that salad dressing be served on the side which will keep you in control of how much of it to use.
- Avoid fat brimming toppings like crispy noodles, bacon bits, croutons or cheese and you would reduce calories by the hundreds.
- Stay away from taco salads because they are high fat and high calorie diet destroyers fast foods because of deep-fried shells, cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.
- Your go-to salads should be based on veggies, shrimp and grilled chicken and not the ones having breaded chicken and other similar deep-fried toppings.
Exercising and healthy fast food weight loss plan
We have already established that most people eat fast food because they are too busy to make their own meals or visit restaurants that might have healthier food choices.
No matter how busy or occupied you are, try to find time to exercise consistently along with watching your calorie intake. You want to lose weight and just dieting isn’t always enough especially with this plan.
Are you a student, a working mum, business man, you work multiple jobs or long hours? It’s probably stressful already but please, if it’s just 30 minutes every morning before you go out, exercise.
Don’t make it something too rigorous. If you feel you can’t spare the entire 30 minutes because of your job or for any reason, split the time.
Break it into parts that you can accommodate throughout your day, exercise even at work.
Now, I’m not saying you should lift weights at work or after you get home and you are tired. You know your schedule, slot in those exercises at convenient times. Just be consistent with it.
At work, take the stairs instead of elevators that itself is exercise, work from place to place, take a walk during your lunch break.
Stretch. On days, you have more free time, dance, work your dog, go cycling with your friends, jog, go to your nearby park and stretch. Dance when you can, it’s a bonus if you enjoy doing it already.
These are easy exercises you can start with, eventually your body gets accustomed to the routine and you can add more exercises like lifting weights.
Consistency is key, if you can’t do it every day, do it every five days. You can do it with someone if you feel better doing it like that.
Motivation for eating healthy
Most times a lot of people opt for fast food because of their busy schedules. That is the fastest way to satisfy their hunger, so they can get on with their jobs.
Though most of us are aware of fast food effects on our health and want to make a healthy choice but still end up ordering a burger made from processed meat than preparing a delicious and healthy steak at home.
Some would rather have home cooked meals than fast food but their work wouldn’t make it possible. A lot of people can relate.
These are the categories of people that come home tired and stressed out! A lot of people also turn to food for comfort and when they are stressed out, if you catch my drift.
Allow yourself to slow down every once in a while. You work a 9-5, you are a working parent, you are always on business trips, I get it. Still allow yourself a minute or ten to calm down.
In these few minutes you can take short walks, play with your pet, relax and listen to music or watch a nice movie, meditate, take a nap or my favorite thing to do write- just write everything you want to, those things you’ve bottled up inside for so long, it’s freeing.
This healthy fast food plan would work better when you are at peace with yourself, no guilt, no stress. It would help you open your mind and to think clearly and make better diet choices and you won’t indulge in comfort food because you aren’t stressed.
It may seem like an oxymoron, but you can actually eat fast food and lose weight and it is almost possible that you can eat healthy at fast food restaurants. Even if you’re a fast food junkie, think about trying this healthy fast food diet plan for a week or two, just to see how you feel.
It’s not that complicated—just skip the fries, go easy on the soda, and eat a salad or fruit instead of a dessert and take benefit from the insights we shared above about how to dodge unhealthy calories and excess calories even at fast food restaurants.
And no, you don’t have to give up the kind of food you love. You can eat all the hamburgers, pizzas, and ice cream your heart desires—just in moderation and keeping a watchful eye on what ingredients are going into these.