Sometimes you are too busy to go Grocery shoppingmeal prep and Home cooking, so you have to stop when driving. Even as a nutritionist, I’ve been in this situation many times, and it’s not the end of the world.
Small, sustainable changes are key to a healthy diet – you don’t have to quit cold turkey fast food. (And yes, there are healthy options at Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell.)
You want to look for something that has a good balance of protein, complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats. I also try not to overdo it with sodium (no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, per American Heart Association).
Here are the top five fast food requests:
What I ask: Black pepper angus steak, super green, half order brown rice, side of chili sauce
You can get a good serving of protein with Angus steak. Broccoli, kale, and steamed cabbage are also nutritious and satisfying without the added calories. The entire meal only adds up to 465 calories.
If you’re a “cannibal” – or someone who needs to consume a lot of food to feel full – I recommend doubling up on vegetables.
What I ask: Power menu with grilled chicken and jalapeno
This order contains a delicious combination of rice, chicken, beans, guacamole, sour cream, and vegetables. Portions are very generous, so you don’t have to finish the whole meal to feel full.
I usually pair my meal with a bottle of water or a low-calorie drink. If you’re a fan of the refreshing Baja Blast soda, Taco Bell also has a sugar-free option.
What I ask: Half an order of chicken napa sandwich with almonds and a cup of 10 vegetable soup
This sandwich features chicken raised without antibiotics, chopped celery, seedless red grapes, almonds, tomatoes, and salad on fresh bread.
Vegetable soup is low in calories and rich in nutrients, so if you’re a big eater, you can make it in a bowl instead of a cup.
What I ask: Hot Southwest salad with grilled nuggets and a small side of waffle fries
This salad is packed with protein, leafy greens, fiber, and healthy fats. Sometimes I deal with a small side of french fries. If you want to monitor your sodium intake, you can ask them to keep the salt.
I try to eat my salad at the start of my meal to make sure I have enough room for the whole dish before I dig into the fries.
What I ask: Turkey ham on nine grain wheat bread with the addition of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, hot pepper, easy mayonnaise, mustard and oregano
price: 10.34 USD *
- Turkey Tom on Wheat (per serving): 610 calories; 2.5 g saturated fat; 25 g total fat; 31g protein 62g total carbs; 5 grams of fiber 10 grams of sugar 1,080 milligrams of sodium
This is a very simple sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. I always add more vegetables to make it more nutritious.
I also replaced regular white bread with Jimmy John’s nine-grain bread. While wheat bread has slightly higher calories, the extra fiber keeps me full for longer. Add guacamole or olive oil for healthy fats.
* New York City prices as per restaurant locations at time of publication.
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