Fast Food Eaters Guide

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Primary Blog/Fast Food Eaters Guide

We live in a fast-paced and often busy world filled with responsibilities, appointments, kids' sports, other activities, and errands; our days can get busy. And the first thing to go when this happens is usually a home-cooked meal.

Of course, in a perfect world, our veggies and fruit would be washed and cut up just waiting to turn into a delicious meal or eaten straight from the fridge. Meals would be planned ahead of time or, better yet, fully prepared and ready to heat and eat.

I will always promote preparedness and fresh, homemade meals and encourage my clients to do so. However, I know that sometimes this will not be possible, and sometimes you must grab something to eat on the go.

When eating out, especially at a fast-food restaurant, you'll want to keep a few things in mind:

What makes fast food taste so good is often the high amounts of sodium. The daily recommended limit for sodium is 1500mg, and while researching menus for this article, I was shocked to see how many menu items had well over 1000mg of sodium. That is over 2/3 of your daily limit in just one small meal! Sodium is hidden everywhere, from meat to sauces, dressing, cheeses, and processed foods. Sodium leads to high blood pressure and heart disease, making it worth noting when selecting a meal.

Let's talk about sauces and dressing; yes, they are delicious, but they are often the biggest offenders of fat and sodium, so always ask for dressing and sauces on the side and use them sparingly. Without the dressing on your salad's side, you could unknowingly make the salad more unhealthy than the cheeseburger in terms of fat, sugar, and sodium alone. * Tip: Always dip your fork first in the dressing and then into the salad to avoid overconsumption and to flavor every bite evenly.

Be aware of the supersized items. Double cheeseburgers and extra-large fries are no more than a gimic for the fast-food industry to sell more of their product. Companies know that you likely won't order two cheeseburgers to avoid looking like a glutton. Still, they know you won't hesitate to request a double cheeseburger, essentially the same as two regular cheeseburgers. Hello, bloat! Studies show that we will eat 30% more than our stomachs can handle when presented with more food or drink.

Sugar is in everything! Those creamy milkshakes, mouthwatering desserts, and coffee house specialty lattes are not the only places where you'll find copious amounts of sugar. Companies know that sugar is addictive, and the more we eat it, the more we want it. While naturally occurring sugar such as that found in fruit does have benefits, the added sugar put in dried fruits, bread, sauces, and more adds up quickly and can have you gaining unwanted fat. But, and this is a big one, DO NOT have artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are often in products labeled diet or sugar-free. They are up to 2000% sweeter than natural sugar; your body can't tell the difference. When you have artificial sweeteners, your body will search for those calories later, causing you to crave even more sweets. They are linked to a myriad of health issues, from migraines and belly aches to cancer. So when you think you're making the healthier choice, you're doing more damage than you would be if you ate a cup of sugar right out of the bag.

Now that you have some basics, I have compiled a list of a few fast-food restaurants and the best thing to order on the menu based on total calories, fat, protein, carbs, sugar, and sodium.

Chick Fil-A

Kale Crunch Side and Grilled Chicken Nuggets-
250kcal, 12g fat, 28g protein, 9g carbs, 0g sugar, 580mg sodium

Luna Grill

Organic Spinach Salad with add on Chicken Skewer and Pomegranate Salad Dressing-

360kcal, 15.5g fat, 41g protein, 17g carbs, 9g sugar, 655mg sodium

Starbucks

Kale and Mushroom Egg Bites-
240kcal, 14g fat, 15g protein, 11g carbs, 1g sugar, 340mg sodium

El Pollo Loco

Best meal-
Double Chicken Salad with Avocado-
350kcal, 12g fat, 51g protein, 12g carbs, 5g sugar, 840mg sodium

Best snack-
Taco Al Carbon with Chicken
150kcal, 4.5g fat, 10g protein, 17g carbs, 0g, 260mg sodium

In n Out


Protein Style Burger with Onion
275kcal, 19g fat, 13g protein, 11g carb, 7g sugar, 370mg sodium

Rubios

Grilled Atlantic Salmon Taco (1 taco)
250kcal, 11g fat, 15g protein, 22g carbs, 1g sugar, 170mg sodium

Street Taco with Chicken
100kcal, 3g fat, 9g protein, 10g carbs, <1g sugar, 270mg sodium

*Based on a 2000-calorie diet.

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Hi, I Am Jaime Duggan

CEO Of Empowered Health

Your dedicated healthy lifestyle coach and certified personal trainer. I'm here to guide you through a transformative journey of wellness, offering personalized strategies for proper nourishment, effective exercise, and quality rest. Beyond the scale, we'll focus on holistic well-being, emphasizing sustainable, empowering habits for a happier life. I cherish family time, wholesome cooking, joyful physical activities, and reading, which fuel my own health journey. Ready to become your best self? Let's embrace this wellness journey together!

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