Which Fast Foods are the Healthiest?

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, Which Fast Foods are the Healthiest?, Dr. Nicolle

It’s Wellness Wednesdays! We’ll talk about which fast foods are the healthiest.  Sometimes when you’re out and about, you just need a meal fast. But you don’t have to resign to the fact that you’ll just have to eat unhealthy because you’ve chosen a fast food joint.

 

There are healthy alternatives mixed in among all the fattening choices. Your best bet is to learn what makes each item unhealthy and choose one of the healthy items. It’ll also help if you study the menus of some of your favorite fast food restaurants. You’ll most likely be able to look up their nutrition facts online.

 

Here’s a list of some things to look for:

1. Grilled Meats.

Grilled meats are a much healthier way of cooking rather than deep fried, breaded meats. If the fast food place you’re visiting has the option of choosing crispy or fried chicken versus a grilled patty, choose the grilled one.

 

2. Skip the Cheese.

While eating some cheese is okay once in awhile, you should avoid it when it comes to keeping fast food calories down. Order the hamburger instead of the cheeseburger.

 

3. Healthier Sides.

Some fast food places will offer alternatives to a side of fries. You should inquire about this because you may be able to opt for some healthy fruit or salad instead.

 

4. Don’t Super Size.

While it’s tempting to grab some extra food for just a few pennies more, it’ll bump up your portion size far more than you should be eating in one sitting.

, Which Fast Foods are the Healthiest?, Dr. Nicolle

Healthy Meals At Popular Restaurants

Here’s a list of some healthy choices you can make at some of the most popular fast food restaurants:

 

1. Taco Bell.

Taco Bell has come out with a “Fresco Style” menu that allows you to choose popular menu items in a lower calorie style. A menu item ordered fresco style will come back with a special healthier salsa and it’ll also lack cheese.

 

2. McDonalds.

McDonalds has made recent strides toward a healthy menu also. They now offer an extended list of premium salads. However, it’s still easy to get fooled into thinking something is healthy when it really isn’t. Make sure you use a low fat dressing on your salad and opt for the grilled chicken. If you grab the ranch and crispy chicken, you may as well be ordering a Big Mac!

 

3. Subway.

This sandwich shop is one of the most popular healthy and delicious fast food choices. It’s truly easy to choose a sandwich that’ll be good for you when they have a full menu of items that contain only 6 grams of fat or less. But make sure to avoid the creamy, full-fat dressings.

 

4. Wendy’s.

If you order a value meal you can definitely opt out of the fries. You can substitute for a baked potato, mandarin oranges, and more.

 

5. Burger King.

Like the rest of the popular fast food chains, Burger King has followed suit and made changes. You can opt for healthier alternatives like salads, chicken and fish.

 

6. Chipotle.

Chipotle is a Mexican restaurant that is gaining popularity. They have come under scrutiny for offering oversized portions. To combat the portion size, you can simply cut your meal down in half and save the rest for later. It’s also best to order your meal as a bowl instead of a burrito, because the tortilla shell alone can really pack on the calories.

 

For all other restaurants, you can make an educated decision about the healthy items from the menu. If you’re unsure, ask an employee about their healthy options.

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, Which Fast Foods are the Healthiest?, Dr. Nicolle

 

I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).

 

Physical Activity

Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.

 

Yoga

Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.

 

Resistance Training

Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.

 

Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.

 

Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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