How to Slow Down the Fast-Food Train
In today’s fast-paced world, everyone seems to be in a big hurry and wants everything to be done in record time. From the way we drive our vehicles to how we browse the Internet, there always seems to be an underlying need for speed. One of the areas in which this rush is most evident is in the way we eat. Millions of Americans consume at least one fast-food item each day.
Food is essential to preserving the human race and with the world’s hectic pace, many of us cannot always find the time to prepare meals at home. Even when we try to plan ahead, sometimes things just don’t work out as planned. When this happens, we often reach for the quick solution. With what seems to be a countless number of fast-food options, many of us tend to gravitate towards these global hot spots. Fast food is cheap, it’s quick and it’s ideal for those who are in a hurry.
The cost, convenience and taste are the main reasons people buy fast food. A number of children and adults are fascinated with fast foods because of the variety offered. There are combo meals which provide attractive options, and a number of children enjoy getting different toys and characters which often come with their kids’ meals. Fast-food containers are also distinct, visually appealing and readily recognized all over the world.
Over the years, many fast-food chains have been expanding their brands and providing customers with more choices. For example, there are well known coffee franchises which offer customers more than just a steaming cup of coffee. These franchises have branched out and made a name for themselves with their baked goods, salads, sandwiches and a host of other nontraditional coffee shop delights (not to mention the free Wi-Fi).
Almost as popular as the food itself, the knowledge that certain fast foods are loaded with fat, sodium and empty calories seems to have done little to curb people’s appetite for the products. The lack of any significant nutrients seems to be lost on those who find it hard to resist these delectable delights. Individuals who regularly indulge in a diet of fast foods will end up with elevated levels of sodium, calories and unhealthy fats, all of which significantly contribute to obesity. There are also other lifestyle diseases which are said to be caused or worsened by the unhealthy consumption of fast foods. Additionally, eating fast food on a regular basis becomes a risk factor for certain heart and intestinal diseases.
While most facts about the dangers of overindulging in fast foods have been substantiated, there are some healthy ways in which people can eat fast foods without suffering adverse consequences. Life is lived best when the boring and routine aspects are injected with some spice or variety.
Maintaining a healthy diet is ideal for longevity, and eating well is great for our health and well-being overall. However, the mind, body and spirit can greatly benefit from taking a break from the norm every now and then. Below are 11 tips which you can use to start taking a more healthy approach to eating fast foods when you simply can’t resist the temptation.
1. Make Healthier Choices
In recent years, more and more individuals have become aware of the benefits of adapting a more healthy lifestyle. The fast-food industry is on track with this continuing trend and has been adding healthier options to their menus, though many of the old standards are still available.
One healthy choice you can make is to avoid foods which are crispy, creamy, breaded, dipped in batter and deep fried. Many fast-food chains now offer their diners lean meats and a variety of salads. Adding croutons, cheese and dressing, will permit you to indulge a bit without straying too far or clogging your arteries.
2. Be Temperate
Being moderate in all areas of life should be the ultimate aim, and eating habits are no exception. From time to time, adding an order of hot and delicious French fries to your tray is quite acceptable. It’s only a problem when it becomes the norm.
Try to eat fast food only on special occasions. Don’t partake in it on an everyday basis. You can use it as an occasional reward for children, but don’t allow it to become an everyday habit. Prepare healthy, wholesome meals at home as the norm, and on certain occasions, you can have your guilt-free indulgence in some delicious fast foods.
3. Choose Your Beverages Wisely
You could consume several hundred liquid calories just from the beverage choice you make at a fast-food joint. One of those fast-food drinks could contain more calories than you should be consuming for an entire meal. This type of drink — along with the food — could double or triple your caloric intake for that one meal. Therefore, choose juices, or better yet, go for water to complement your meal and eliminate all the added sugar.
4. Undress Your Meals as Best as Possible
If you order a serving of fried chicken, avoid the gravy and take off the skin. Both are quite high in calories, cholesterol and fat — all of which are unhealthy for you. In addition, you can use mustard or ketchup to replace mayonnaise and be in control of the portion which is added. By doing this, you can still have your favorite fast food but in a more healthy way.
5. Make Simpler Choices
Simpler foods typically contain less food additives. For example, you can let them keep their fancy double-patty burgers, and choose a single patty instead. This allows you to trim calories and reduce excessive fats while still indulging a bit.
Keeping it simple enables you to still partake of certain foods without overloading your body with energy-sapping, complicated meals. Usually, the fancier the meal the more loaded it is with ingredients which are not necessarily good for your body.
6. Slow Down During Your Meal
Eating in a rush can cause you to be less mindful of what you’re putting in your stomach. Slow down a bit and pay closer attention to what you’re consuming. This will also have a positive impact on the amount of food you eat in one sitting. Taking your time to eat could result in you eating less and perhaps even leaving more food on your plate. Your waistline will thank you.
7. Stick to Regular-Sized Meals; Resist the Urge to Supersize
People typically do not eat a second helping of fast food, but they have no issues with consuming a larger meal. Fast-food franchises are well aware of this, and they make huge profits from it as well. There could be up to 1,000 calories in a standard, fast-food meal. When it’s supersized, the unhealthy, unwanted calories will become even more astronomical. Stick to the regular-sized meal, and you can even substitute French fries for a side of salad.
Consider the effect of the extra calories in supersized meals on both your health and physical appearance. It’s a key factor in many cases of obesity. These supersized sodas and fries have had a huge impact on the health of a large number of Americans who couldn’t resist the offer of this ‘bargain.’ The metabolic process transforms all the excess sugar in these drinks into visceral fat. This is a dangerous type of body fat which moves throughout your system and deposits itself inside the liver and around the heart and other major organs. This could result in cases of heart attack and stroke.
8. Go for Special Orders
A number of fast-food restaurants allow you to place a special order. This includes leaving off cheese, dressings and other high-fat, high-calorie ingredients. When it comes to choosing ingredients for your occasional sundae, you can forgo some of the fancier options and instead stick with plain, vanilla ice cream.
9. Eat Fast Food Only Once in a While
Your rate of weight loss or your overall success will not be affected by indulging in fast foods every now and then. As long as you keep your calories within a healthy weight-loss range, an occasional indulgence will not throw you off kilter. In fact, the knowledge that you can occasionally indulge could make it easier to stick to your healthy-eating regime on a daily basis.
10. Share with Loved Ones
Ordering a large serving of fries and sharing it with a loved one is a great approach to healthier fast-food eating. This helps you to eat less, while bonding with your loved ones. Few things say “I love you” quite like sharing a hot, fresh order of fries (and calories) with someone you care about. Furthermore, it is a lot more fun than eating alone.
11. Increase Physical Activity to Burn Fast-Food Calories
You could consider adding an extra 15 to 30 minutes to your workout routine or running an extra mile after your occasional fast-food indulgence. Doing this could ward off the fatigue which often follows a meal of these high-fat, high-sodium, high-cholesterol foods.
To make it seem more fun than standard exercise, engage your kids or pets in some old-fashioned horseplay to burn those extra calories. You could also take a long, romantic walk with your partner and feel the burn while your meal digests.
Healthy Choices, Healthy You
Fast foods are inexpensive, convenient and can save a whole lot of time in this fast-paced life. However, overindulging in fast foods can have both psychological and physical effects. Choosing healthy foods is not always easy, but it is always the better choice. You’ll be choosing to prevent heart disease, obesity and a host of other chronic health conditions. Furthermore, healthy eating provides a youthful glow that can defy your actual age. Simply put, there are tons of beauty benefits which can be gained from eating well.
It could take a lot of discipline to make healthier meal choices and successfully resist the call of fast foods. However, if you understand that living healthier does not mean totally eliminating tasty treats from your life, it may make it easier to make the change. It’s important to note that the ingredients used to prepare fast food are designed to make them difficult to resist, but it is not impossible. It’s totally up to you to make better choices and eat fast food responsibly.
We suggested above to drink water with your fast food, but the ultimate water/ meal trick is to drink one cup of water before you start your meal. The water will aid in achieving that full, satisfied feeling more quickly, and you will simply not eat as much. It works!