How To Eat Fast Food And Lose Weight

by Caleb Lee on October 1, 2010

If you’re out and about and you want a meal fast, sometimes the only option is fast food.

Other times, you just feel lazy and you don’t want to cook. Either way, fast food seems like a good option.

Thing is, eating out too much can really help you screw the pooch when it comes to your diet … there are healthy alternatives mixed in among all the fattening choices. Your best bet is to learn some common sense guidelines about 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. Do that and you’ll know for sure how many calories are in your favorite fast food meals.

Now here’s your quick guide to eating healthy and keeping the pounds off while eating fast food …

Some Quick Guidelines:

  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. If the place is like KFC, and the grilled meat isn’t really grilled, then just eat the deep fried, breaded meats and avoid the side carbs (biscuits, etc).
  2. Skip the Fries. (Almost) Always. This one was SO HARD for me to get over because I love the way fries taste. I imagine kicking the heroin habit is easier than this. But I’ve probably had about a handful of fries in the last 1.5-2 years so I’m doing good! Nothing but starchy carbs and trans fats here.
  3. Healthier Sides. Some fast food places will offer alternatives to a side of fries. You may be able to opt for some healthy fruit or salad instead. Or you could do the healthiest side option–don’t get any!
  4. Don’t Super Size. Less calories = less fat. And they only supersize the fries and the soda! WTF? I want a super sized cheeseburger man!
  5. Diet Soda. I used to laugh at the fat guy who orders the big greasy meal and then orders a diet soda, as if it’ll make a difference. Well it does make a difference, but, not if your packing fries into your mouth too! Big sandwich, skip the fries or chips, and a diet soda can go a long way towards filling you up and helping you not eat as much … Water or unsweetened tea is a good choice too …

Examples Of Healthy Meals At Popular Fast Food Joints

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. (I personally don’t take this option since the only time I eat Taco Bell is when I’m drunk anyways, but it’s worth noting)
  2. McDonalds. 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 (half a pack if you can) and opt for the grilled chicken. If you grab the ranch and crispy chicken, you may as well be ordering a Big Mac! A burger or two with no sides and a diet coke/unsweet tea will fill you up with less calories too.
  3. Subway. As healthy as they claim to be, there’s still a crap-load of empty bread carbs here. Try a salad, throw some protein in there with some chicken, avoid the chips, you should be good to go.
  4. Wendy’s. My all-time favorite fast food joint. 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. If you’re fasting, the Triple Baconator is the ultimate one burger per day — 1300 calories of fat and protein goodness. That’ll be it sir!
  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, etc. You can also do the one big burger thing with their whoppers if you’re fasting.
  6. K.F.C. Has actually got a GREAT menu item — the Double-down sandwich. Low carbs. High protein and only 500 calories. Fills you up and keeps the calories down. I bet you could lose 20lbs on an all Double-Down Diet.
  7. Chipotle. Not really fast food, but an AMAZING restaurant and probably the best choice for eating healthy. Some whiny punks complain about oversized portions but if you order the right stuff, it’s good portion sizes of good food. Skip the extra 1500 cals of empty carbs that comes with the tortillas, get a bowl instead, fill it with meats, salsa, fajita peppers, mounds of guacamole and lettuce and you’re kickin’ serious Bootay. Use the Chipotle Fan Nutrition Calculator to see the different macro-nutrient and calorie profiles of your food combos and enjoy!

For all other restaurants, you can make an educated decision about the healthy items from the menu. If you’re unsure, use some common sense guidelines:

  • Avoid empty carbs (fries, tortillas, chips, biscuits, etc)
  • Layoff the transfats (deep fried foods, fries, etc)
  • Avoid the sugar (no sodas, no sweet tea, no ice creams, etc)
  • Try not to cram so much of it in your mouth a.k.a. watch your portion sizes :)

Follow the tips in this short article and you’re sure to lose weight while eating fast food.

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.

5. Diet Soda. Some people will laugh at the person who orders the big greasy meal and then orders a diet soda, as if it’ll make a difference. Well it does make a difference, but you need to avoid the big greasy meal in the first place!

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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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcus October 1, 2010 at 11:16 pm

That’s man cuz fast is my down feel

Reply

Blaine Moore October 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I'd rather look for a local deli or something similar and get a sandwich made. Much better than even the options above when it can be made available.

And, honestly, I'm pretty careful about making sure that I don't have to actually go to fast food to get a meal. Of the places you've listed, I think Subway is the only one I've actually eaten at in the past 3 or 4 years or more.

Reply

Caleb_Lee October 6, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Yup. Given that scientific studies have proven, you can easily go 36 hours without food with no detriment to performance, nobody is ever "forced" to eat fast food. But thought I'd give the info up anyways :)

Reply

Al Oliver May 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

i agree, we have a local meat market where im at and you can go in and get some of the best tasting (and very healthy) sandwiches, all made fresh

Reply

meag October 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm

love your blog and allll the wonderful info

Reply

Caleb_Lee October 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Thanks!

Reply

Bruciesex October 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Marcus: what the hell does that even mean?

Reply

brian December 14, 2010 at 2:45 am

Yeah partial fasting is fine, i know in the united strategy more people. Should do it, it actually gives the body a rest digestion that i s, i know subway uses take meatballs but many resteraunts are dirty regardless i still eat it too sometimes LoL

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