Eating Healthy Fast Food: Does it Even Exist? - Part II
In the first part of this article, we explored some healthy, low-calorie options you can choose at various fast food restaurants. So far we’ve covered burger joints, sub shops, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants. Continuing below, we’ll explore healthy fast food options at steak houses, chicken restaurants, and seafood restaurants . . . plus a surprising twist on “healthy fast food” that you may not have considered before.
Healthy Fast Food Options at Steak Houses
Believe it or not, steak is not very high in calories. For example, a 3 oz. porterhouse steak with most of the fat trimmed off is approximately 225 calories. The same weight T-bone steak has about 200 calories. (Remember, we’re talking about a 3oz serving—about the size of a deck of cards.) If you want something besides plain steak, you can get a roast beef sandwich with less than 350 calories (no mayo). Most steak houses also serve a few chicken, seafood and pasta dishes. Opt for grilled, baked or broiled, not fried. If you have a choice of sides, choose steamed vegetables, wild rice, or salad.
Healthy Fast Food Options at Chicken Restaurants
Most fast food chicken restaurants specialize in fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, coleslaw, big biscuits and other fattening fare, which are definitely not diet-friendly. However, there are usually healthier options available too. For example, a grilled 4 oz. chicken breast is only 180 calories. Good side options are corn on the cob for only 70 calories, or a green vegetables mix for only 50 or so calories. Obviously, avoiding cheese, creamy or sweet sauces, mayonnaise, gravy, and anything fried will keep calories under control and be a healthier meal.
Healthy Fast Food Options at Seafood Restaurants
Seafood restaurants are great for low-calorie, healthy meals - yes, even fast food seafood restaurants! For example, Long John Silver’s® restaurant offers a “Freshside Grille” menu that includes either grilled salmon or tilapia served with rice and vegetables. The salmon dinner has 255 calories, and the tilapia dinner has only 215 calories. Other good options: shrimp scampi, 110 calories - baked cod, 120 calories - lobster stuffed crab cake, 170 calories. Different restaurants will have various selections, but you know the drill by now - hold the oil, sauce and mayo; opt for baked, broiled or steamed; and choose vegetables for side dishes whenever possible.
No Matter Where You Eat . . .
No matter which kind of fast food restaurant you visit, skip the desserts unless fresh fruit is available. Also avoid pre-sweetened beverages like soda and iced tea. Ask for your tea to be unsweetened, or drink water. If you prefer sweeter drinks with your meals, carry a few packets of stevia in your wallet so you can sweeten your own without adding calories and synthetic chemicals.
Best Healthy Fast Food Options
If you have a choice in where you go for lunch or dinner, rather than stopping at a fast food restaurant you may want to change course and visit a supermarket. The produce section is loaded with healthy fast food options - like peel-and-eat fruit and vegetables, pre-cut packages of lean luncheon meats (opt for low sodium, low fat versions), and single serving packages of nuts and seeds. Many large supermarket chains even have salad bars and pre-packaged salads already put together for you. Some of them even have hot, prepared foods and an area where you can sit and enjoy your meal.
Another option: health food stores. If you happen to have one nearby, stop in! Most of them have plenty of healthy, organic foods available - either packaged or freshly prepared in their own cafe.
Hopefully we’ve shown you that eating healthy fast food is not impossible! With a little awareness and determination, it’s very easy to find healthy, delicious foods at virtually any eating establishment.