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Healthier Fast-Food Food Alternatives

Giving up the convenience of fast food outlets is one of the hidden hurdles to better weight management.

Is anything more inviting? Either you spend half an hour or more in the kitchen preparing a healthy meal – not counting the grocery shopping time – or you pop into your local hamburger joint and have a meal made for you in a few minutes.

But the price you’ll pay for that fast-food convenience, in your weight and health, far outweighs the benefit.

One leading culprit, McDonald’s Angus Third Pounder with Bacon & Cheese, has about one third of the recommended daily value of calories for an adult and has one third more sodium than Health Canada’s recommended ‘adequate intake’. And that’s just the sandwich, not a combo.

So does it all mean that sticking to your weight loss plan means a life without the convenience of fast food?

While it would be best to completely avoid the temptations of Burger King and KFC, sometimes you’re short on time or you just want to give yourself a treat.

Fortunately, most fast food chains have a few options that make more sense for your weight management and are much healthier too. Here’s a sampling:

  • McDonald’s

    If there’s a franchise that takes the brunt of the backlash against unhealthy fast food, Mcd’s is it. Following the negative backlash from 2004’s “Super Size Me”, McDonald’s stopped offering to ‘super-size’ (larger fries and soft drink) the meal combos that customers requested.

    McDonald’s Healthier Alternative: Chipotle Chicken Snack Wrap with Grilled Chicken. At 230 calories, it’s the low-cal option on the main McDonald’s menu.

    While it’s tied in that department with the regular Grilled Chicken Snack Wrap, having 25% less fat that the regular version makes it the winner (although it has 6% more sodium).

    If a chicken wrap doesn’t fill you up, consider this, you can eat two grilled chicken chipotle snack wraps and still get fewer calories and fat than the flagship Big Mac.

  • Mr. Sub

    With large servings of raw veggies in most of their sandwiches, Mr. Sub is often considered to be a ‘healthy’ fast food choice – until you look at the fat and sodium in their cold cuts and many other meats.

    Mr. Sub’s Healthier Alternative:  The Veggie Sub. While Mr. Sub’s Smoked Turkey Breast sub has fewer calories per serving gram, the Veggie comes out on top due to its 40% less fat and 63% less sodium.

  • Mr. Greek Express

    Compared to a decade ago, Toronto and the GTA enjoys a wider variety of fast food options. Emerging from the typical burger/chicken/pizza landscape are many delicious choices, many ethnic, including Middle Eastern, Mexican and Oriental.Mr. Greek Express is the fast-food off-shoot of the Mr. Greek Restaurant chain that began in Toronto’s Greek Town.Mr. Greek’s Healthier Alternative: It’s a shoot-out. You pick the winner:

    Veggie Pita: 345 cal, 11g of fat, 6g of sat. fat, and 862mg of sodium

    Chicken Souvlaki Pita (1 stick): 345 cal, 11g of fat, 6g of sat. fat, and 862mg of sodium

Clearly, even the “healthier” fast-food alternatives are not exactly the stuff of slim waists. But weight management means making the right choices even when no good options exist.

Talk to your local Herbal One weight management and nutrition specialist for more help in making the best choices for your personal weight loss goals.

 

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