How Fast Food Can Be Healthy
There can be a negative connotation towards fast food – and rightfully so. Fast food restaurants don’t always have a good reputation due to unhealthy menu items.
Going to a fast-food restaurant isn’t the first thing most people think about when it comes to healthy eating. However, fast-food chains have come a long way.
Many fast-food chains have pivoted to offering more healthy choices to cater to those wanting a healthy diet.
Take Your Time and Scan the Menu
Drive-thru anxiety is real: don’t stress order something you don’t actually want. The number of unwanted items that have been ordered due to stress ordering is probably off the charts.
Most major fast-food restaurants now offer healthier alternatives for many of their original menu items. However, most of these menus are quite large and their “healthier” options sometimes can get lost.
To avoid stress ordering an item you don’t want, plan before ordering. If you know where you are going ahead of time, look at the restaurant’s menu beforehand. Even if it’s only a quick glance, you may find something that you didn’t know they had.
It will also give you more confidence in your order, preventing you from ordering a random menu item. Maybe you’ll discover a healthier choice for a meal you already love.
Consider Alternative Items on the Menu
The top fast-food restaurants in America and across the country all have their staple items. But over the last decade, fast-food restaurants have been promoting alternative meal options.
Most of these changes are from “fried” to “grilled” foods. You’ll also see items with tags on them like wood-fired, all-beef, fresh daily, and more.
Menus at a lot of the traditional fast-food restaurants emphasize meals instead of single items. With this, customers usually aren’t asked what side they would like with their meal, thus they end up settling for something like French fries.
These restaurants have healthier alternatives, you just have to find them.
Choose Your Side Wisely
Sides are an essential part of a fast-food meal. They’re what completes a meal and sometimes the reason why customers visit in the first place. With that being said, side items are notoriously unhealthy options at many fast-food restaurants.
The most common is obviously fries or some form of fried potato. They go very well with many menu items, such as burgers, and are quite delicious. But fries can be high in calories and are sometimes considered wasted calories.
With fast food companies constantly advertising fries, consumers sometimes forget that they have other side options. A fruit option might be a better choice.
The marketing tactics of many fast-food restaurants in the 21st Century have revolved around big portions at a discounted price. There’s no set size for drinks, fries, or entrees across the board for fast food restaurants. Sizes vary from restaurant to restaurant.
It’s important to know what you are ordering when it comes to sizes. The discrepancy can be a lot bigger than you may think. Helpful websites, like A Calorie Counter, can help tell you quickly how sizes vary throughout different restaurants. This can help consumers pick out different items on the menu and possibly avoid sides that have a high number of calories.
Overeating can lead to poor health as well. According to the National Library of Medicine, “research has shown that excess calories shorten lifespan, whereas moderate caloric restriction slows the aging process and protects the body and brain.”
Eat This. Not That.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by substitutions in the drive-thru, here are some classic swaps you can make:
- Baked potato instead of French fries
- Yogurt parfait instead of a milkshake
- Grilled chicken strips instead of chicken nuggets
- Grilled chicken sandwich instead of a fried chicken sandwich
- Black beans instead of refried beans
The Quest for A Healthy Experience
Finding the perfect fast-food restaurant can be hard. However, finding fast-food restaurants that have a healthy menu isn’t as difficult.
When looking for a bite to eat at a fast-food restaurant, take a look at the menu as a whole. There’s no shame in reading through the menu item, the description, or even asking questions about the item. Some restaurants use natural, never-frozen ingredients and strive to make their options as healthy as possible.
A fast-food meal doesn’t have to fit the classic mold of being a burger, fries, and a drink. Find a restaurant that you enjoy and take some time to find a good, healthy option.
Fast & Healthy Choices at 3Natives
Next time you’re looking for something fast and healthy, stop by your local 3Natives.
3Natives is proud to provide fast and friendly service and healthy choices at each of our locations.
In the mood for something sweet? Try one of our smoothies or acai bowls! We also have savory options for those wanting a little more to eat, such as salads or wraps.