Manna was the only fast food Moses had to choose from, but today there are 245 big US chain restaurants trying to win your dollars. A new study by Rand Corporation reviewed 36.923 menu entrees and found 96% of them exceed daily limit recommendations for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat both for adults and children. This isn’t even addressing the issues related to trans fats and too much sugar.
Every day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant. McDonald’s alone feeds nearly 50 million people a day, more than the population of Spain. According to a recent survey by the Technomic food research firm, although 47% of consumers want more healthy restaurant options, only 23% actually order healthy food when dining out. The reason – down deep they already know it isn’t healthy.
So what would Moses order if he were into fast food today? I don’t know. But here are my10 fast food commandments to help you control your weight.
1. Drink Thy Water
Sodas, shakes, floats and specialty drinks are loaded with calories. And the huge glasses don’t help. The average “kid drink” has 430 calories and large sodas can have up to 500.
2. Choose Lean Meats, not Processed or Fatty Treats
Eat foods that can be identified like sliced turkey, beef or (for some) ham and skip the sausage or bacon because they contain fillers, nitrates, and salt.
3. Ask for Whole Wheat or Multigrain Bread
If you select a sandwich, sub or pizza, ask for whole wheat or multigrain bread, buns or crust. It has a lower Glycemic index.
4. Skip “Extras” and Appetizers
Avoid the extra sauce, extra patty or the slice of cheese to subtract calories. Even asking for no butter on the bun will save you 100 calories. The average fast food appetizer has 813 calories compared with 674 average calories per serving for entrée.
5. Thick Crust Pizza Pie Goes To Your Thigh
The thicker the crust, the higher the calories count. And processed meats like pepperoni and fatty toppings add calories. I love putting eggplant, mushrooms, peppers or spinach on top of my pizza. And thin crust is key.
6. No “Secret Sauce” For You!
Old standards like ketchup and mustard tend to have the fewest calories. Salsa can also be a healthy condiment, full of lycopenes from the tomatoes as well as vitamins A and C.
7. Fried Rhymes With Dies
Whenever the option exists, have your chicken or meat grilled. You’ll get fewer calories, less fats and it’s easier to digest. Fried foods also contribute to heart disease.
8. Just ‘Cause They Serve It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Eat It
A meat serving is about the size of a deck of cards; about 3 ounces. So pass on the 12-ounce portions or only eat half and take half home. I typically split a meal with my wife.
9. Take Your Coffee With Skim Milk
Ever hear of the latte factor. It refers to the money you save over a year if you just cut out your daily latte. But the same could be said of the inches you could save by avoiding these syrupy drinks. If you must go for the latte, ask for sugar-free, and in either case, saying no to the whip cream will save you 70 calories and 7 grams of fat.
10. Invoke the Tenet of Chewdaism
I once heard the late Yogi Bhajan say, “Chew your food. There are no teeth in your stomach.” And that’s exactly what Chewdaism is all about; chewing your food 50 to 100 times before swallowing it. It takes about 30 – 60 seconds per bite. That’s good because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to “tell” your brain you are full. Chewing your food allows you to extract more nutrition out of your food and allows you to get full eating less.
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Machelle (Mache) Seibel, MD is one of America’s top health communicators. Whether speaking, consulting, writing or composing he teaches people the health information they need and the perspective they require to stay well. His passion is to help America stay well. “It’s better to stay well than to get well.” Professor and Director, Complicated Menopause Program, University of Massachusetts Medical School 2004-Present Founder of HealthRock®, reshaping health education with music and entertainment Harvard Medical School faculty nearly two decades Past Medical Director, Inverness Medical Innovations (now Alere) 2008 Recipient, Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award, the University of Texas Medical Branch’s highest honor Multiple national awards for research, writing, music and patient education received Author/editor 14 books, over 200 scientific articles, past editor-in-chief of the medical journal Sexuality, Reproduction & Menopause Advisory board of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s HealthCorps initiative to fight childhood obesity Repeatedly voted into Best Doctors in America Hosted PBS and NYC TV episodes, frequent media expert http://www.doctorseibel.com/
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