Rushing to eat?

People’s lives have become so busy and with a lot of rushing around. So much so that we no longer eat the way we should.

In some places, there is a McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, Burger King or other fast food restaurant on every major corner. Watching TV, you see a commercial for some kind of food place almost every time commercials are on, urging you to eat there because it’s good and you can get it — fast and cheap.

And you likely get a bunch of grocery ads about midweek that also includes coupons for all your local fast food joints. (Have you ever noticed that coupons seem to be only for foods that are not good for you?)

With so many distractions and obligations that families have these days, how do you eat healthy in a fast food world?

It’s not an easy thing to do but it is possible with planning and knowing what to look for. This isn’t to say fast food can’t be consumed occasionally, but it should be less often than most people are doing it now. Not to mention that our food is so processed that it takes five minutes to cook and has high carbohydrates among other things that are not digested quickly. This is leading to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease throughout the population.

The Coronavirus Pandemic has only made it worse. With so many restaurants closed, and grocery store shelves stripped of essentials, fast food joints are the easiest, most convenient places to grab food that you aren’t preparing yourself.

Healthy Choices at Fast Food Eateries

The truth is that it’s tough to eat healthy at most fast food restaurants. They simply aren’t designed for those trying (or needing) to watch what they put in their mouth.

But you can make better decisions…

Skip the bread. It’s along the lines of any low carb diet but the bread is where lots of your weight gaining properties are. Especially because most buns at most hamburger joints are made with white flour, and loaded up with sugar.

Don’t get anything fried: including French fries, onion rings, or even fried chicken.

Opt for (unsweetened) tea or water in lieu of a soda.

Avoid dessert. The extra sugar just isn’t worth it.

Limit how often you eat fast food to once per week or less. Once a month is even better. (Or better yet, not at all!)

Get a wrap at a sandwich shop instead of a toasted sub. That’s less bread and just as filling with all the fixings you want.

When you get pizza, get vegetables on it so you aren’t just eating bread, sauce, cheese, and pepperoni.

Eating at Home

The best thing to do is find a way to cook meals most nights of the week. This can take planning and team work.

Have at least one non-meat dish every week. It doesn’t have to be fish or seafood either.

Don’t use fast cooking rice to go with your meals. Those are loaded with carbohydrates, which take your body longer to break down and will make you hungry sooner than you should be. Opt for fiber rich brown rice instead.

Plan weekly meals so that you can cook casseroles and other easy to reheat dishes early in the week for days you will not have time to cook.

Utilize your crockpot or InstaPot and get a couple of recipe books so you can try something new. You can make just about anything in a crock pot these days and have a good meal either when you get home or when you’re ready to stop working for the day.

Have salad a few times a week with your dinner, but keep it simple with the dressing. A drizzle of olive oil with either vinegar or a squeeze of lemon is delicious! Try flavored balsamic vinegars. You won’t even need the oil.

It’s okay to indulge in fast food once in a while, of course.  Having a plan will help that to be less often and you really don’t want it to set you back from eating more healthily. Sometimes all it takes is just one fast food meal to set you back on a regular fast food diet. Be careful and know your limits!