Across the country people are making changes this New Year to eat a healthier, more balanced diet. Concern about nutrition has sky rocketed and fast food restaurants seem to be catching on with claims of healthier options.
But, will choosing these menu items really keep you on track with your health habits?
Recent studies from reputable resources such as Boston University and Tufts University indicate fast food is not becoming healthier. In fact, over the past 30 years there has been an increase in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium in these menu items.
This is a serious issue, because about 1 in 3 Americans eats fast food on a given day. The experts researching the subject believe this is contributing to the rise in heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers.
Many struggle with breaking the fast food habit for many reasons . . . time constraints, convenience, and even an addictive like draw to the tastes and smells of their favorite paper bag meals. There are some tips I can give you to help break – or at least cut back – that fast food habit.
Do certain TV ads make you hungry? Turn them off or think twice about their message. And just because an item is advertised as “grilled”, “vegetarian”, “gluten free”, or “keto” does not make it healthy.
Spot Personal Triggers
Maybe there are other events that stimulate your cravings. Perhaps it’s just the route you take home from work that passes your favorite restaurant – take a different way home. Or a stressful day – find another outlet for your stress. If they can’t be avoided, try to plan ahead for any triggers.
Decrease Liquid Calories
Many people tell me they go to the drive thru for sodas and other drinks. It’s not just the sugary drink that is the problem. It’s hard to resist the fries or milkshake when you are already at the drive-up window. Keep drinks such as water, unsweetened tea, or our favorite Hydrate on hand to keep thirst away and avoid the temptation (or if you are stopping to grab some caffeine, try Energy).
Do you wind up buying a combo meal because your refrigerator is empty? Plan menus for a full day or a week at a time and keep ingredients on hand to make healthy snacks and meals (more tips a end of the post).
French fries are less tempting when your stomach is full. Sit down for 3 balanced meals a day, plus any snacks you need to keep hunger cravings at bay. Fill your belly with the good stuff and there will be less room for the foods that do not serve you.
You can still satisfy your taste buds. Make your favorite burger, fries, chicken nuggets, or shake at home with healthier swaps. Even desserts are better for you if made from real ingredients at home. If nothing else, you will be avoiding the highly inflammatory oils used in all fast food products.
Learn New Recipes
Maybe you eat fast food because it’s cheap as well as quick. If so, head to Pinterest and look for dishes you can put together in less than 15 minutes or recipes for a tight budget. We have some great suggestions for you at the end of this post.
It’s easier to form any new habit when you reach out to family and friends. Let them know how they can help you. They may want to eat healthier too. And you if you don’t have anyone in your life who will support you, find a coach that will provide guidance and accountability.
Finally, if you must stop for fast food, do make the healthiest choice by opting for the smallest size, choose grilled over fried, request to hold the sauce or dressing, and find some veggies in a salad or wrap.
So, do you think it’s time to drive past instead of drive through the local fast food joint?
Eating less fast food is one simple change that can help you lose weight and enhance your overall health. Shop for delicious whole foods you can prepare yourself that will contain fewer calories and provide the fiber and nutrients your body needs.
New recipes and meal prepping ideas will make the process much easier. We have written a 25 page “Health Body Breakthrough” Cookbook that will help get you started. Download the recipes for Free at the link below!