Go ahead and eat and enjoy fast food, but don't stop counting calories when you're facing that menu board. To keep calories in check, follow these five rules developed by Dr. Jessica Bartfield, an internal medicine physician who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System. Five rules to follow when you're ordering fast food:
1. Select grilled rather than fried.
A fast-food grilled chicken sandwich has 470 calories and 18 grams of fat, while the fried version has 750 calories and 45 grams of fat.
2. Pass up the cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressings unless low-fat options are available.
Cheese can add an additional 100 calories or more per serving, as does mayonnaise, and you probably won't miss the taste when ordering the plainer versions.
3. Order the smallest size available.
Go for the single burger rather than the double, and order the small fries rather than the super size.
4. Skip the sugar-sweetened drinks.
Beverages sweetened with sugar don't have much nutritional value and don't make you feel more satisfied. In addition, calories from sugar quickly add up, leading to excessive calorie consumption, especially at restaurants offering free and unlimited refills on drinks.
5. Save half of your order for your next meal.
Bring your own take-home dish and scoop half your food into it before you even take the first bite. This will not only save calories, but also time and money.