Rethinking a fast-food fix leads to healthier eating

Rethinking a fast-food fix leads to healthier eating

Posted: Updated: Oct 3, 2013 11:29 AM
ATLANTA -

Sometimes even the healthiest among us crave fast food. The problem is that fast food is usually fried with super-sized portions, but it doesn't have to be that way.

It doesn't take revamping the overall diet and giving up all the favorites, but just rethinking things the next fast-food fix. The key is focusing on the little things that can be done when in the drive-thru line because small tweaks here and there can make a big difference.

Wendy Palmer, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, says completely cutting fast food out of a diet is not realistic.

"Maybe the first step is to cut back and share fries amongst the family - not even go to salads and veggies yet," says Palmer.

One of the first things to do when the family hits their favorite fast food joint is to think smaller. Palmer says just swapping out a medium soda for a small one can cut about 60 pounds of sugar from someone's diet every year.

Also, grilled is better than fried, but it's what goes with it that also matters. Skipping the sauces and condiments, dropping the mayo, reducing the cheese and resisting the temptation to add bacon to everything are all positive choices.

And that salad, it may seem healthy, but not all salads are equally healthy. Many of those salads have croutons, fried chicken, cheese and more calories than a plain burger.

The issue of fries may be upsetting, but try to get them in smaller portions if they can't be cut out altogether. Switching from a large fry to a small fry can cut about 14,000 calories a year.

Rethinking how to eat isn't always easy, but Palmer says taking baby steps and focusing on a little change at a time can get a family on the right track to eating healthier.

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