Fast Food Do’s and Don’ts: 8 Tips for Making Healthier Meal Choices

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

Urban Martial Arts - karate school and martial arts school in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, NYIn an ideal world, you would avoid fast food altogether. But sometimes there’s just no other option, especially when you’re stranded at the airport waiting for a delayed flight. When fast food is all there is, take great care to choose wisely from the available menus so you don’t trip up your healthy-eating game plan.

Here are 8 tips to keep in mind:

DO opt for a grilled chicken sandwich.
One of your safest bets in the fast food realm is a grilled chicken sandwich. It packs a powerful protein punch without a lot of fat.

DO enjoy the occasional burger, but watch the sauce.
Sometimes chicken just doesn’t cut it, and you find yourself craving some beef. Go ahead and enjoy a burger once in awhile, but stick to ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce for flavor. Other sauces are likely to be fatty and high in calories.

DO drink lots of water.
Most beverages contain loads of empty calories so whenever possible, choose crystal clear, unadulterated water. If you absolutely cannot stand drinking plain water, order a diet soda instead.

DO load up on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Most fast food restaurants nowadays offer some type of fruit or vegetable dish, whether it’s a bag of apple slices, a cup of fruit salad, a serving of apple sauce, or a mixed greens salad. Always pick up one of these options to go with your sandwich.

DON’T ruin your salad with unhealthy toppings
You’re proud of yourself for resisting the siren call of chicken nuggets and ordering a salad instead. Now, make sure you don’t turn your healthy choice into an unhealthy one! Avoid high-calorie toppings such as shredded cheese, croutons, crunchy noodles, or bacon bits. Try to keep the ingredients of your salad to just vegetables and lean protein.

DON’T use fattening salad dressing
Stay away from creamy salad dressings like caesar or ranch. Instead, opt for lighter, oil-based dressings such as vinaigrette or Italian. And use dressing sparingly! You should use just enough to coat the salad – you don’t want your salad dripping in the stuff.

DON’T eat anything fried
Sorry, but french fries don’t count as vegetables! Stay away from fried foods like french fries and onion rings. Breaded chicken and fish are usually fried too, to nix those from your plans. Your waistline and arteries will thank you!

DON’T super-size your meals
Portion control is key when it comes to healthy eating. So if the cashier suggests that you upgrade to a larger meal, always say no.

Fast food beckons on nearly every block. It’s fast, it’s cheap, but it can be disastrous to your waistline, heart and arteries when eaten routinely. By following the tips above, you can at least make healthier choices.