If looking to lose weight then eating fast food is never going to be on the top of the list of priorities. However, if you can’t completely kick the habit and still have to have that Big Mac or Whopper then opting for a smaller sized meal can really cut back on the calorie count.

Additional Calories From “Going Large”

When buying a meal from a fast food outlet many restaurants will automatically try to get customers to opt for a bigger size. However, for those counting the calories this can be a major pitfall. The example below shows the difference in calories between a regular, large and super Whopper meal at Burger King.

  • Whopper 652 Kcal
  • Fries 291/369/456 Kcal
  • Coke 168/252/378 Kcal
  • Regular = 1,111 Kcal
  • Large = 1,273 Kcal
  • Super = 1,486 Kcal

In this case the super size meal clocks in at an additional 375 calories or 34% more than the smaller sized meal.

Cutting the Calories in Fast Food

While cutting down on the size of a meal is a great way to reduce the calorie intake of that guilty pleasure, consider the following tips to help reduce the calorie intake of a single meal.

  • Drinks – A major source of calories in any fast food meal is the drink that accompanies the meal. While a super size Coke will cost you 378 calories a diet version in the same size will cost you just 3.
  • Meal Choice – While most fast food is high in its calorie value, the difference between choices may come as quite a shock. For example beef options at Burger King range from 284 calories for a basic Hamburger up to 976 for a Double Whopper with Cheese, an increase of 244%.
  • Skip Sides and Desserts – Cutting out those additional sides and desserts can really make a difference, losing the 8 onion rings will cut out 398 calories while leaving the dessert behind will take off another 250-350 calories.

So if you are looking to lose weight but don’t want to cut out fast food in its entirety, try to reduce the effects of a single trip and opt for smaller meal sizes, avoid sides and desserts and consider switching sugared carbonated drinks for a diet version or water. Taking such action can reduce the calorie intake of a single meal making the option a more manageable treat.