Last weekend I was out with some friends who were in town visiting and we decided to make a quick run to the fast food place that was just around the corner. Now personally, I do not care for fast food all that much, but I was outnumbered so that’s where I ended up. I had the choice of either not eating at all and being unnecessary questioned as to why, or I could try to look over the menu for something reasonably healthy.  Does this sound like a familiar situation?  If you find that you occasionally have to eat fast food, then I want to offer a few tips to help you keep your healthy lifestyle goals while still having the occasional “dirty food.”

Let’s first start off with your drink. Do not order a soda because soda is pretty much liquid sugar.  Soda is comprised of a high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the worse things you can ingest for trying to keep a slim waist as it will mostly help add more fat around your midsection.  I’d suggest water.  But if you are someone that definitely has to have some flavor in their drink, then I’d order an unsweetened tea.   

Next, stay away from all heavily fried items, most importantly the tasty but deadly french fries.  Some health experts have actually listed french fries as #1 on their lists of the unhealthiest foods you can eat!  The reason for this is because french fries are cooked in large amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils.  These oils are the source of trans fat, the worse kind of fat for your body and overall health.  There are studies that link eating 1 gram of trans fat a day to serious adverse effects within the body, particularly those risks related to cancer and heart problems.  But it is not just the fries, avoid other heavily fried foods like chicken fingers. 

So it should bring caution to anyone when they read that an average fast food meal of fried chicken fingers and french fries can have more than 8 grams of trans fat.  Now remember, only 1 gram is needed to cause severe health risks so 8 grams is seriously not good for your body.  Not to mention, the cookie you want in an effort to satisfy your sweet tooth will just add even more trans fat as they are cooked in methods that similarly produce this deadly trans fat.

Just the food I’ve talked about here could easily put you over 11 grams of trans fat in one meal.  It is hard to imagine what could potentially happen to your health if you ate fast food every day, even multiple times a day.  People who do eat fast food regularly often do not even realize that they are eating 15-25 grams of trans fat a day nor always know the health risks associated with the continuous eating of these foods.

So then what can you eat at a fast food place? Well, I would suggest you do like I had to and order the best of the available options left which tend to commonly be grilled chicken or salad. Luckily, it is increasingly more common for fast food places to display some type of nutrition information available to review.  So now you will have the opportunity to check for trans fat when making your selections of food choices.  The most significant take away is to always avoid the soda and french fries and then order what you feel is best taking into consideration the points previously mentioned.