7-Step Fast Food Survival Guide

a woman enjoying biting into a hamburger
Try as you might to stick to your clean diet and goals, there are some days when there’s no other option than fast food.

Sometimes it’s inevitable. Try as you might to stick to your clean diet and goals, there are some days when there’s no other option than fast food.

Perhaps you’re traveling for work, and there’s no grocery store in sight. Or at the end of a girls’ night out your crew has decided on the drive-thru for the grand finale.

There’s no need to stress though. With a few helpful hints, you’ll not only squash those nagging hunger pains, but navigate that burger joint in a clean way that won’t leave you with the dreaded fast food hangover.

Step 1: Review the menu in advance

It’s always better to dine out or drive-thru with a plan. This will help to avoid making bad decisions due to impatience, extreme hunger or cravings.

Step 2: Grilled over deep-fried any time

If a restaurant offers fried chicken or fish, it’s very likely they also offer grilled options. Keep this in mind for sandwiches and salads. Deep-fried, though tasty, is a big-time calorie trap.

Step 3: Stick to one bun

We all know those restaurants that offer the tasty burgers with an extra bun lovingly layered in the middle of the sandwich. This extra bit of carbs is not doing anyone any favors. In fact, you don’t even need two buns – cut the carbs by sticking to one bun topped with protein and fresh veggies, or opt for a wrap option.

Step 4: Drink water

Soft drinks, fruit juice and sweetened iced tea are all sources of too much sugar or chemicals like aspartame. Opt for water to quench your thirst.

Step 5: Whatever you do, DON’T UPSIZE

You may be enticed by the bargain you’re being presented with, but imagine the guilt you’ll feel afterwards from the supersized fries or onion rings. Better still, check out the kids menu. That portion may be just what you need and ­(bonus!) often it comes with apple slices, yogurt and maybe even a toy.

Step 6: Side guide

Trying to keep your meal healthy doesn’t necessarily mean ditching the carbs, as long as you carb wisely. Sweet potato fries are a slightly better choice than the classic French fries, but a baked potato is even better. Your best option, though, is a side salad or mixed veggies.

Step 7: Condiment caution

Just because a sandwich is described one way on the menu, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a heaping amount of calorie-heavy mayo or sugar-loaded ketchup. Most places will happily accommodate your request to customize. Mustard provides plenty of savory taste and contains zero calories. Tomatoes, pickles and onions will not only help satiate, but they add tons of fresh flavor too.

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