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Eating healthier in fast-food restaurants

I grab a lot of meals in fast-food restaurants. How can I eat healthier when I’m on the go?

“There are ways to eat healthier, even in the fast-food lane,” says Ronda Elsenbrook, R.D., a registered dietitian in Nutrition Services at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.
“One simple way is to choose grilled instead of fried foods. Better still, if the restaurant has a salad bar, graze on lettuce, tomatoes and fresh fruits.”
 
Ronda says plenty of confusion exists about which fast-food choices are healthier, especially for breakfast.
 
“Select a muffin that offers a slice of ham and cheese with an egg,” she says. “If you just want a quick snack, opt for an item with fiber, such as a low-fat bran muffin or scone. But avoid pastries and sticky buns.”
For later in the day, Ronda says healthier choices may be available in sandwich shops.
 
“For protein, order lean chicken or turkey slices on multigrain bread. Add lettuce or other veggies to increase fiber intake,” she advises. “Tuna salad on whole-wheat is also a good sandwich choice, but don’t load it with mayonnaise.”
 
For those wanting a hamburger and French fries, she says: “Never supersize anything. Get a junior-size burger and substitute a salad for the fries.”
 
If it’s potatoes you crave, she advises a baked potato topped with sour cream, instead of butter, and salsa for added flavor.
 
“If you pay attention to what you eat, you can still enjoy the convenience of fast-food restaurants,” concludes Ronda, who counsels patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Main Campus, located near the Texas Medical Center.