5 Tips for Fast Food

You challenged me to eat ALL my main meals at fast food restaurants for one day! I had to rely on fast food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Take a look at where I went to eat, what I ordered and my 5 Tips for Fast Food and keeping it healthy – or at least, semi-healthy!

Plus, is eating out really saving more time than meal prepping at home? Find out the time it took me to order food and how much money I ended up spending in one day!

Watch my adventures in eating fast food here and get the tips below…

Breakfast

This was the meal I was most concerned about. When you think about a fast food breakfast, the first thing that comes to mind is breakfast sandwiches, muffins, donuts, hash browns, etc.

Which brings me to TIP #1: Eat something out of the norm if you have to.

My first stop was at Dunkin’ Donuts, where I left with a plain, toasted bagel with nothing on it.

The truth is, the healthy options at DD are very limited.

I asked for a whole wheat bagel, but they didn’t have it, so I got a plain bagel instead. Then I asked if they had peanut butter (a healthy fat) for a spread, but they didn’t.

The only option was cream cheese and being that I try to maintain a plant-based diet, cream cheese was a “no” for me.

You may be thinking and asking yourself, “You’re just eating bread… How is that healthy?”

While having plain bread may seem unhealthy, your body needs food (anything really) in the morning to rev your metabolism. I could have gotten a donut or a bagel breakfast sandwich, but I know those contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients that would have left me feeling sluggish by mid-morning.

Opting for the plain bagel helped get my metabolism started and satisfied my hunger – even if it wasn’t exactly what I would have liked.

When ordering food out, know that it’s okay to get something out of the norm like a plain bagel without a spread. In fact, you don’t even have to get breakfast food!

Also, don’t be afraid to make-up your own meal from different options on the menu. For instance, if you’re dining out and don’t see an entrée you like, then order sides for your meal. Most restaurants will accommodate your wants/needs – after all, you are a paying customer.

If I were to do this experiment again, then I would choose a different restaurant (like Panera Bread) where there are more options on the menu.

On a side note, it took about 6 minutes to get through the drive-thru and cost $1.47 for breakfast.

Lunch

I already knew I would get lunch from Chipotle Mexican Grill – a food staple in my life when times are hectic.

Not only do the meals fill you up at Chipotle, but they have nutrient dense foods that keep you satiated for hours – especially when you know how to order a healthy burrito bowl!

TIP #2: Forget the extra toppings.

Typically when ordering food, we want the most “bang for our buck.” However, by getting the extra toppings like sour cream, cheese, mayo, dressings, dips, etc., we are adding to our waistlines and sacrificing our health in the long run.

These foods are calorically dense, but not nutritionally dense, so they don’t keep us satiated for long…

Which is why I advise to skip the extra toppings. I can guarantee your food will taste just as good without them.

TIP #3: Ask for extra veggies.

While skipping the extra toppings is a good idea, adding as many vegetables to your meal as possible is an even better idea!

Unlike those toppings, vegetables are nutritionally dense but not calorically dense. Therefore, you can actually eat more food for fewer calories and feel fuller after your meal.

My Chipotle bowl consisted of:

  • White Rice (Healthy Grain)
  • Black Beans (Healthy Meat Alternative)
  • Extra Fajita Vegetables
  • Fresh and medium salsa (Random Fact: Did you know spicy foods speed up your metabolism?)
  • Corn
  • Guacamole (Healthy Fat)
  • Lettuce

As you can see, my bowl was filled with nutritionally dense foods – so much so, that I could only eat half the bowl before filling up.

Side Note: The guacamole at Chipotle is free when you skip the meat and get a veggie bowl!

From start to finish, it took about 4 minutes to get my bowl (luckily, there wasn’t a line) and it costs $7.95.

Dinner

By the time dinner came around, I really didn’t feel like stopping somewhere to get food – especially considering I had half a Chipotle bowl waiting for me at home. But being that I planned on eating all three meals out, I knew I had to move onto the next fast food restaurant…

Which happened to be Squisito – a pizza and pasta place. I chose this restaurant because pizza is an American staple and a quick bite for the whole family to enjoy.

I didn’t end up ordering pizza (I was craving veggies), but I wanted to show how you can still order healthy food at a place like this.

The menu had a variety of food including a Greek salad, which I just happen to love! When I placed the order though, I made sure to apply Tips #2 and #3; I asked for the feta cheese to be removed and I asked if I could add roasted red peppers to the salad.

15-minutes and $8.47 later, I went to eat my salad and realized the peppers had been forgotten and the dressing was cream-based – something I honestly forgot to ask about, which brings me to my next two tips…

Tip #4: Always ask for dressing on the side.

Believe it or not, you don’t need to drench the salad in dressing for those veggies to be enjoyable.

To get dressing on each bite of salad, dip your fork into the side of dressing before picking up the bite of salad.

By doing this, I guarantee you’ll use only half the dressing and save on unnecessary calories.

Tip #5: Order oil-based dressings or tomato-based sauces over creamy dressings/sauces.

Creamy dressings are typically made with heavy cream, and like the extra toppings, are calorically dense but not nutritionally dense. Ordering an oil-based dressing (a vinaigrette) is a much healthier option.

This same tip can be applied when having pasta. Opt for a tomato-based sauce like marinara over a thick and creamy sauce like Alfredo.

Again, this experiment was designed to show you how you can still eat healthy (or at least, semi-healthy) and stay on track with your goals when you don’t have time to meal prep and you have to rely on fast food for every meal.

Which brings me to my next point: Does eating out really save time?

Time & Money

At the end of the day, you really have to wonder if it’s worth dining out?

I spent about 25 minutes ordering and waiting for food, and all of my meals totaled to $17.89 – nearly $20 to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner for 1 day!

If you did this every workday (5 days/week), you’d spend over 2 hours ordering food and about $90. This calculation doesn’t even include eating on the weekends or snacks for the entire week.

By grocery shopping and preparing 15-minute and 20-minute meals, you could save time, money and your HEALTH!

To help you save on groceries, use my tips to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half.

Recap: Fast Food Tips

If you decide that buying groceries and meal prepping isn’t for you – plus, you don’t mind spending the time and money on fast food – then remember to keep these tips in mind so that you’re at least making healthy food choices:

TIP #1: Eat something out of the norm if you have to.

TIP #2: Forget the extra toppings.

TIP #3: Ask for extra veggies.

Tip #4: Always ask for dressing on the side.

Tip #5: Order oil-based dressings or tomato-based sauces over creamy dressings/sauces

Have more tips to add? Add them to the comment section below!

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