October 24, 2012

Fast Food, Not Fat Food - How to have it your way

by Michael Stefan

We can continue to kid ourselves and vow never to eat another fast food meal again, and really, this time mean it, get real! We're hungry and in a hurry, and lets face it; crave those hot, salty fries and great tasting burgers. We give in, devour these conveniently quick served value meals from the local fast food joint found on every other corner, and with in minutes, satisfaction.

Then it hits you. How many calories, how much fat, and we do this every time we go to the mall, (we know shopping and lunch go hand and hand) and every time cooking seems to become a undesirable task. How do we allow that seducing aroma and instant gratification take over again?

Luckily, over the past few years' fast food restaurants finally gotta clue. They now offer some healthier, yet still tasty alternatives; grilled chicken sandwiches, broiled burgers, delicious salads, and pitas stuffed with fresh vegetables. Life in the fast food lane does not have to mean life in the fat lane anymore. With a little knowledge and willpower, we can put our best fork forward, and still enjoy the luxury of fast food. Eating a meal or two at Burger King, (which by the way is my favorite), or Taco Bell, (which is my other favorite), isn't going to hurt all that much. But if you want to reduce the fat, calories, and guilt that come with such indulgences, make better choices.

Don't supersize. I guarantee you will be full and satisfied without stuffing in those extra 20 or so french fries.

Lose the cheese. Ask for lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions to garnish your burger or sandwich.

Hold the mayo and "special sauce". Although loaded with taste, also loaded with fat.

Go for the grilled chicken instead of the burger. The obvious low fat choice.

If you want the burger, select the smaller size. Skip the double or triple deal.

Consider ordering a baked potato or salad. A great side and filling alternative to the fries or onion rings. Pass up on the fried food.

Drink water, or if that is too boring, a small soda You don't need to consume those extra calories that comes with soda, and no re-fills.

There really are no surprises. We all know the menus. If you're on the go, don't have time to prepare your own healthy food, or just want something quick to satisfy your hunger, careful choices can make all the difference.

Michael Stefano, captain and 20 year veteran with the New York City fire department, is the author of The Firefighter’s Workout Book. His 30 minute a day program has been used by thousands across America.