Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fast Food That 's Good For You

Eating healthy doesn't have to be labor intensive, costly, or complicated. If you can open a bag of potato chips, you can just as easily open a bag of salad. Many vegetable blends can be found in the freezer case, right next to your favorite boxed dinner. Instead of the box, try a bag of stir fry veggies already cut and ready to go - dump in a skillet, add seasonings, and dinner is served. A bag of fresh spinach makes a great salad and is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Add nuts instead of croutons. Options for single serving folks - buy salad or cut up carrots, broccoli, etc. at a salad bar or deli. The cost isn't so high because there is no waste.
Replace processed meats with no-nitrite-added deli meats. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends eliminating all processed meats from the diet. The nitrites added to preserve them do twice the damage as red meat. Try a veggie burger, or ground poultry. At least you don't have to worry about E. Coli with veggie burgers!
Switch to "thins" or light bread. Get your carbs from fruits, veggies, and beans. Make your grains count by buying 100% Whole Grain cereals and breads. Half of a standard bagel is a serving. Also try mini bagels or thins.
Instead of the standard granola bar as a carry-on, pack a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter (folded over) for your afternoon pick-me-up. Many granola bars are just candy bars in disguise.
Buy sliced fruits such as mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, in the produce section. Though it costs a little more for the prep work, it's still cheaper than fruit salad at a restaurant.
Make fruit smoothies at home with frozen berries, skim milk and yogurt. You'll save a bundle on calories compared to the sugar-laden concoctions sold at restaurants. Add fruit to plain yogurt to reduce calories. The stuff on the bottom of many "fat free" yogurts is similar to candy.
Avoid liquid cheese. Really, it's not even cheese. It's liquid saturated fat with no nutritional value whatsoever.
Eliminate two servings of meat per week and replace them fish. Broiled or grilled, it only takes a few minutes! And a small (lunch box size) can of tuna on a tossed salad doesn't even require cooking. Toss a can into your purse and buy a small side salad at any drive-through for a cheap and heart healthy lunch.
Make junk food boring by adding variety to your pantry. Stock up with the good stuff. The reason people go to restaurants is for the variety. You never order a meal that you can get at home.
Snack Tip: Rinse a container of blueberries or snap peas, eat.
Liquid calories don't curb hunger, they just add calories. This applies to not only sodas, but fruit juice, energy drinks, and coffee concoctions. The average American gets at least 22% of their daily calories from liquids. Switch to calorie-free beverages.
When eating out: Just say no to that basket of bread or tortilla chips. Get the thin, not thick pizza crust, and replace nitrite rich meats with chicken or veggies. Try a bean burrito instead of beef. Avoid the noodles, deep fried, and breaded items at Asian restaurants. A Gyro packs about 800 calories with the fatty, high sodium meats. Opt for the chicken souvlaki pita for half the calories. Order two veggies as your sides with dinner, instead of starches. And order "petite" desserts that many restaurants now offer, or share a dessert with a friend.

~ JAMA, 2010