Sometimes it’s inevitable:
hunger strikes and leads you straight
to the drive-through. Fortunately,
nutritious fast food isn’t necessarily
an oxymoron, as most fast food
outlets offer healthier options. The
key, says Kelly Berg, a registered
dietitian with Alberta Health Services
in Edmonton, is to know what to
order (hint: think grilled and green)
and what to avoid.
The following tips will help you
navigate any fast food menu. Berg
adds these are just a few examples
from a few food outlets and that the
nutritional content of food varies
widely from outlet to outlet. Berg also
recommends limiting eating out.
When in doubt about the
nutritional content of an outlet’s
offerings, Berg advises going online:
most restaurants’ websites list their
menus’ nutritional information.
McDonald’s, Wendy’s & Kentucky
The holy trinity of fast food, the trio’s
menus aren’t altogether virtuous.
Be sure to choose single patty
burgers and avoid bacon, cheese
and anything “crispy,” “breaded”
or “fried.” Swap creamy dressings
for vinaigrettes and swap the
large serving for the small serving
Better bets include McDonald’s
chicken wrap and Wendy’s Junior
Hamburger (no mayo). As for KFC?
Take a pass.
Starbucks, Tim Hortons
Coffee drinks can have as many
calories and as much fat as fried
chicken. Skip flavoured syrups and
whipped cream; try unsweetened
iced tea or a skim-milk latte. And
be wary of “low-fat” labels: Tim
Hortons’ low-fat double berry muffin
has 30 grams of sugar—twice that of
a glazed cinnamon roll!
Healthier selections include
oatmeal (opt for plain or berry
varieties) and low-fat yogurt with
Smoothies may seem diet-friendly,
but many juice blends overflow
with calories and sugar. Jugo Juice’s
Fast food options
making healthier choices
has 510 calories (a Big Mac has 540)
and 82 grams of sugar (over 20
Choose a small smoothie made
with only fruit and low-fat milk or
yogurt, such as Jugo Juice’s Snackin’
Smoothie (about 150 calories).
Watch the sodium in Japanese
restaurants—a bowl of Edo Japan’s
udon soup packs 3,000 milligrams!
(The recommended daily limit for
adults is 2,000 mg, which is roughly
equal to to one teaspoon of salt.)
Ask for low-sodium soy sauce (use
sparingly) and go easy on the teriyaki
sauce, which is laden with sodium
and sugar. Bypass tempura- and
mayo-based rolls (e.g., Dynamite,
Leaner picks include sashimi and
— megan macmillan
For more tips on eating well while
dining out, visit the Dietitians of Canada
website at dietitians.ca.