Healthy Outdoor Living

Healthy Fast Food Choices on the Road

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter January Outdoor Living Newsletter

One of the challenges road trippers of every stripe face is limited dining options. In the world of limited options, fast food unfortunately wins out and our health suffers. So what's a veteran road tripper to do? One of the best things you can do is find the healthiest fast food options before you head out on the road. Here are four simple tips for finding that healthy diamond in the rough.

Tip #1: Avoid Super-Sized Meals

Even if you don't count calories to keep track of your diet, it helps to know that the recommended daily calorie intake is 1,200 calories for women and 2,000 calories for men. A super-sized meal can easily shoot up to more than 1,000 calories, a huge portion of the daily recommended intake.

Although you can get more food at a cheaper price when you super-size your orders at a fast-food restaurant, you are better off sticking to the regular-sized portions. Ordering regular-sized meals makes portion control easy. If you are trying to save money, though, you can order one super-sized meal and split it into two. Many super-sized meals are large enough to be shared by two people.

Tip #2: Avoid High-Fat, High-Sodium and High-Sugar Garnishing, Dressing and Side Dishes

Healthy fast food sandwiches
You can eat healthily on the road even if your only choice is to eat at fast food joints.

A burger may taste better with cheese. Salads may taste nicer with mayo-based dressing. A touch of salt may add more flavor to French fries. However, you should try to avoid garnishing, dressing or salting your fast food orders as much as possible.

There are actually a lot of items on fast food menus that are healthy enough to eat. Sometimes, though, the dressings or garnishing that are meant to enhance their flavor make them not so healthy at all. While these add-ons do make fast food taste better, they can be laden with trans-fat, salt or sugar. Too much of these on a regular basis can cause health problems in the long run.

You can still make your fast food orders taste interesting by adding more healthy seasonings like ground black pepper or yellow mustard. Mustard vinaigrette is actually a great dressing for salads. They will put zing in your food without clogging your arteries.

Tip #3: Stick to Grilled Foods and Salads

As often as possible, select grilled foods and salads listed in the fast food menu. Grilled foods have fewer calories than fried foods. Eating salads, on the other hand, will give you a good dose of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function optimally. Just make sure that the salads you eat don't have fatty dressings.

Tip #4: Read Up on the Nutritional Value and Calorie Content of Fast Food

Many large fast food chains are now responding to the public demand to provide healthier choices in their menus. More and more of them are now offering healthier options for their customers. However, sometimes it is still difficult to know which food item is healthy and which is not by just browsing the menu before ordering.

Thus, if you are anticipating that you will have to eat at a fast food restaurant on your road trip, it would help you a lot if you did a little research. Many fast food chains have published the nutritional value and calorie content of the food they serve on their websites. Here's a few to check out:

You don't have to despair if you find that the only dining option that you have while you are on a road trip in your RV is to eat at a fast food restaurant. It is entirely possible to have a healthy meal at a fast food restaurant. You just need to be sure that you are aware of what is really healthy for you and that you make health-conscious decisions when you order your meal.

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