"Drive-Thru Disasters"


Fortunately, most fast food chains have conformed to offering healthier alternatives and now have better options, such as grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, oatmeal and fruit. Every item can be made healthier just by leaving off mayonnaise, cheese and creamy dressings, reducing the portion size or just choosing to have fruit as your side instead of fries. Let’s talk about the big calorie saver: water or diet soda instead of regular soda, sweet tea and juices.

Salads are a great way to get your fruits and veggies on the go. Instead of high-calorie toppings, choose sunflower seeds for a crunch, grilled chicken or shrimp for a lean protein and an oil-based dressing like Italian or Vinaigrette. As for pizza, try a thin crust, add extra veggies and reduce the amount of added cheese.

Here are a few healthier meal options from your favorite fast food restaurant:

McDonald’s: Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken; Fruit and Yogurt Parfait with water: 440 Calories (add the Southwest dressing: 540 Calories)

Chik-fil-A: Char grill Chicken Cool Wrap; Unsweetened Tea; Fruit Cup: 480 Calories

Wendy’s: Small Chili; Side Salad with Fat-Free Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing; Water: 470 Calories

Subway: 6-inch Turkey Breast & Black Forest Ham on Wheat with Mustard; Baked! Lay’s Chips; Unsweetened Tea: 425 Calories

We all have busy schedules, and there will be times when fast food is the only option. Try to limit these meals to only two times a week or less, and prepare healthy meals at home so that you will be on the road to better food choices.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with H. Vondell Clark, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director, or Lynn Winkler, Registered Dietician, please call CVMC’s Healthy House at 828/326-3410 or visit eatsmartmovemorenc.com.