Make healthier fast-food choices

Carolyn Magner | March 01, 2012

FIT FOR THE ROAD

 

You figure anything that tastes as good as fast food and is cheap, easy and convenient is bound to be bad for you — right?

It’s true. Most fast food is fully loaded with saturated fat, trans fat, calories and sodium. For truckers, the biggest draw is the easy availability in contrast with how much planning it takes to eat a healthy diet while on the road. It’s not easy but there are ways to occasionally indulge in fast food while making the best healthy choices.

Tips for making healthier choices

Do research. Before ordering take time to review the nutritional content of your meal choices. You can get this information online or by requesting an employee.

Order smaller portions. Choose the single burger or child’s meal rather than the super-sized one.

Special orders. Ask for dressing on the side, grilled rather than fried chicken and salad without cheese, croutons, sour cream or high-fat dressing. Order hamburgers and hotdogs without the buns.

Hydrate. Order ice water or unsweetened tea with your meal instead of soda or shakes.

Check menu. Read descriptions for meals labeled deep-fried, super-sized, breaded, creamy, loaded, Alfredo or batter-dipped, likewise anything with a cream sauce.

Never add. Stay away from extra salt, bacon, cheese, mayo or fries. Instead, flavor with pepper, spices and mustard and order extra tomatoes, onions, pickles and lettuce.

Be skeptical. Just because the meals are advertised with the word “healthy” doesn’t mean they are. For example, a bowl of oatmeal sounds pretty heart healthy but at McDonald’s, a bowl of their Fruit and Maple Oatmeal has 300 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 32 grams of sugar, the equivalent of eight packs of sugar!

Healthier fast-food choices (if you must!)

• McDonald’s Hamburger: 250 calories, 9 fat, 520 mg sodium.

• McDonald’s Grilled Ranch Snack Wrap: 270 calories, 10 g fat and 830 mg sodium.

• Wendy’s Chili (small): 190 calories, 6 g fat and 830 mg sodium.

• Wendy’s Jr. Cheeseburger: 280 calories, 8 g fat and 490 mg sodium.

• Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich: 300 calories, 3.5 g fat and 1,120 mg sodium.

• Taco Bell Taco Salad (without shell, sour cream or cheese): 420 calories, 21 g fat and 1,400 mg sodium.

• Subway 6-inch Roast Beef Sub (on whole wheat bread with veggies and no mayo): 290 calories, 5 g fat and 920 mg sodium.

• Arby’s Santa Fe Salad with Grilled Chicken: 305 calories, 11 g fat and 621 mg sodium.

 

Quick facts

• One fast-food hamburger may contain meat from hundreds of different cows.

• Eating fast food can result in high levels of insulin, which has been linked to rising rates of Type 2 diabetes. More than 600,000 cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year.

• Strawberry flavoring in milkshakes contains more than 50 different chemicals.

• March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Get Your Plate in Shape.”

 

Go for the Goal 2012

To check out the health progress of our featured drivers, Richie Nehrings and Bobby Andersen, scan this QR code with your smartphone or tablet, or visit http://www.truckers4agoal.com.