Eating out once in a while can be fun but when you are on a reduced sugar diet, it can be tricky. Fast foods are the worst. Unless you carefully read the nutritional labels, you’ll be eating a lot of sugar and not know it.
Besides being loaded with sugar, most fast foods also contain far too much sodium, saturated fat and calories – some meals have a whole days’ worth. But there are healthier options available at most fast food restaurants – you just have to know what to order.
- Watch the calories. On average a person eats 836 calories per fast food meal and underestimates how many calories consumed by 175 calories. Use the nutritional information provided by the fast food chain and try to keep your meal at 500 calories or less.
- Bring your own side items. If you plan ahead, you can bring healthy sides and toppings from home, such as carrot sticks, apple or pear slices, cottage cheese or yogurt.
- Focus on the good stuff. Look for items with more fiber, whole grain and protein. Usually these types of food will be lower in sugar. Fresh fruit or grilled turkey or chicken on a multi-grain bun are all good bets.
- Spare the condiments and dressings. These items contain a lot of added sugar, so beware of salad dressings, spreads, sauces, and sides dishes. Instead, ask for these items separately so you can add just enough for flavor, but use far less than what the restaurant would normally put on your food.
- Order water as a beverage. Soda and some alcoholic drinks can have hundreds of calories from sugar. Also drinking these items tend to make you hungrier, thus you end up eating more food than you should. If you want something other than water to drink, order a water-based drink such as unsweetened hot or iced tea.
Most of the fast food chains and restaurants post their nutritional information on their websites along with having nutritional handouts in their places of business. If you know where you will be eating, sort out the information beforehand so you know what you will be ordering before you get there.
If not, then use their nutrition information on-site and take some time to read it before ordering. You will thank-yourself in the end and not feel guilty afterwards for not sticking to your low sugar diet. It is possible to both eat out and stick to your low-sugar diet plan; it just takes some work and forethought.