Food in the News: Avoiding the Worst Fast Food

Fast food is very American, and it is a major reason why some of the biggest people in the world live in the grand old US of A. If you must eat it, here are some of the places where you should swap out your old favorite for a new, healthier option.

We all know that fast food is bad for us, but sometimes we eat it anyway…or feed it to our kids…or bring it home to our husband. Sharing fast food with loved ones seems like a good idea when you are strapped for cash or have no extra time on your hands, but it could also be contributing to a variety of diseases and ailments.

Burger King. For a long time, I assumed that because these burgers were fire-grilled and both looked and tasted better than a McDonald’s burger (something I haven’t had since I was about 8 years old), they were better health-wise, too. In some cases, I was right. A basic Burger King cheeseburger isn’t that much different from other fast food joints in terms of calories and fat.

The one that stands out as a crime against nature is the Triple Whopper with Cheese and Mayo. Coming in at over 1,200 calories with over 80 grams of fat, this is not the kind of thing to bring home to the kids if you want them to be able to move around the next day! The name says it all. No one needs a triple anything, especially not your young children- teach them about ways to incorporate good protein, like grilled chicken, with their favorite veggies and light sauce.

McDonald’s. Often heralded as the worst food simply because of what the name represents and due to the various documentary filmmakers who have chastised the company itself, McDonald’s is really just the inventor of fast food, so to speak. They are no more the ‘bad guy’ than the next fast food establishment. That being said, avoid their Big Breakfast with hotcakes and biscuit- you are looking (and feeling) at over 1,150 calories.

While at Mickey D’s, be sure to check the nutritional menu to be certain that you aren’t eating a salad that is double the calories of some of their other menu items. This is often the case due to the extras- cheese, dressing and croutons. Also avoid the Chicken Selects, which hit over 800 calories, and stick to the nuggets, saving you almost 500 calories.

Wendy’s. Her cute red pigtails lure you in…and you leave with a stomach full of bacon, chili and potatoes. Wendy’s has new sea salt fries which taste great (if you must have the occasional order of fries) and are also better (for you) than many of the alternatives (stick with the value size).

Wendy’s still falls short when it comes to their Baconator Double. This sandwich has almost 1,000 calories and over 500 of those calories are from fat. Stick to 1/4 lb. single burger, or, even better, try the Crispy Chicken Sandwich or Grilled Chicken Go Wrap.

Use your best judgment when it comes to pulling through the drive-thru window. Better yet, download the nutritional information from your favorite fast food spot’s website or go inside and ask for a chart. You will be surprised at how many calories you can save when you pay closer to attention to your basic caloric intake. Don’t be afraid to modify your meals, either- take off those croutons, hold the sauce or don’t eat the bun.

Try your hand at making a healthy burger at home! Go here for some great ideas!

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  • Chris

    What about BK’s Triple Baconator? 3 patties, 3 pieces of cheese and like 6 strips of bacon. I love a good bacon cheeseburger, but that is just a heart attack on a bun. And the fact that the fast food industry doesn’t think they are contributing to America’s obesity is just insane. What started out as a quick convenient meal for the working class is now a competition to see who can get away with serving the most calories in a single sandwich. Fast food should be a once-in-a-blue-moon treat, not a daily meal.

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