Everyday Fast Food
If you're like most people, you've eaten at McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell and other fast-food restaurants plenty of times. And you've probably spent a fair amount of time waiting in line to order, pay for, and pick up your food. Restaurants like these are known for serving 'fast' food - and yet - often they are not fast at all. Think about it. The last time you went to a fast-food restaurant, how much time did you spend walking to your car, driving to the restaurant, waiting in line, and then driving back to your home or office? It probably wasn't any faster than it would have been if you prepared your own meal.
What's more concerning than the time factor is that it is extremely difficult to make healthy choices at a fast-food restaurant. Despite some of the recent more healthful offerings, the menus still tend to include foods high in fat, sugar and calories and low in fiber and nutrients. According to a 15 year, large multi-center study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), those who ate at fast-food restaurants more than twice each week compared to less than once a week had gained an extra ten pounds and had a two-fold greater increase in insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The no-so-fast food, poor nutritional quality, and excessive calories make fast-food restaurant meals not the best choice. Instead, with a little planning and not much effort, you can prepare yourself a weight-conscious meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner that is much healthier than anything you could get at a fast-food restaurant. To get you started, scroll down to the tasty taco recipe below. You could be eating this delicious meal in 20 minutes!
Meanwhile, if you find yourself in a fast-food restaurant, use these strategies to make healthier choices and stay on track with managing your weight.
• Choose a 'single' burger without cheese rather than a double or triple.
• Opt for a small-size French fries or, better yet, skip them all together.
• Drink water instead of regular or diet soda.
• Add a vegetable salad to your meal but be wary of the high fat, high sodium dressings.
• Skip the dessert unless fruit is an option.
Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 2 tacos
Total Time: 20 min | Prep: 10 min | Cook: 10 min
½ cup water
½ medium-sized onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup tomato sauce with no added salt
4 veggie burgers, diced small
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
12 corn tortillas, warm
1 cup each: shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomato, diced green onion
Heat the water in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion, garlic and green pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, veggie burgers and spices. Reduce heat and cook until veggie burgers soften and most of sauce is absorbed. Fill warm corn tortillas with filling. Garnish with lettuce, tomato and onion.
Each serving (2 tacos): 243 calories, 5 g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 314 mg sodium, 39 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 12 g protein.
Recipe used with permission from Food and Health Communications.
Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS RD, is a food and nutrition expert specializing in weight management and digestive health. She is committed to empowering people through education, support, and inspiration to make real changes that lead to optimal health and lasting weight loss. Take her Free Self-Assessment and learn how you can lose 20 lb. - or more. Jump Start your weight loss today! http://njnutritionist.com/freeassessment