Manna may have been the only fast food on the way to the 10 Commandments, but today there are 245 big US chain restaurants and tens of thousands of fast food options trying to lure you in. But is the food they serve healthy? A new study by Rand Corporation reviewed 30,923 menu entrees and found 96 percent of them exceed daily limit recommendations for calories, sodium, fat and saturated fat both for adults and children. This isn’t even addressing the issues related to trans fats and too much sugar.
Every day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant. McDonald’s alone feeds nearly 50 million people a day, more than the population of Spain. According to a recent survey by the Technomic food research firm, although 47 percent of consumers want more healthy restaurant options, only 23 percent actually order healthy food when dining out. The reason – down deep they already know it isn’t healthy.
Here are my 10 fast food commandments to help you with weight control:
1. Drink Water
Sodas, shakes, floats and specialty drinks are loaded with calories. And the huge glasses don’t help. The average “kid drink” has 430 calories and large sodas can have up to 500.
2. Choose Lean Meats, Not Processed or Fatty Treats
3. Ask for Whole Wheat or Multigrain Bread
If you select a sandwich, sub or pizza, ask for whole wheat or multigrain bread, buns or crust. It has a lower glycemic index.
4. Skip the “Extras” and the Appetizers
Avoid the extra sauce, extra patty or the slice of cheese to subtract calories. Even asking for no butter on the bun will save you 100 calories. The average fast food appetizer has 813 calories compared with 674 average calories per serving for an entrée.
5. Thick Crust Pizza Pie Goes To Your Thighs
The thicker the crust, the higher the calorie count. And processed meats like pepperoni and fatty toppings add calories. I love putting eggplant, mushrooms, peppers or spinach on top of my pizza. And thin crust is key.
6. Skip the “Secret Sauce”
7. Avoid the Fried Fast Food
Whenever the option exists, have your chicken or meat grilled. You’ll get fewer calories and less fats and it’s easier to digest.
8. Just ‘Cause They Serve It Doesn’t Mean You Have To Eat It
A meat serving is about the size of a deck of cards; about 3 ounces. So pass on the 12-ounce portions or only eat half and take half home. I typically split a meal with my wife.
9. Take Your Coffee With Skim Milk
Ever hear of the latte factor? It refers to the money you save over a year if you just cut out your daily latte. But the same could be said of the inches you could save by avoiding these syrupy drinks. If you must go for the latte, ask for sugar-free, and in either case, saying no to the whip cream will save you 70 calories and 7 grams of fat.
10. Invoke the Tenet of Chewdaism
I once heard the late Yogi Bhajan say, “Chew your food. There are no teeth in your stomach.” And that’s exactly what Chewdaism is all about; chewing your food 50 to 100 times before swallowing it. It takes about 30 – 60 seconds per bite. That’s good because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to “tell” your brain you are full. Chewing your food allows you to extract more nutrition out of your food and allows you to get full eating less.
Click below for my Junk Food music video which appeared initially on Lunch NYC.