You know—and we know that you know—it’s best to skip the drive-through when you’re trying to lose weight. But we also know that at some point, we will all find ourselves pulling into a rest stop on a road trip or hitting a fast-food window when the kids are clamoring for nuggets and fries. And that’s OK. You can pick up a little something for yourself, without totally derailing your diet. Here are some tips for healthier ordering:
Get the smallest sandwich. Hamburgers with two or three patties can contain up to 700 calories; a regular hamburger has about 250. Kids’ meals are a good alternative, as well, so it all comes in mini sizes.
Skip the cheese. You’ll save about 90 calories. And while you’re at it, ask them to hold the crispy onions, bacon, mayonnaise or any other “special sauces.” To add extra flavor without the fat, keep the pickles and onions, and squeeze on a little mustard or ketchup.
Go for grilled, not fried. Crispy chicken sandwiches, fried chicken strips and breaded fish fillets are high in fat and calories. Baked, broiled and grilled versions are better.
Swap out fries. Replace them with a side garden salad, low-fat yogurt or fresh fruit. Or, if you can’t resist the fries after getting a whiff, get the small (which weighs in at about 220 calories), and share it. (A large fry contains more than twice as many calories).
Cut salad extras. Cheese, bacon bits and croutons quickly add calories; instead top your bed of greens with grilled chicken, shrimp or vegetables and ask for fat-free or low-fat dressing rather than regular.
Wash it down with water. Or low-fat milk, unsweetened iced teas or cup of coffee if you prefer; just no soda or shakes. A little perspective: a large vanilla shake has about 675 calories—that’s more than if you ate a double cheeseburger and fries.
*Calorie information taken from the USDA National Nutrient Database on 4/6/2016.