Fast-Food…..What The Doctor Orders

Order what the doctor orders at your favorite fast food place - Loyola physician and nutrition specialist helps you navigate the menu to order smart.

Newswise — Counting calories doesn’t have to end when facing a fast-food menu. Between shopping excursions to the mall, juggling school activities or taking long car trips, swinging into a convenient burger or taco joint doesn’t have to mean you are entering a nutritional wasteland. “The average american consumes close to 50% of his or her meals outside of the home and fast- food restaurants are abundant,” said Dr. Jessica Bartfield, internal medicine who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System. “By following a few rules, you can keep any fast food meal in calorie check.”

Dr. Bartfield likes sandwich shops that allow customers to load up on vegetable toppings, which adds nutritional value, and also pass on higher-calorie ingredients like cheese and dressings. “I am also a fan of fast-food places that offer soup or even chili as soup can be a terrific option, particularly ones loaded with veggies, lean meats and beans,” she said. “Be careful to avoid the cream- or cheese-based soups and beware the bread bowl, which can increase the calories by up to 1,000.”

Dr. Bartfield’s Fast-Food Favorite Five:

1 – “Select grilled rather than fried. A fast-food grilled chicken sandwich has 470 calories and 18 grams of fat while the fried version has 750 calories and 45 grams of fat.”

2 – “Hold off on cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressings unless low-fat options are available. Cheese can add an additional 100 calories or more per serving, as does mayonnaise and, often, you won’t miss the taste when ordering the plainer versions.”

3 – “Order the smallest size available. Go for the single burger rather than the double and for the small fry rather than bonus-size.”

4 – “Skip sugar-sweetened drinks, which are usually absent in nutritional value and don’t make you feel more satisfied. These calories quickly add up leading to excessive calorie consumption, especially at restaurants offering free refills on drinks.”

“5 – Save half of your order for your next meal. You save calories, save time and also save money.”

Released: 12/14/2011

Source: Loyola University Health System

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