Smart Fast Food Choices

Last year, when McDonalds first introduced their apples and caramel, I remember thinking how great it was that fast food was trying to have a healthier image.

Since then, we have seen the advent of exciting new salads and veggie burgers and the elimination of supersizing. Fast food still has its critics, but it's clear that that this industry, like many others, is trying to reinvent itself. The introduction of healthy food options is part of that effort. As fast food restaurants expand their menus to include healthier low-fat, low-calorie selections, here are some guidelines to help you make better food choices:

  • Order plain hamburgers without the extra fat and calories from cheese.
  • Choose broiled chicken or fish sandwiches, which are lower in fat and calories than fried.
  • Try the chili -- it's a great alternative to a hamburger because it's lower in fat and the beans are a great source of fiber.
  • Keep in mind that English muffins and bagels have less fat and fewer calories than biscuits and croissants.
  • Choose low-fat milk, diet soda, or water as lower calorie options than regular sodas and milkshakes.
  • At the pizza parlor, remember that thin-crust pizzas with vegetable toppings are lower in fat and calories than deep-dish pizzas with meat toppings such as sausage and pepperoni.
  • Add extra lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa instead of high-fat sour cream and guacamole.
  • For something sweet, select yogurt parfaits instead of ice cream or milkshake.