Fast Food, the smart way -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fast Food, the smart way

December 10, 2003
by Rhonda Hughes

French fries, cheeseburgers, fried chicken and tacos. It's lunchtime and you're grabbing another meal on the go. But with the country's growing obesity problem, it's more important than ever for us to be able to eat smart on the go.

Fast food.  You grab that bag from the drive-through. It’s quick, it's easy. You only have a certain amount of time for lunch during work. But do you toss out any hope of eating nutritiously?

Fast food restaurants are paying big advertising bucks to send a different message. With the talk about low carbs and calorie counting we put fast food menus to the test.

Registered Dietitian Jo Ann Carson said, "Almost all fast food restaurants have some healthy selections that you can make."

Carson came up with her ideal meals at four fast food restaurants. At Wendy’s, she orders a plain baked potato and tops it with a small chili, minus the cheese.  "Their chili is very low fat and it has quite a few beans in it. So that keeps it lower in fat and a great source of fiber." This meal totals 470-calories and 5-grams of fat.

At Taco Bell, Carson goes for the Zesty Chicken Border Bowl, hold the dressing. But with meat, rice, beans, lettuce and tomatoes, Carson says it's worth the 500-calories and 19-fat grams.

Even Kentucky Fried Chicken is marketing to dieters now. Carson says her ideal meal there includes an old standby, a KFC original fried chicken breast and corn on the cob. But you can't eat the fried skin.

Without it, you'll save fat, bringing your meal to 6-fat grams and 290-calories. Finally, the Golden Arches. McDonald's owner Chuck O'Reilly,   "We have the variety and the variation of sizes to fit anybody's lifestyle. Whether you're into a low carb lifestyle or trying to trim fat."

At McDonalds, Carson recommends a McGill chicken sandwich, no dressing, and a side salad with low-fat vinaigrette dressing. That's 465-calories and 20-grams of fat.

More fat and calories than a small McDonalds hamburger- but Carson says -more bang for your buck nutritionally. "You're getting a bigger portion of lean meat. So you're actually getting a little bit less saturated fat and you're getting more to eat."

So even on the run, an ideal meal isn't out of the question.


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