Friday, September 5, 2014

Tips To Thrive In a Fast Food Nation

As I waited in the Kohl's check-out line, I heard a woman's telephone conversation as she stood behind me saying, "You wanted 2 double bacon cheeseburgers right?"

I turned around to see who was speaking and it happened to be a middle-aged woman dressed in a work uniform.  Since it was midday, I assumed she was on her lunch break and her next stop would be a fast food restaurant to pick up some burgers. 

Whether my assumption was accurate or not, this is a classic example of grabbing food on the go.  We wake in the morning. We get dressed.  We either eat breakfast at home or run to the nearest drive-thru for our morning grub.

There is a reason why fast food restaurants offer tasty and fairly inexpensive foods to us...We buy it!  I included the chart below so that you can see the statistics from January, 1, 2014 verifying that approximately 50 million Americans purchase fast food on a daily basis.

Because of our high demand for fast food, the industry supplies it to us and receives $110 billion as a result. 

Number of Fast Food Restaurants in America160,000
Number of Americans served daily50 Million
Annual Fast Food Revenue$110 Billion
Once per week44%
Three or more14%
Percent of Daily Nutrition from Eating a Fast Food Meal 
Percent of Daily Calories37%
Percent of Daily Carbs42.6%
Percent of Daily Fat33.6%
 Percent of Daily Protien15.4%
Statistic chart can be found at:

The other figure included in this chart that I would like to point out is the percentage of daily fat associated with eating one fast food meal. 

If you take a look at the right column, the percentage of daily fat associated with eating one fast food meal is 33.6%.  The recommended percentage of calories that should come from fat for the entire day is 30%

This chart illustrates that if you consume just one fast food meal, then you will already be in the red for your daily fat intake.  Wow!

Therefore, when choosing fast food, you will be getting food that is produced very quick, food that is tasty, and food that is full of the gooey, glycerin substance known as fat. 

The formula below confirms this fact:

[Fast Food - (s)] = Fat Food
100%  A+ Correct!
My concern is that Americans are consuming far too many fast food meals.  It is very difficult to consume healthy foods if you are eating at fast food restaurants on a regular basis.

Most fast food options do not provide the essential nutrients our bodies need.  Fast food tends to have minimal amounts of the good stuff:  fruits, vegetables, and fiber.  Alternately, fast food is loaded with fat, sodium, and calories.

Have you ever thought about how you felt after eating a couple of cheeseburgers, fries, and a soda? 
After I eat fast food I can tell you that I feel weighed down and lethargic. 

But, the cause of these symptoms relates to the fact that I am not feeding my body the fuel it needs. 

Fast food does not provide the fuel our bodies require to optimally function.  Would you put diesel fuel in your daily driver?  Probably not. 

Fast food for our body can be compared to putting diesel fuel into our cars.  If we were to put diesel fuel into a gasoline engine most likely it won't run.  If the engine does run, it will likely give poor performance. 

The same is true for our bodies.  If we continue to consume foods that do not provide the essential nutrients (fuel) that our bodies require, then our bodies will not function properly. 

You do not need to avoid fast food altogether.  Remember, moderation is the key.  Minimize your visits to the fast food chains and choose healthier meal options when you are there.

For the days you find yourself at the fast food chain, the following list may help you to choose healthier alternatives to the value menu burgers and fries:
  • Choose grilled chicken sandwiches vs. fried
  • Watch the condiments - ask for "No Mayo" and use mustard, BBQ sauce, or ketchup
  • Use low-fat or vinaigrette salad dressings vs. regular
  • Skip the bacon on burgers and add lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and mustard instead
  • Hold the fries - but, if you r-e-a-l-l-y want them, choose a small order
  • Get a kid's meal - the calories provided in kid's meals are actually very appropriate for adults. The calories provided in some value meals are enough to provide energy to feed a meal for an entire family!
Another suggestion that may be helpful is to visit all of your favorite fast food joints and ask for their Nutrition Facts Menu.  If you don't feel like asking face-to-face, the majority of fast food restaraunts now post the nutrition facts for most available menu options on their website.

The next step is to circle all menu options that will provide a meal of around 500 calories.  There are many fast food options over 500 calories and these foods are off limits if you are trying to be mindful of your daily food consumption. 

There are many benefits of making healthier food choices from your favorite fast food places. 

First, by making better food choices, you will gain confidence in the fact that you have the ability to control what goes into your mouth.  You may start to feel empowered because you are taking control of your health.

Second, by making better food choices you will be on your way to living a healthier lifestyle which has endless benefits mentally and physically.

Third, by making better food choices you may start to notice your numbers decrease on the scale as well as your loosely fitting clothes!

Finally, by putting together meal options to your favorite fast food places ahead of time you will not be making decisions based on emotion and visually enhanced photos.  Instead, you will be making decisions based on logical thought and reasoning. 

The smallest changes can lead to the largest results.  Making healthier food choices at fast food restaurants can be one of the small changes that lead to a healthy lifestyle. 

Drive Change, don't wait for change to drive you.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie



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