10 Ways To Break Your Fast Food Habit
Fast food restaurants have begun adding healthier choices to their menu, but research has shown that the majority of items on offer have become increasingly fattening over the past three decades. That that means more calories and sodium in every order. In the 30 years between 1986 and 2016, entrees gained 100 calories on average, whole desserts gained 200. On top of that, side dishes are saltier than ever, based on research done at Tufts University and Boston University.
The problem here is that roughly one in three Americans eat fast food on any given day. Health experts are of the belief that burgers and fries are a major contributor to obesity and other health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. If you have a fast food craving as you read this, we have some suggestions that may help your break the habit.
Cutting Back On Fast Food
Going cold turkey from fast food is not an easy task, but it is possible to gradually make positive changes. If you dine on fast food several times per week, try cutting back a day or two while trying to choose healthier options. By combining several of the suggestions below, you should find that changing your eating habits over time is not as daunting as you might have thought.
A Few Things To Consider
- Customize your order – Check the menu in fast food restaurants or on their app to find the healthiest items. Look for grilled items or those that have beans or whole grains. Most places will also let you customize your order to leave off things like condiments and bacon.
- Smaller portions – Always choose the smallest size. Depending on the restaurant, that might mean going with a kid’s meal.
- Watch what you drink – Water or unsweetened iced tea are much better options than juice or soda, which are packed with sugar. Milk is also a good option.
Here Are A Few Steps To Take
- Plan ahead – When there is nothing in the fridge, it becomes all too easy to dash out and some fast food. Get in the habit of planning your meals a week in advance and pack healthy snacks for work.
- Stay full – If you feel full, those greasy French fries suddenly don’t sound so good. Plan on 3 balanced meals a day, with healthy snacks on hand for when cravings hit.
- Treat yourself – If you want to tickle your tastebuds, do so with fancy cheeses or exotic fruits. Make roasted veggies or pita chips for a snack. You might just find that they are tastier than some soggy onion rings.
- Find new recipes – Again, fast food is quick and convenient, but a quick search online will lead you to recipes that you can put together in 15 minutes or less, even when you're on a budget. A quick stir fry is always a great dinner option.
- Be aware of marketing – Have you ever seen a fast food ad on TV and suddenly had a craving for a burger and fries? You're probably not even that hungry, so grab a drink of water, which will make you feel full and reduce those cravings.
- Know your triggers – There will almost certainly be other things that trigger junk food cravings. Rather than leaving work and heading to a burger joint, hit the gym instead. If you're feeling stress, talk out your feelings with a friend instead of eating them.
- Get support – When considering a big lifestyle change, it’s always easier when you have the support of friends and family. Let them know that you want to be healthier and they might even join you on the journey.
Don't Become Discouraged
If you're looking to lose weight and get healthier, cutting back on your fast food intake is a great place to start. Get in the habit of adding healthier items to your shopping cart and begin to plan ahead for all meals and snacks. All of these things will make it easier for you to resist popping into your favorite taco spot or burger joint. It may take a little time, but you can eventually break the junk food habit. Happy eating!
RX Fitness Is Here To Help
If you're considering a change in your eating habits and would like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness works with hundreds of nutritionists, personal trainers and coaches. We'd be happy to connect you with someone who can help. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit your needs and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.