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Food & Nutrition
How to Eat Fast Food While on a Diet
Mackenzie K. • January 10, 2017

No matter what diet or fitness regimen you’re on, fast food is most likely at the top of the “no-no” list. While there are more reasons to avoid fast food than there are to indulge, restricting yourself from foods can often lead to binges or other unhealthy habits. So if you just simply can’t stay away from the drive thru, keep these tips in mind to stay on track toward your health goals.

Order Your Favorite Foods the Healthier Way

While some people can head to their favorite fast food joint and easily choose a salad instead of a burger and fries, it’s not always that simple. So instead of restricting yourself and feeling guilty or unsatisfied—which can lead to overeating later—try to order better versions of your favorite meal. For example, if a double bacon cheeseburger sounds like just the thing to hit the spot, order it with a few alternatives. If you can, skip the bacon. Also try to avoid any heavier cream-based dipping sauces. Eliminating just a few fattier condiments or extras can save you a handful of calories without sacrificing taste.

Take Your Time

Instead of scarfing down your meal, take time to eat. According to an article from Harvard Health Publications, eating slowly may help you register feelings of fullness more quickly. Chances are the longer you take to finish your meal, the less you will eat because you'll realize that you’re satisfied earlier than usual. There are several tricks to help yourself slow down while eating. If you ordered a burger or sandwich, cut it into four pieces and use a knife and fork. Though it can seem clumsy or silly at first, it’ll help you realize how savoring each bite can make the food more satisfying. It also helps to set your food or fork down between each bite. If you’re eating fries, make sure to eat them one by one instead of a handful at a time.

Be Mindful of Your Company

A consumer report suggests that eating in groups can potentially cause you to eat more, due to something called “social facilitation.” The more people in your company when fast food is present, the more likely you are to overeat. This can happen for several reasons. In larger groups, especially with close friends or family, the relaxed environment can cause mindless eating. Laughing and talking with company is a distraction while eating, making it harder to slow down and think about your choices. Other people also serve as a gauge for the way you eat. If your friend before you orders a combo meal and supersizes it, what are the chances that you’ll stick to your original plan of ordering just a small hamburger? Cravings are hard to resist when no one else around you is adhering to diet rules or portion control.

To avoid overeating when you’re with a group, be the first to order. Know what you’re going to order before you even walk in, and it’ll be easier to avoid temptation. Also make sure you're actually hungry when going out to eat. Often times we join our friends for food more for the social aspect than because we actually need to eat. If you’re not hungry, hang behind or just simply be aware. The more conscious you are of your hunger level and your atmosphere, the better choices you'll make overall.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Eating fast food and still moving toward your health and fitness goals is definitely possible. But no matter what regimen or diet you’re on, you’re bound to slip up at one point or another. If you overdo it at your favorite taco place, don’t beat yourself up. Punishing yourself for binging or missing a workout can lead to giving up all together. When something unplanned happens, reflect and figure out how you can avoid it or handle it better in the future. Learn from your mishaps, and always congratulate yourself on working toward health.

Finding time to fit in some healthy physical activity can also make a huge impact in your health journey. Even just 10 minutes a day can help put you on the path toward success!


Do you eat fast food when you're on a diet?