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Published:September 20th, 2007 02:52 EST

Dashboard Dining: The Healthy Way

By Amy Spagnola

Cheeseburgers, tacos and even pizza are all familiar fast food fare, but many chains offer little to help encourage good nutritional choices. The familiar fast food restaurants often offer high calorie and high fat, not to mention high sodium and sugar items as a way to lure customers to buy more. However, there are good choices available even in a sea of unsavory options at the All-American favorites. As to not bore with another article about nutrition and diet, this article will be more of a hypothetical road-trip, so as a consumer, you can “drive” to the best places for your health. And every pit stop offers an indulgent selection for a treat, to eat with moderation in mind.

Road Trip Begins

Time: Early Morning

Mood/Physical State: Stomach growling, feeling weak, tired and cranky.
Cuisine Available: Fast Food Feast or Perish.
Suggestion: McDonald’s Fruit and Yogurt Parfait.
Full of protein, fiber, calcium-- not to mention all the antioxidants in the fruit-filled cup of creamy vanilla yogurt, this is more like breakfast than dessert.
Add-On’s: Small milk or juice, plain biscuit with jam or apple dippers.
Alternative Indulgence: McDonalds’ Deluxe Breakfast (includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, hash browns).Time: Early Morning Mood/Physical State: Stomach growling, feeling weak, tired and cranky. Cuisine Available: Fast Food Feast or Perish. Suggestion: McDonald’s Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. Full of protein, fiber, calcium-- not to mention all the antioxidants in the fruit-filled cup of creamy vanilla yogurt, this is more like breakfast than dessert. Add-On’s: Small milk or juice, plain biscuit with jam or apple dippers. Alternative Indulgence: McDonalds’ Deluxe Breakfast (includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, hash browns).

Time: Late Afternoon

Mood/Physical State: A bit sleepy, not overly hungry.
Cuisine Available: Fast Food Only!
Suggestion: Burger King’s Strawberry Flavored Applesauce with Chocolate Milk.
Not just for kids, this item is low in fat and calories and provides a little fiber and Vitamin C. A simple and healthy snack.
Add-On: Milk, Juice or split a Small Fries with a Friend.
Alternative Indulgence: Burger King Slushee or Slice of Apple Pie

Time: Lunch!

Mood: More upbeat and energetic, a bit hungry.
Cuisine: Five Star Fast Food.
Suggestion: Subway’s six-inch turkey breast, ham, roast beef or veggie sub.
These filling lunchtime sandwiches are low in fat and offer lots of choices for customizing. Just remember to go easy on the condiments and get extra veggies.
Add-On’s: Small berry or peach fruizle (smoothie) or small vegetable-based soup.
Alternative Indulgence: Meatball Marinara Sub and Sugar Cookie.

Time: End of Day Dinner.

Cuisine: Fast Food Extravaganza.
Suggestion: Wendy’s Frescata Sandwich or Garden Sensation Salad.
Both options are full of protein, vegetables and neither is full of fat. Consider holding the mayo and you’ll lighten the frescata even more.
Add-On’s: Small Frosty or Baked Potato.
Alternative Indulgence: Wendy’s Combo-- includes burger, fries and a soda.

Road Trip Ends

If you’re on a road trip, consider bringing some healthful snacks just in case you don’t want the car to serve as a fast food diner (granola bars, trail mix or portable fruit). If you’re not on the road, check out fast food websites; many list nutritional information for all their menu items. And remember to try to eat healthy, but splurge every now and then to keep cravings in check, and you’ll have no problem staying fit, healthy and happy. Vroom!

 

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