10 Tips for Help Make the Drive-Thru Healthier

For many of us, warmer weather can often mean busier schedules. And busy schedules sometimes make a trip to the drive-thru a necessity. When you are trying to stick to a healthy diet though, ordering at a fast food restaurant can be a frustrating and confusing process. Plus, a meal from a drive-thru frequently means consuming a meal that is higher in calories than most of us consume in a day.

However, there are some tips for choosing healthier options when you find yourself in one of those situations when you just have no choice but to grab a quick meal. Follow these tips to help you stay on track with your weight loss goals, even at the drive-thru window.

Choose Grilled Over Fried

Avoid anything fried or breaded, including nuggets, fried chicken and fried fish sandwiches. Many fast food spots offer grilled options for most of their meat sandwiches.

Choose A Salad

Most every fast food drive thru now offers salads; usually they will have one with grilled chicken breast. If you consider the dressing’s calories and go easy on the creamy varieties, skip the croutons and any other high fat additions like bacon, you can get a very healthy meal.

Stick With The Single

When you order your burger, don’t choose the quadruple, triple, or double patty burgers. The more meat your put on the higher the caloric content of that burger will be. Stick to a single patty burger.

Skip The Bun

A great way to save over 150 or more calories is to get your burger or chicken sandwich lettuce-wrapped. This concept made popular by low carb dieters is now widely offered in most fast food restaurants.

Don’t Order Fries

Some better options for side dishes are salads with light dressings, baked potatoes with light toppings, a fresh fruit cup, or apple slices.

Check Your Condiments

You can save a few calories by skipping the mayo, 1000-island dressing, tartar sauce and other fatty condiments by asking for mustard instead. Add fresh toppings, like lettuce, tomato, and pickles for extra flavor and crunch.

Avoid Super Sizing

Super size is a calorie death trap! Choose the smallest sizes when you are ordering your sandwiches, burgers, and sides. Often, children’s menus contain more reasonably sized portions.

Choose Your Drink Wisely

Avoid selecting drinks that are being advertised as coffee drinks but have just as many calories and fat in them as milkshakes. A bottle of water is the best choice for something to drink when you are going through a drive through.

The Name Isn’t Everything

You may think that a whole grain muffin is a good choice because it’s made with whole grains. This isn’t always the case. Often, muffins at coffee shops and fast food restaurants are simply glorified cakes that are high in calories and fat.

Plan Ahead When You Can

If you know you are going to have to hit the drive thru for your meal, knowing the healthier options ahead of time can make it easier than trying to make a decision at the last minute. Most, if not all, fast food chains list their menus and calorie counts online. Take a few minutes to look over that nutritional info before you order so that you can make informed, healthy choices.

Sometimes we have no choice but to go through the drive thru and get a quick meal. A fast meal is better than skipping a meal. However, going through the drive-thru doesn’t need to equate to consuming more calories in one meal than you usually would in a day.

Kate Miller
Kate Miller

Kate Miller, mom of 5, is on a mission to stay fit and healthy. As HealthyWage's Community Manager, she's fortunate to be surrounded by inspiring success stories day after day. In 2012, Kate lost 50 pounds and documented most of her journey right here on the HealthyWage blog. Since then, she's had to learn the subtle intricacies of staying on track by mastering the daily ebb and flow (and parties and holidays and periods of extreme laziness) of life.

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