Talking Takeout: 5 Tips for Healthier Fast Food

I mostly opt to cook at home, but I do enjoy going out to eat on occasion. After all, eating out or opting for takeout not only helps support local businesses in your community, but also adds some nice variety to your diet. 

You can get a break from cooking at home while maintaining a balanced diet if you use MyPlate as your guide and try these healthier fast food tips.

  • Pick Pizza: With whole wheat or thin crust options, pizza can be part of a healthier diet. Pile it high with grilled chicken, bell peppers and other vegetables and lean proteins. Instead of breadsticks, order a family salad with dressing on the side. 
  • Burger Joint: Start with a salad and dressing on the side. The fresh vegetables are packed with fiber to help you feel full, and many of the salads can be split. Order a small burger with the vegetable garnish. Here in New Mexico, we add fresh chopped green chili peppers to add both heat and nutrition. Many restaurants also offer fresh fruit and low-fat chocolate milk.
  • Picnic with a Sandwich: Many sandwich options meet MyPlate recommendations. Opt for whole grain breads. Choose lean proteins such as grilled chicken, turkey and tuna. Don’t be shy with the veggies, and don’t forget the cheese! Choose fresh fruit instead of chips. Add water or unsweetened tea – or enjoy cold chocolate milk to drink. Spread out that blanket in your backyard or even in your living room for a change of scenery.
  • Spice it up with Mexican or Tex Mex: Choose corn tortillas for tacos or opt for a burrito bowl served with brown rice, instead of burrito fixings wrapped in a flour tortilla. Also, enjoy fresh salsa and grilled veggies – complemented by savory, lean meats and cheeses. Wash it all down with milk to soothe the spice!

The ease of takeout combined with supporting your local community is a win. You can make takeout night even more enjoyable by adding physical activities, games, crafts or movies. 

By Sarah Haynes

Sarah joined the Dairy MAX team in 2019. She has a background in directing nutrition programs and teaching fitness and she is passionate about evidence-based health education. When she's not working, Sarah enjoys BODYPUMP classes. 

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