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Choices: Fast food is no longer just about burgers and fries

There is much debate centered on how often we should indulge in fast food if we intend to keep ourselves healthy. Even nutrition and medical professionals disagree on this touchy subject. Some say eating fast food once a week is sufficient, others say no more than once a month, and still others believe ‘never’ is the best option. Who to believe? Perhaps a more reasonable perspective can shed some light on this argument: make your own choices that will benefit you.

We possess the power to make fast food choices that can benefit our health
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

It is no secret that we are a fast-paced, impatient, get-out-of-my-way society. Many people do not have the time to prepare and cook meals every night at home. Because of this, grab-it-and-take-it is the norm when we need a bite to eat. Fortunately, there is a fast food establishment in practically every street corner in America. A couple of dollars in your pocket will get you a decent meal just about anywhere.

Traditionally most fast food is high in calories, fat, and salt. However, the movement has begun to include healthier options in many fast food restaurants. Take advantage of options such as salads, wraps, grilled chicken sandwiches, and apple slices, to name a few. While fast food should not be a staple in our diets, it is possible to make more mindful choices that our bodies will love us for.

Following some simple tips can help ensure you get a relatively healthy meal at any fast food establishment:

* Bigger is not better. Aim for smaller serving sizes
* If you order large serving sizes (i.e. fries) consider sharing with a companion. It is less expensive this way
* Try to load up on any fruit and vegetable options from time to time. Salads made with variable ingredients are available in most places
* Choose healthier fluids (water, milk, black coffee) as opposed to soda, which is essentially liquid sugar

Read about some recent changes McDonald's and Taco Bell made to their menus to help accommodate health-minded consumers.

Fast food meals do not have to be considered a curse. It all comes down to making choices that will benefit you and your health. If you don’t see the results you want, then make small dietary modifications.

Remember, the power is in your hands. You make the fast food choices that will either make or break your health.

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