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A stellar performance in a hard fought away game leaves you starving, and it's natural to want to fuel up before the ride home. Or you're away at a weekend tournament or recruiting visit, and it's mealtime in a strange city. The bus pulls in to a well-known fast food joint. You think there's no chance of eating healthy, so you might as well get a triple greasy number three combo. You'll eat better tomorrow, right?
When eating out in fast food places, it is possible to make good choices for your health and your heart. You can find healthy, tasty options even on the unhealthiest of menus. It's simple. Just cultivate a mindset of balancing your meals and choosing items with low saturated fat and sodium content. (One of the biggest challenges when eating in fast food establishments is limiting sodium intake. I try to stay between 700 and 900mg.)
You dominated the game; now dominate your diet with healthy meal ideas from several popular fast-food menus.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
- KFC Original Chicken Breast (grilled without skin or breading): 440 calories, 14g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 730mg sodium; or
- KFC Original Filet: 480 calories, 19.5g fat, 3g sat. fat, 820mg sodium
- Sweet Kernel Corn
- Cole Slaw
- 2 Fresco Chicken Soft Tacos: 300 calories, 7g fat, 2g sat. fat, heavier on sodium at 920mg
- Note: If you choose this option eat less sodium at your next meal and drink water to help flush the extra sodium out of your body. It's common to see the sodium levels go up as fat content goes down. In general, fast foods exceed recommended levels of sodium for heart-healthy meals.
- Chicken Chalupa Supreme and side of black beans: 420 calories, 19.5g fat, 4g sat. fat, 730mg sodium
- Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken, without dressing: 290 calories, 8g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 650mg sodium
- Note: Half a packet of Newman's Own Creamy Southwest Dressing adds 50 calories, 3g fat, 0.50g sat. fat and 170mg sodium. That is plenty of dressing for this salad;and by only using half, you keep added fat and sodium in check.
- Small Chili poured over a Plain Baked Potato: 480 calories, 6g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 905mg sodium
- Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (half size) with pomegranate vinaigrette: 340 calories, 18g fat, 4.5g sat. fat, 800mg sodium
- 6-inch Oven Roasted Chicken on whole grain bread with extra veggies: 320 calories, 5g fat, 1.5g sat. fat, 640mg sodium
- Veggie Delite with the Egg White Patty and slice of Provolone Cheese: 350 calories, 8.5g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 865mg sodium
- Whopper Jr.® without mayo: 260 calories, 9g fat, 4g sat. fat, 450mg sodium
- With cheese but without mayo: 300 calories, 13g fat, 6g sat. fat, 640mg sodium
- Note: add your own mayo! By adding a teaspoon, you can get the flavor without adding a lot of extra fat and calories
For more options see: The Healthiest Food To Eat At Burger King.
Jack in the Box
- Chicken Fajita Pita with whole grain: 320 calories, 11g fat, 5g sat. fat, 870mg sodium.
- With Salsa adds 10 calories and 120 mg sodium. Opt for sliced tomato instead.
(See also Tips on Healthy Eating for Away Games.)