You maintain your truck with the proper fuel, regular maintenance, and new tires. All of these things are important to ensure that your truck is operating properly and safely while on the road. Your body deserves the same attention! You need the proper fuel and maintenance while you are on the road, too! Food is one of our most basic needs. One thing is for sure, the choices you make about when and what you eat matter. With many restaurants currently restricted, fast food is one of the only options available while traveling. Today Dr. John’s Big 5 focuses on how to eat fast food while on the road.

1. A diet high in sugar can increase your risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and obesity. While at a fast food restaurant, limit or avoid foods and drinks with added sugar. Not only do foods with added sugar increase your calorie intake, they also have very little nutritional value for your body. Remember food is fuel and you want to choose those that will keep your engine running smoothly. While at a fast food restaurant, start with small changes like eliminating soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks and milkshakes. Even bypassing ketchup is one small step to reducing the amount of sugar consumed. Instead of fries with your meal, try a side salad, order fresh fruit or a plain baked potato as a healthier option.

2. Focus on grilled, baked or roasted lean meats. Avoid fried and breaded items, such as crispy chicken sandwiches and breaded fish fillets. Choose turkey, chicken breast, lean ham, or lean roast beef instead. Grilled, skinless chicken is usually your best bet. While eating fast food, look for meals under 500 calories. Grilled chicken sandwiches on whole grain buns are good options, but skip the mayo and sauces. Salads with grilled or lean meats are also a tasty alternative. Remember, skip the creamy dressings which can also be hiding sugars!

3. Choose water as your primary beverage! Be aggressive to ensure you drink adequate amounts daily. Strive to drink a minimum of 2 liters a day. Water is vital for our bodies since the average adult is made up of over 70% water! Sticking with water at a fast food restaurant saves money and eliminates extra calories often found in sugary drinks. When you stop for a bathroom break, you want urine output to be light in color. Dark urine suggests dehydration and is denser (heavier) and causes urgency in the bladder. Staying hydrated with plenty of water ensures that you can travel longer without unnecessary stops.

4. Choose fast food chains that allow you to customize your order. It is easier to add extra veggies and eliminate condiments and fat when your food is prepared in front of you. Subway is one of the many fast food restaurants that offers both convenience and healthy options. Vegetables are higher in fiber and keep you full longer. This will decrease your need to snack in between meals or have spikes in your blood sugar levels. Remember to choose the 9- grain wheat bread which is lower in calories and sodium and higher in fiber! Despite being meat free, the Veggie Delight sandwich is full of nutrition and is a very delicious choice. Be sure to include healthy fats in your diet by adding avocado as a special treat!

5. Moderation is always key. One rule of thumb while eating fast food is to choose smaller meals. Avoid super-sized combo meals. It is better for our bodies to eat regular smaller meals rather than overeating one large meal high in fat and calories. Rather than eating three large fast food meals a day, opt to eat several healthy snacks like nuts, cheese and fruits and limit yourself to one fast food meal per day. In addition, an intermittent fast of 6 hours followed by one healthy fast food meal may also help maintain a diet and healthy weight.

If you have any questions or need advice, Dr. John’s Medical is here to help you with your healthcare needs. You can reach us at 865-438-0184.