What happens then when we try to make a meal at home? We most likely don't have chemicals, preservatives, or even flavor enhancers therefore our home cooked meals may seem less appealing to our senses and brain. Our brain is a powerful thing which can become programmed with habitual activity, like fast food intake, to think we need high levels of additives to be satisfied with our meals.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to NEVER eat fast food because let's face it-none of these facts are anything new. Consumers have been aware and yet overall fast food industry sales continue to climb. Factors such as convenience, cost, and taste contribute to the continuing growth.
As you stand in front of the light-up sign or stare from your car window, how will you decide what to order? Based on cost? Size? There are some traps to pay attention to when ordering which may help keep your health in check:
- UPSIZING!!! The larger the size of the meal-typically=more calories! Multiple patties/pieces of meat are typically not needed (standard serving size of meat is the size of an iPod touch!)
- TOPPINGS! Special sauces (esp. mayo-type sauces), extra toppings, sour cream, multiple slices of cheese, salads loaded with bacon and salad dressing, etc.
- DEEP FRYING! Deep frying food means it is fried in fat and most often an oil high in saturated fat which is dangerous for our heart and veins. Try a baked or grilled option instead.
- SIDES! French fries, onion rings, cheesy bread, desserts mean extra calories and often prepared by frying or smothering with cheese. If wanting a side-try a side salad, or whole vegetable/fruit option
- DRINKS! Extra sugar in drinks means extra calories with no extra vitamins/minerals (fake fruit drinks, soda). Diet soda doesn't provide calories, but could replace a natural drink such as natural fruit-flavored water, milk, natural teas.