Trade fast food for slow food, made at home.
Sure, you’ll find a few salads at fast food joints. But most people stop at fast-food restaurants for the fries, burgers, chicken nuggets, and the like—aka, immediate gratification in the form of salt and fat. If you find yourself stopping at the drive-thru window on a regular basis, it’s time to drop the habit like a hot hash brown! A recent analysis of fast-food menus found that calories and sodium levels in fast food entrees, sides, and desserts have increased in the past 30 years, in large part because of bigger portions. A typical entrée, side, and drink at a fast food place totals about half a person’s daily calories (based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet). If you’re hooked on fast food, look at your patterns and try to change them. If you opt for fast food in the mornings because you’re always rushed, come up with a few nourishing breakfasts that you can make ahead of time, and grab and go, such as homemade yogurt parfaits (skip the sugary granola and instead use nuts, fruit, and oats) or egg cups with vegetables. You can also make a batch of steel cut oats on Sunday and simply heat a portion each morning. Batch cooking ahead of time works well for dinners, too, and don’t forget that leftovers can often be transformed into new dishes. When you do go out to eat, keep in mind that portions at most restaurants are outsized, and that excess salt and oils are used in even “nice” restaurants. Whatever and wherever you’re eating, downshift from “fast” mode. Eating slowly can help you pay attention to your body’s signals, which can help you gauge what’s enough and what’s too much.