Make Fast Food Friendly

There's no need to avoid those fast food joints that dot the roadside-so long as you know your way around the menu. Here's a quick road map:

• Burger chains: Sandwiches are usually a good bet. Yes, even the bacon cheeseburger! Just toss the bun. Mayo and mustard are permissible but beware of ketchup, which often contains a lot of sugar. Watch out too for special sauces, as they also often contain sugar. Slices of tomato and lettuce garnish are fine. Steer clear of anything advertised as "low fat" because this label often translates to "high carb."

• Sandwich shops: Chicken or tuna salad is a good choice. In sub shops, bring on the turkey, roast beef and cheese; try to steer clear of salami, bologna and other meat products preserved with nitrates. Ask for your selection on a plate instead of on a roll, and you're all set.

• Salad bars: Select acceptable vegetables as a base, top with protein foods such as hard-boiled eggs, turkey or chicken and the like. Avoid cole slaw, which may contain sugar. Pass up that pasta salad. Use oil and regular red or white wine vinegar instead of a prepared dressing. Commercial dressings and balsamic vinegars often contain sugar. Baked stuffed potatoes are an absolute no-no.

• Fried chicken joints: Avoid anything barbecued or breaded. Barbecue sauce is typically full of sugar, and even if you remove the skin from the chicken, the sugar has probably seeped into the meat. Dry-rubbed meats are fine, or look for roasted chicken and acceptable side dishes such as salad. If there's a grilled-chicken fillet sandwich available, grab it! Discard the bun, and you've got a pretty good selection. Or scrape the breading off a fried chicken breast.

• Avoid at all costs! Mexican-style fast-food restaurants, doughnut shops, and yogurVice cream parlors. If you wind up in a pizza parlor, order a salad. Or if absolutely necessary, order a pizza and eat only the cheese and fixings and leave the crust. It's messy, but you'll avoid the nutrient-deficient high-carb crust.

Finally, remember who's boss. You are absolutely in control of what goes in your mouth at all times-even when you're not in your own home. When dining out, ask how things are prepared and give instructions. After all, you're paying for it. Even in a fast food restaurant, you're entitled to "have it your way." After all, why should some stranger get to influence the success of your program-and your health?

My Life My Diet

My Life My Diet

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