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5 Fast Food Options for Young Athletes

5 Fast Food Options for Young Athletes

We all like the convenience of fast food. It is tempting to just go thru a fast-food drive-thru or quickly dine-in and order based on the good looking food menu presented to us. Unfortunately, a lot of these food items are not just loaded with calories, but are high in saturated fat and sodium.  And to take it even further, they contain artificial ingredients, highly processed food, preservatives and tons of sugar.  Young athletes must choose wisely when presented with these choices.  A young athlete must fuel their body with good carbohydrates, protein and good fat. Young athletes must choose wisely when ordering from a fast food restaurant.  They need to make sure the food they are eating won’t interfere with their athletic performance.  When ordering, young athletes should:

  • Choose water over juices, milk and soda
  • Choose fresh  and natural squeezed juices no sugar added
  • Choose grilled or boiled vs fried
  • Choose green vegetables and fresh fruit
  • Choose low fat or fat free
  • Avoid super-sizing, this will cut down on fat, salt and sugar
  • Avoid ordering appetizers, bread and butter
  • Avoid deli cheese or limit consumption
  • Avoid deli cured meats
  • Avoid all sodas, even diet sodas!
  • Limit all desserts, they are usually loaded with lots of sugar and artificial flavors
  • Ask for dressings, sauces to be served on the side
  • Ask for meals to be “light on the sauce” or for it to be prepare with very little butter or olive oil
  • Ask for side substitutions, instead of fries, choose a vegetable
  • Look for the “American Heart Association” logo on the menu
  • Look for whole grain logo
  • There are restaurants that have menus that are gluten-free and/or dairy-free, ask waiter for these alternatives

Below are 5 fast-food restaurants with their Good and Bad choice of menu items

McDONALD’S

Stay away from: Big Mac, BBQ Bacon Burguer, Shakes, Chicken sandwiches, Filet-O-Fish, Hotcakes These are high in saturated fat, sugar and calories.  Inflammation from the high sodium in just one of these items is likely.

Good picks: Salads, grilled nuggets, Egg McMuffin, McWrap Southwest Grilled Skip the cheese and sprinkle a little of dressing to keep it healthy, low in calories and fat.

CHICK-FIL-A

Stay away from: Chick-fil-A® Chicken Sandwich, Chicken, Egg & Cheese, Treats As healthy as it sounds, the avocado lime dressing contains 32g of fat! The ice dream contain artificial flavors and a whopping 38g of sugar!

Good picks: Salads, Nuggets, Grilled sandwiches, and wraps (skip the dressing) Grilled sandwiches are under 500 calories and have a good source of protein.  The Cool Wraps are low in fat and calories when you skip the dressing.

PIZZA (ALL)

Stay away from: Deep Dish Pizza, Buffalo Wings, Hand-Tossed Pizza, Cheesy Breads Pepperoni pizzas are heavy on sodium and fat.  This is one of the worst things you can put on a pizza.  Bread sticks with dipping sauce are high in saturated fat and sodium!

Good picks: Crunchy Thin Pizzas, Salads with dressing on the side,  Good source of carbs but stay with thin crust cheese pizzas, and top them with vegetables.  If you must, choose breadsticks with pizza dipping sauce.

PANERA BREAD

Stay away from: Creamy soups, Mac & Cheese, Sugary Bagels such as the Cinnamon Crunch Bagel Although we love Panera Bread’s clean ingredients, we not liking the higher content of saturated fat and sodium some of the menu items contain, specially if loaded with cheese and cold cuts such as salami and ham. A large portion of Mac & Cheese contains about 1,000 calories, and more sodium than the daily recommended value.

Good picks: Crunchy Thin Pizzas, Salads with dressing on the side,  Good source of carbs but stay with thin crust cheese pizzas, and top them with vegetables.  If you must, choose breadsticks with pizza dipping sauce.

JIMMY JOHN’S

Stay away from: Gourmet Veggie Club (995 calories, 63.5g fat), Club Tuna (1010 calories, 58g fat!), anything that has “Club”. These healthy and tasteful looking subs can sure fool some of us.  You can cut about 25 grams of fat from most of Jimmy John’s subs by just omitting the mayo. Instead, replace with mustard or avocado spread.

Good picks: Plain Slims, Turkey Tom Build your own sub by starting with a plain slims and customize with vegetables, mustard, avocado spread.

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