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10 Ways To Avoid the Fast Food Trap! 

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Are you struggling to maintain your healthy eating habits? You’re not alone. Every year, millions of people succumb to the convenience and affordability of fast food.

Fast or junk food is often calorie-dense and high in sodium, which can cause weight gain and high blood pressure over time. Fast food can also be pricey, and finding healthy options is not always easy.

Finally, eating out at fast-food restaurants can sometimes lead to overeating. If you’re a parent of several pre-schoolers, the trap of getting a fast food meal is pretty tempting when taking a trip.

The food is relatively cheap, I don’t have to pack anything, and the kids aren’t going to argue about eating chicken nuggets, fries, or the occasional cheeseburger. That’s incredibly tempting when the trip is longer than an afternoon.

Stop, grab dinner, stop 10 minutes later for the unscheduled potty stop you know will happen, and then you’re on your way! I started looking at the average calorie and sodium intake that a fast food meal has one day and figured there had to be healthier options that wouldn’t cost me much in time.

The Convenience of Fast Food

Burger Surrounded with Fries

One of the main reasons people turn to fast food is its convenience. Getting a quick meal is easy without spending much time in the kitchen.

The popularity and love of fast food are fueled by its convenience. These restaurants are also open late and offer drive-thru service, making it even easier to get your food.

The Affordability of Fast Food

One of the reasons people are so drawn to fast and junk food is that it’s affordable. It’s cheap and easy to get a quick meal, so it’s become a staple in our society. However, there are ways to avoid the fast-food trap without breaking the bank.

The Taste of Fast Food

Fast food tastes so good because it uses a wide range of flavorings, pretty much anything that enhances the taste. They’ve experimented and created mixed flavors to combine meals that go together—most people would never think to put ketchup and tacos together, but fast food restaurants have found ways to do just this!

Aside from the convenience that makes people love fast food, fast food also knows what type of food people want and when. It offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. And when you can’t decide what you want, it offers combos!

The taste of fast food is usually salty, greasy, and unhealthy. It’s no wonder that so many people are addicted to it! Such flavors can also cause food addiction.

The Nutrition of Fast Food

The nutrition of fast food is often a topic of concern and for a good reason. Most fast food items are high in calories, fat, and sodium, providing few nutrients. Fast food meals are often served in large portions, leading to overeating.

Fast food contains unhealthy ingredients, such as unhealthy fats, sodium, and sugar. This can lead to health conditions and risks of health problems like obesity and heart disease.

Fast food leaves no time for the body to produce ghrelin, a hormone that regulates hunger. It can leave people feeling hungry less than a half-hour after eating, affecting the cardiovascular and digestive systems. Eating slower (reflections in Tibetans) helps suppress ghrelin, which is why so many cultures break their fast with soup.

Reasons to Stop Eating Fast Food

One Piece of Burger

Here are the reasons why you should stop eating fast food.

Financial Reasons

  • It’s usually more expensive than cooking at home.
  • When you stop eating fast food, you’ll save more money.
  • It is cheaper to cook healthy foods and healthy meals.

Environmental Reasons

  • It’s not good for the environment because everything used to make their food has to be packaged and transported hundreds of miles away in gas-guzzling trucks—it’s hard on the environment!
  • Fast food also uses many environmentally unsustainable products, like disposable packaging and plastic bottles.

Health Reasons

  • Fast food is high in unhealthy fats and sodium.
  • It can be very high in calories.
  • It often contains unhealthy additives and preservatives that are not good for the cardiovascular and digestive systems.
  • The food is not fresh and may not be of the highest quality.
  • You can make cooking and healthy eating fun, while a fast food restaurant is boring.
  • Eating at home lets you know exactly what’s in your food—no hidden ingredients or unhealthy additives exist.
  • Cooking at home is fantastic exercise – something fast food restaurants don’t offer!
  • Fast or junk food is unhealthy. It’s packed with sodium, unhealthy saturated fats, trans fats, and calories. Eating too much fast food can lead to weight gain, heart disease, and other health problems.
  • Fast food is not nutritious. It doesn’t provide the vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy.
  • Junk food is often high in sugar. This can contribute to diabetes and other health problems.
  • They often have processed food. This means it’s not as fresh as home-cooked food and can contain unhealthy additives.

Common Fast Foods

Here is a list of the most common fast foods.

Burgers

Man Holding a Burger

There are several reasons why burgers are common in fast food and the food trap. They’re relatively cheap to make and easy to customize and personalize.

They’re also convenient and portable, making them an excellent choice for on-the-go diners. However, all of that convenience can come at a cost: the health risks associated with eating burgers from fast food restaurants regularly.

Pizza 

Slice of Pizza

Pizza is a typical fast food because it is affordable and convenient. It is also a versatile dish that can fit many different dietary needs. However, pizza can also be high in calories and fat.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken Bites

There are several reasons why Fried Chicken is such a popular fast food. For one, it’s affordable and easy to get. It’s also a relatively unhealthy option, making it irresistible for some people. Fried Chicken is also very tasty and satisfying, which is why so many people crave these meals.

Tacos

Plateful of Tacos

One of the most popular items on fast food menus is tacos. Tacos are convenient and customizable, making them a favorite for many people. They can also be made relatively cheaply, so they’re so popular.

Fries

Eating French Fries

Fries or french fries are typical fast food because they are affordable, convenient, and tasty. They are also relatively unhealthy, which makes them irresistible for some people. Fries are also very satisfying, so so many people crave junk food.

Proven Ways To Avoid the Fast Food Trap

When you can make a fast, cheap dinner at home with ingredients already in your kitchen, it’s hard to justify spending money on something unhealthy and processed from a fast-food restaurant.

You’ll save money and calories by cooking simple meals at home. Here are five easy tips to help you avoid the fast food trap:

1. Plan ahead

Writing on a Journal

Eating fast food is not an excuse because making healthy home-cooked meals is easy. With some planning, you can save money, have much healthier eating options, and avoid serving as an advertisement for the industry that spends millions of dollars lobbying against regulations limiting the harmful ingredients it uses in its fare.

If you know you’ll be short on time, plan and cook a simple meal that can be reheated easily. Soup, pasta with a quick sauce, or grilled chicken or fish are all excellent options.

2. Keep healthy snacks on hand

Different Kinds of Berries

If you want to live healthier, keep healthy snacks with you. When you get hungry between meals, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy junk food. Instead, keep healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, or yogurt on hand so you won’t be tempted to buy fast food.

3. Make your own fast food

Woman Cooking

One of the things that I’ve made a habit of doing on occasion is asking if the back of the house might need a little help in the kitchen, a great way to help yourself stop eating fast food and craving junk food.

Many recipes exist for quick and healthy homemade fast-food items like burritos, tacos, pizza, and sandwiches. Unlike regular fast food, you can make your fast food healthy food combined with good ingredients for your health.

See Related: Weird Food Combinations

4. Avoid the drive-thru

Drive Thru Order Sign

If you’re not in the mood to cook, choose a restaurant that offers healthier options than fast food. For example, a salad or sandwich from a local deli is usually better than a burger from a fast food restaurant.

5. Be mindful of portion sizes

Woman Biting on a Taco

Fast food tends to be high in calories, fat, and sodium. So, even if you only eat it occasionally, be mindful of how much you eat so you don’t overdo it.

See Related: Delicious New York Restaurants Locals Love

6. Focus on healthy foods

Salad

Eating healthfully doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Adding healthy foods to your diet naturally avoids fast food and other unhealthy options.

The best way to eat well is to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. When you’re in a hurry, try quick, easy, healthy, and delicious recipes.

7. Be selective

Old Lady Checking the Strawberries

Not all fast food is bad for you. Some healthier options are available, but it’s important to be selective. Choose wisely and avoid high-fat items like fries and burgers.

8. Use a slow cooker

Slow Cooker Appliance

If you’re in a hurry, use a slow cooker to make a healthy meal without spending time in the kitchen. There are lots of recipes for healthy slow cooker meals available online.

See Related: Bizarre Foods To Try Before You Die

9. Avoid eating out altogether

Group Eating on a Restaurant

Eating out is one of the most significant contributors to unhealthy eating. It is expensive, but restaurant food is often high in calories, fat, and sodium. It’s usually a lot healthier to cook at home.

10. Take your time

Plateful of Salad

Eating slowly can help you feel fuller and longer and avoid overeating. When you eat quickly, you’re more likely to eat too much. So take your time and enjoy your food. Avoiding the fast food trap might mean giving up a little extra time on a trip for food, but the rewards are great if you’re willing to try.

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