Whenever people hear about fast foods, especially those with type 2 diabetes, they initially think of avoiding them. This is because we have seen article after article and news story after news on how dieticians worldwide have warned against the dangers of consuming fast foods.
It is ironic then that research has shown that fast foods have gained even more popularity over the years as the number of diabetes cases has risen, leading scientists to consider a link between the two.
Although most fast foods contain high calories, fats, sugars, salt and processed carbohydrates and are low in valuable nutrients like fibers, vitamins and minerals, not all fast foods are junk foods. Now, this doesn’t mean that these foods should be consumed regularly, but they can be eaten in moderation without putting oneself at risk.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE EATING FAST FOODS
Going to a fast-food restaurant without a plan or prior preparation can lead to terrible food choices and a spike in your blood sugar. It is essential to know what you want to order and what frame of mind or hunger you want to be in before you head to your favorite restaurant. Here are a few tips to consider before heading out,
- Ensure you are not overly hungry before leaving home: Heading out on an empty stomach can lead you to overeat and make unhealthy orders leading you to consume a lot more calories than usual.
Additionally, what you might order could be full of calories in the first place. So, before heading out, make sure you indulge yourself in a quick healthy snack like an apple to avoid the danger of eating too much.
- Know what you want to order: It is always a good idea to know what to order before heading out to your fast-food restaurant.
Nowadays, most fast-food restaurants include calorie counts and nutritional information on their menus. This will go a long way in assisting you in planning your meal before you get there and help check impulse buying.
- Opt for water instead of soda: This should be pretty obvious! Soda contains an insane amount of added sugars and calories, which is terrible for your blood sugar. Taking water instead of sodas will help you avoid the unnecessary calories and risks associated with an elevated blood sugar level.
- Eat slowly and keep it small: Research has shown that there is a 15-minute delay between a realistic, filled stomach and the brains registering it to be full. Eating slowly can help close that gap and help you know when you are full so as not to overeat. Keeping your portions small also helps to check on overeating, so when that clerk keeps trying to up your order, it would be wise to maintain your stance and say no.
You will still get more calories from your small meal than risking an excessive intake from a large meal.
- Avoid fried foods: Fried foods are a no-no. So, take your eyes off that fried chicken. It might smell good, but it is still awful for your health. Deep-fried foods like chicken strips, fries, and taco shells should be avoided.
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY FAST-FOOD ORDERS
- Make special requests when ordering: Don’t be afraid to ask the servers to leave out certain items when you order or to swap them out for others. You can request smaller portions and add sauces and dressings on the side. It is recommended to start with a side salad before you are given the main course. And as always, you can opt for an appetizer with healthy sides.
Do not order the deluxe or super-sized portions that fast-food restaurants offer; they are full of extra calories, fat and sugar that your body doesn’t need. They might be cheap but are highly unhealthy.
- Burgers: If you are into burgers, try ordering them without the cheese. Instead, opt for extra salad toppings. It would be healthier if you tried ordering an open-faced burger with half a bun or no bun at all. And for the sides, raw vegetables, salads, or fresh fruits should do just fine.
Order your pizzas with thin whole-wheat crusts, vegetable toppings, and light cheese or no cheese, as these make your pizza a lot healthier to consume. Eating a side salad before feasting on that pizza can also help check to overeat because we all know there′s that temptation.
- Use the Plate Method when ordering: The Plate Method is beneficial here because it helps you check the number of calories you consume and manages your portion size. It would help if you filled half your plate with non-starchy veggies, one quarter with lean meat, fish, or beans, and another quarter with whole grains and starchy veggies. You can add a piece of fruit, a cup of water, or low-fat milk. The size of the plate matters, so mind that too. The recommended size of a plate is 9 inches.
Fast foods are not often advisable for people with type 2 diabetes. Though there are healthy ways around that, even these more nutritious options can still be highly processed, so it is recommended that one monitor one′s blood sugar levels before and after a meal to see what effect it has on them.
You can enjoy meals from your favorite fast foods, but this should be done in moderation. Reduced visits to said fast-food joints are a start. Just because there are healthier options doesn’t mean that you order fast foods three to five times a week, once a week, or on rare occasions where there′s no other option is just fine.