DASH Diet fast food – does it exist?
It is possible to occasionally enjoy fast food while on the DASH Diet; you just need to be smart about it.
The DASH Diet works by restricting the amount of salt that you consume each day. Many Americans eat very high levels of sodium (salt), due to the high proportion of fast food, or highly-processed food, in their diet.
Over time, this excess salt intake is a major factor in causing you to develop hypertension (high blood pressure). If you have a high-salt diet, even exercise or medications may not be enough to help manage your hypertension without also changing your diet.
It is easy to go overboard when you eat out – some things to keep in mind to help you stick to your dietary guidelines include:
Ask that no extra salt is put on your food. If you get fries, see if you can get them without any salt.
Look up the nutrition information for the restaurant you plan to visit (the menus for any reputable restaurant should be easy to find online). This can help you to choose the best options to order before you leave home, and minimizes the chances of getting distracted and ordering something that completely ruins your diet (or surrendering to that tasty yet salty entree in a moment of weakness!).
Pick choices that are generally healthier for you. Choose a simple hamburger rather than going with the fish or chicken sandwich (they are usually higher in sodium). Choose whole-wheat bread, and if possible diet milk or yogurt as well.
Serving sizes are often more than you expect, so pick the regular meal and avoid the jumbo serve! If you can, go with a children’s meal to get even less sodium.
Be careful when ordering a salad. Just because it sounds healthy does not mean that it actually is. Often a salad from a fast food restaurant will come with a lot of ‘hidden extras’ that are not good for someone on the DASH Diet (such as dressing and cheese).
If possible, choose items that are steamed, broiled, or grilled. These are going to be healthier and contain a lot less sodium. Never choose items that are battered or fried.
This post is an excerpt from the cookbook Make Me Salt-lite… in 30 Minutes!, which is available below!