8 Ways To Save Calories When You Order Fast Food


Tip 1. Know your setting: pace yourself in the “speed eating” environment of fast food restaurants. Restaurant decor of fast food restaurants is not an accident — it is designed with the intention of getting you to eat and run. The red and gold color schemes in many fast food and Chinese restaurants encourage you to chow down quickly.

Tip 2. Go easy on sauces and dressings: There are lots of calories in mayo, sour cream, salad dressing and other “special” sauces, like those often found on burgers. The amount on your sandwich or salad often depends on the “hand” of the person preparing your food or how much you pour on. The best way to control this is to ask for the sauce or dressing on the side and add it (or not) by yourself. You really can do this — even in fast food burger places! Source: McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items

  • McDonald’s Creamy ranch Sauce (0.8 ounces): 110 calories, 110 calories from fat
  • Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame ginger Dressing ( 1.5 ounces) 90 calories, 25 calories from fat
  • McDonald’s Spicy Buffalo Sauce (0.8 ounces): 35 calories, 30 calories from fat
  • Newman’s Own Creamy Southwest Dressing (1.5 ounces): 120 calories, 70 calories from fat
  • Newman’s Own Ranch Dressing (2 ounces): 200 calories, 150 calories from fat
  • McDonald’s Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce (1 Package): 50 calories, no fat
  • McDonald’s Honey Mustard Sauce (0.8 ounces): 60 calories,, 35 calories from fat
  • McDonald’s Tartar Sauce Cup (1 ounce): 140 calories, 130 calories from fat

Tip 3. Opt for chicken or fish as long as it’s not fried/breaded/or called crispy – which is just an alias for fried. Order it grilled, baked or broiled. Another sauce alert: lots of the sauces have a ton of sugar in them. Make your best choice (check the labels or nutrition info) and dip sparingly. Source: McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items

  • McDonald’s Premium McWrap Chicken & Bacon (Crispy): 610 calories, 280 calories from fat
  • McDonald’s Premium McWrap Chicken & Ranch (Grilled): 450 calories, 160 calories from fat

Tip 4. Order your burger or chicken sandwich without bacon or cheese: A serving size of meat is about 3 ounces — about the size of a deck of cards. You’re probably getting well over that with a single meat patty. One slice of bacon adds about 43 calories, but how many sandwiches come with only one slice? One slice of American cheese clocks in at 94 calories.

Tip 5. Do you really need (read “need” not “want”) fries, curly fries, potato sticks, or onion rings? You can order salad or a baked potato instead (as long as you don’t smother them in butter and/or sour cream or salad dressing). If you absolutely must have fries, order a small or a kid’s size. Large fries can tack on around 500 calories. Larger sizes may seem like a good “value” but the beefed up sizes also beef up the calories, fat, and sugar.

Tip 6. Avoid combo specials: they might have wallet appeal but you get, on average, 55% more calories for 17% more money.  What’s more important, your waistline, or your wallet?

Tip 7. Survey the sides: Eating a burger or sandwich by itself is often filling enough. If you do want a side, consider ordering a fruit cup or side salad instead of French fries or onion rings. Most fast food restaurants now offer them. Source: McDonald’s USA Nutrition Facts for Popular Menu Items

  • McDonald’s Side Salad (3.1 ounces): 20 calories, no fat
  • McDonald’s Apple Slices (1.2 ounces): 15 calories, no fat
  • McDonald’s Large French Fries: 510 calories, 220 calories from fat
  • McDonald’s Medium French Fries: 340 calories, 140 calories from fat
  • McDonald’s Kids’ Fries: 110 calories, 50 calories from fat

Tip 8. Don’t drink your calories. Soda isn’t the only sugary drink. Sweetened tea, sports drinks, non-diet flavored water, juice, flavored milk, and shakes are sugary drinks, too. A 12-ounce can of coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar (about 10 teaspoons). Eight ounces of orange juice has 110 calories and 25 grams of carbs. At Burger King, a small classic coca cola has 190 calories and 51g carbs; a medium classic coca cola has 290 calories and 79 carbs. Decreasing – or eliminating — the amount of sugary soda that you drink is an easy way to save calories.


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