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Tips for eating at fast food restaurants during pregnancy

Tips for eating at fast food restaurants during pregnancy

Whether you’re on the road traveling for business or pleasure, or suddenly find yourself craving a hamburger from your favorite fast-food restaurant chain, it can be difficult to navigate menus for healthy items that will benefit both you and your baby. Fast-food items have earned a negative rap, and understandably so — since many menu items are high in fat, sodium, additives, and other ingredients that can compromise your overall health. But sometimes, fast food may be your only option when you’re hungry and there are no other types of food readily available.

Here are tips you can follow when faced with ordering food from a fast-food restaurant during your pregnancy.

Be wary of salads

A salad may seem like your healthiest fast-food option, but add-ons such as dried fruits, nuts, eggs, and chicken have been found to pack on hundreds of extra calories due to additives and sugar. Plus, salad dressings can add up to 200 extra calories to your meal. If you go the salad route, make sure to hold the dressing and any add-ons.

Avoid the grilled chicken

Grilled chicken may be an ideal low-fat protein option, but grilled chicken from fast-food restaurants is loaded with over 1,000 mg of sodium, which is nearly half the daily recommended amount. In most cases, grilled chicken sandwiches contain more calories than one single hamburger patty.

Say no to smoothies

Like salads, smoothies are known to have a healthy reputation, but from fast-food restaurants, smoothies are packed with fruit juices that contain added sugars. Instead of drinking 500 calories worth of sugar, opt for other foods on the menu that will help you feel full for a longer period of time.

Get help from a smartphone app

Nutritionists and dietitians recommend that pregnant women download a smartphone app called Healthy Dining. The Healthy Dining app was created by registered dietitians, and will help you locate and identify the healthiest menu items at nearby restaurants.

Opt for healthier side dishes

Many fast-food restaurants now offer healthier side items, such as apple slices, fruit cups, salads, carrot sticks, and plain baked potatoes. Swap out french fries and choose a healthier alternative that will provide your baby with more nutrients.

Skip the sauce

Mayonnaise and barbecue sauce may enhance the flavor of your burger or sandwich, but a tablespoon of mayo from fast-food restaurants has about 100 calories, not to mention most sauces are loaded with sugar. Try ordering your sandwiches without mayo or barbecue sauce, and go for more low-fat options such as plain mustard or ketchup instead.

CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.

Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.

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