Yeah, I know, we’re all pressed for time in our hectic, supersonic lives. We’ve got work, hobbies, kids to chauffeur around, Netflix series to watch and two world leaders caught up in a middle school insult fight to monitor. Who has time to cook? And look, the place with the giant burger, or golden arches, or cute red-headed girl, or bucket of chicken out front has a drive-thru! What could be more convenient?
People seem to think that eating fast food is inevitable for the harried and harassed American. There are, in fact, viable, healthy alternatives if you just plan ahead and are willing to spend a few extra minutes in pursuit of fewer calories, less fat and more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Since this post deals with those alternatives, I won’t overwhelm you with caloric fast food horror stories. If you’re interested in the nutritional info for various fats…oops, I mean fast food chains, they all now provide it online. Now, on to those fast food alternatives previously mentioned.
- Fast casual dining at places that offer numerous healthy alternatives such as Panera Bread, Chipotle and Pei Wei Asian Diner. All three offer wholesome, non-GMO ingredients in their salads, soups, and entrees and ordering and receiving your food takes about as long as a backed-up fast food drive thru. Heck, go nuts and actually sit down with family and friends and enjoy both a healthy meal and healthy conversation.
- The supermarket prepared foods area/deli. Enter any large grocery store, find their prepared foods area, buffet, deli, smorgasbord, or whatever that particular store calls it and prepare to be amazed at the selection. Most offer fresh salads, soups, sandwiches, cooked veggies, and grilled meats and fish. Hell, the one by my house even offers sushi! You’re sure to find healthy foods that are enjoyed by every/all members of your family. Just load up the prepared packaging, check out, drive home, serve and enjoy. Gives new meaning to the notion of fast food.
- Purchased or home made frozen meals. Yes, of course MagicKitchen.com can help out immensely here. Have an especially hectic week coming up? With a little pre-planning you can have a wide selection of nutritious and delicious frozen entrees, sides and desserts chillin’ in your freezer to be used whenever needed. And as I’m sure you already know, we here at MagicKitchen.com offer dishes that meet just about any nutritional need, from diabetic friendly to gluten free. Of course, you could prepare, cook and freeze your own dishes, but who has time for that? I mean, really.
- Breakfast smoothies. Just ensure that each one has good carbs, lean protein, and healthy fat (of the unsaturated variety). One of my favorites includes fresh berries, a few leafy greens, almond milk and butter, pea protein, rolled oats and just a smidge of cinnamon and ginger. Voilá! Breakfast is served.
- Pack your own. Get an insulated lunch satchel and a few refreezeable (is that a word?) ice packs and you’re ready to take your healthy foods on the road. And if you have access to a magical microwave machine, you’ve just expanded your food options exponentially.
- Local farmer’s markets. Aside from locally grown veggies, many farmer’s markets now include prepared dishes, such as pasta, salads, soups and breads and cheeses. Check out one near you and see what they have to offer. You can grab some beets, kale, spaghetti squash and a prepared dinner all at one stop.
So the next time you or someone in your orbit is seduced by the sights and smells of a fast food joint, resist the urge and get yourself to one of the alternatives listed above as fast as humanly possible. How many times it takes to break the fast food addiction varies by individual, but like any addiction, once it’s defeated you’re a better person for it. Stay strong!