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HomeArticlesFitness • "REAL" FAST FOOD



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by Michael Drake (www.thefitnessedge.org)

A hundred fifty years ago, one might have been content to wait one more day for the next coach if they missed it. Today, people get impatient trying to pass traffic... even when they're getting off at the next exit.

We live in a convenience-oriented, give-it-to-me-now society. Fast food establishments are a result of, as well as a contributor to this situation. This is a powerful force to contend with when it comes to diet and nutrition. The good news is that we can develop strategies to effectively cope with today's fast-paced lifestyle in a nutritionally sound manner.

Fortunately, the fast food industry has begun offering more nutritional choices such as grilled chicken breast, baked potatoes, salads, etc. However, beware of excess calories -- whether from fat or sugars -- which can creep unsuspectingly into these foods. Condiments like salad dressings, sauces and cheese can add a significant amount of empty calories ‑‑ even the non-fat and "lite" varieties. Reduce your reliance on these items, and you will reduce your intake of dietary fat, sugar, calories, artificial additives and preservatives, while increasing the nutritional density of your foods.

Make It Easy

"Easy" is the reason so many Americans are overweight and have a high incidence of heart disease and other lifestyle related diseases. There is no question concerning the correlation between our health and our dietary behavior. The key is to make good food easy and convenient.

One simple, yet effective strategy is to prepare a quantity of real food once each week for quick and easy snacking. For example, prepare some vegetables that you like and store them in Tupperware. Or, bake several potatoes at a time. Cook a big pot of brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Put your real foods in a small container or plastic bag, and take it to work, or wherever you go. You can microwave it if you wish. If the food is more convenient, you are more likely to eat it.

Make an effort to eat an adequate amount of quality, nutritious food before you get hungry, and you will almost certainly have decreased desire for less nutritional temptations. When the occasional slip occurs, you can still feel good knowing that you're mostly on track.

Eating in a healthy manner doesn't have to be a big hassle or a major preparation. Lack of time is the excuse many people use for eating poorly. Incorporate just a few of these strategies at a time. Over time, they will become habitual and make a huge difference.
Fitness: Michael Drake is an ACE Certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Greater Cincinnati. He has been active in fitness training and education since 1985. Please visit http://www.thefitnessedge.org for more information.
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