You’ve been working long hours. You’re hungry, tired and exhausted, which means a healthy home cooked meal is out of the question. You’ll probably stop into a fast food restaurant on your way home and order something to go. Just this once.
But it’s never a one-time thing. When hungry, people stop thinking clearly, the urge to eat comes first, and you grab whatever you can find on your way without thinking about the consequences. And there are many.
According to statistics provided by World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.9 billion adults who are 18 years of age and older are overweight; of these, over 650 million are obese, which is the result of an abnormal fat accumulation that can pose great health risks.
Note: A unit of measurement for obesity is the body mass index (BMI), and a person who has 30 or more BMI is considered obese.
The major factor that contributes to a person becoming overweight is a fast food diet common in almost every country in the world. Now, what makes fast food restaurants so appealing? Their quick and inexpensive meals - everything a modern-age consumer could ask for.
A common misconception is that it takes a lot of time and effort to prepare a healthy meal or even a healthy snack. But here we are going to show you that with a little bit of planning ahead, you and your family can enjoy a healthy food regiment without having to slave in the kitchen for hours at a time.
It’s all about the preparation
Coming up with a weight loss meal plan and sticking to it is the first and most important step on your journey to a healthier lifestyle, and organising your day in such way that you can prepare your meals in advance can make or break your fat loss diet.
• Breakfast - Considered to be the most important meal of the day, breakfast helps to increase your metabolism right from an early start. Unfortunately, most people don’t have time to prepare a proper meal, so they substitute it with a fast food alternative (or skip it all together). To avoid filling up on sugar and other fatty foods, try healthy fast food solutions in a form of homemade muffins, breakfast bars and breakfast cookies. They are easy to prepare and can even be frozen and used throughout the week. You could also opt for a snack like a protein bar that keeps you full and offers great convenience.
• Lunch - Typical fast food lunches are packed with calories, sugars and fats, and are too big for one person to handle. Instead of eating out, pack your own lunch that you made at home. It’s a healthy and inexpensive alternative which can also be prepared according to your favorite weight loss recipes.
• Dinner - Microwave dinners are the easiest way to end a busy day. But besides being filled with calories, they also contain a large amount of sodium which is more than a person needs for a day. A healthy alternative to a microwave dinner is a home prepared frozen meal which can be heated up and ready in no time. Soups, pasta and even meat can be divided into portions, heated up and mixed with fresh ingredients.
Healthy snacks to the rescue
Sometimes, a quick bite is all it takes to suppress hunger. A piece of this and a piece of that make these cravings stop, but does it matter what that piece is?
Certainly - just because it is considered a snack doesn’t mean it can’t set back your dieting efforts. Having to keep a weight loss regime isn’t easy, so it’s quite helpful to have some kind of a healthy treat lying around the house.
To avoid the temptation and stay on track with your fat loss diet, here are healthy alternatives to some of your favorite snacks.
Veggie Chips, instead of potato chips
While we’ll all agree it’s absolutely delicious, potato chips should be avoided at all cost. Because it is deep fried, it’s packed with calories and is extremely unhealthy. As an alternative, try kale chips instead. However, if you’re not a kale fan, use any other vegetable or fruit, but note that kale is one of the healthiest midnight snacks for when you’re feeling a bit peckish, but don’t want to stuff yourself unnecessarily that late at night.
Healthy mac and cheese
Mac and cheese is one of the life’s guilty pleasures, and though we know it’s not good for us, we simply don’t care. Luckily, there’s a way to incorporate this dish into your weight loss meal plan. Instead of using an instant “out of the box” version of mac and cheese, try preparing your own by adding butternut squash instead of macaroni. It will transform this high-calorie meal into a healthy fast food snack you can enjoy anytime without feeling guilty.
Adored all over the world, pizza represents the ultimate fast food delight. And what makes it so irresistible may not be all that good for your health. Pizza dough, cheese, and ketchup are rich in empty calories and sugar. But what many people don’t know is that there are healthy alternatives to pizza ingredients. Turn to zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms and even cauliflower to make pizza bites and mini pizzas, as by using vegetables you avoid high carb intake.
Mashed cauliflower instead of potato
Mashed potatoes go with everything. This phenomenal side dish completes every meal on the table and leaves you with a sense of fullness. But that’s also why it’s very bad for your waistline. None of the weight loss tips include eating mashed potatoes in large amounts. However, it’s a whole different story if you substitute potatoes with cauliflower. Mashed cauliflower feels lighter but has a stronger flavor, which tastes even better when you add some garlic and onions. Not to mention it is low in calories and packed with all types of nutrients, which have shown to reduce the chances of developing different forms of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and digestive tract problems.
Chia seed pudding
Instead of your regular store-bought, instant pudding mixture, make your own using chia seeds. These miraculous seeds are considered a superfood for a reason - they are nutrient-dense and filled with energy-boosting power. Other benefits of consuming chia seeds include healthier-looking skin, reduced signs of aging, better support for the heart and digestive system, stronger bones and muscles, and many more. By soaking them in almond milk, you’ll get one of the best healthy sweet snacks with a taste that will leave you begging for more. And because they are rich in fiber, chia seeds can aid your weight loss efforts, so feel free to enjoy this healthy treat anytime you want.
This all-time favorite breakfast food owes its popularity to a large amount of butter used for its preparation. Therefore, pancakes are not featured in any weight loss meal plan. Nevertheless, you can make a delicious batch of protein packed vanilla pancakes. Since they are bound to be really sweet, you won’t have to add maple syrup (which is an additional source of sugar).
There you have it - your favorite fast food alternatives for a healthy and fat-free lifestyle. No more excuses - losing weight is now easier than ever, all you need is a little bit of planning and some good will. The rest you can find here.