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Healthy fast-food options help keep your weight loss on track.
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Following a healthy diet isn't about depriving yourself; it's about balance and moderation. This is why no food is off-limits on the Weight Watchers program. While the points system encourages you to choose highly nutritious foods most of the time, the program gives you the flexibility to indulge in moderation. Weight Watchers offers helpful suggestions on how to choose healthier fast-food options so you don't hamper your weight-loss efforts when out and about.
Build a Smarter Salad
Having a salad with your meal can help satisfy you without a lot of added calories. Not all fast-food salads are created equal, however. Once you pile on high-fat dressing, full-fat cheese, bacon bits, croutons and other items, what could have been a healthy salad turns into an unhealthy option. A small salad that contains about 100 calories has a points value of two, according to Weight Watchers. Try selecting a grilled chicken salad and choose vinaigrette or light salad dressing. Not all light salad dressings are low-calorie, warns Weight Watchers. Use half the pack to get around this.
Expand Your Choices
You don't have to go for the typical burger and fries just because you're at a fast-food restaurant. Many restaurants offer lower-calorie alternatives. Weight Watchers urges you to look beyond the burger patty and offers recommendations for other options. For example, a roasted or grilled chicken sandwich will likely take up between nine and 10 of your daily points, while a chicken burrito -- made healthier by removing cheese and sauce -- will equal around eight points.
Don't Forget the Fruit and Vegetables
Eating fast food often means passing up vegetables, but it doesn't have to be this way. More and more fast-food restaurants are adding vegetable options to the menu, such as carrot sticks, apple slices and mixed vegetables. These options are often found on the kid's menu. Nonstarchy vegetables have a points value of zero as long as they're free of added sauces. A 3-inch corn on the cob has a points value of three. If you have a craving for a baked potato, skip the butter and sour cream and cut a portion that is about the size of a computer mouse. This portion has a points value of two.
Control Your Portions
Some restaurant portions are much bigger than the normal portion size. Portions at fast-food chains, in particular, can be up to four times the normal size, according to Weight Watchers. If you're not careful, you can end up putting a serious dent in your daily points allotment and taking in excess calories in the process. Order the smallest portion size available, and estimate whether it's a healthy portion size. For example, a serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, and a serving of rice or pasta is about the size of a tennis ball. A typical serving of cooked vegetables is about 1/2 cup.