By definition, dietitians avoid fast food. But what do they eat when life happens and fast food is the only option? Three Atlanta dietitians shared their go-tos:
Nicole German Morgan is a registered dietitian in Buckhead who provides nutritional counseling for a variety of health and medical conditions. If she can't fix a homemade meal and time is at a premium, her fast food choice is a selection from the Whole Foods hot bar and salad bar. "It's an excellent way to avoid preservatives and artificial ingredients while still being able to load up on vegetables," she said. "If not Whole Foods, I may stop by Chipotle in a pinch!"
Rachel Brandeis has been in private practice for more than a decade. Her fast-food go-to is a veggie sandwich at Jimmy Johns. "It comes on whole grain bread spread with avocado and includes cheese and veggies," she said. "That means it has good fats, fiber and protein from the cheese to keep me full."
If there isn't a Jimmy Johns in sight, Brandeis heads for Jersey Mike's for turkey on wheat with no mayo but with all the toppings. "People don't often think of sub shops when they're in a hurry," she said. "But they are fast food without a drive-thru and with healthier ingredients!"
Caitlin Russell is particularly focused on dietary treatment for food-sensitive clients and is experienced with adult weight loss.
"Occasionally, I find myself needing to choose a meal at a fast food restaurant due to travel, kids' activities or other time constraints," she said. "While I don't eat there too often, when I do and no matter where I am, I always base my meal on vegetables and some lean protein."
A few options that fit that description include salads with chicken and lower fat dressing and burgers without the bun but with extra lettuce and tomatoes. "Hold the fries!" she said. "I may also eat the toppings off a slice or two of pizza with everything. And I'd add a side salad to fill me up."
Russell said she always drinks unsweet tea with lemon or sparkling water. "By avoiding the refined carbs like the hamburger bun, french fries, pizza crust and sodas and replacing those cheaper calories with lots of nutrient-rich vegetables, I'm able to keep my energy level stable and not worry about gaining weight," she said.
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