NANCY CLARK, MS, RD
Fast foods are here to stay, and thankfully many of today's quick-service
restaurants offer some healthful, low-fat options. Athletes can
actually choose a decent sport diet at most places if they make
also is important to have on hand foods with supplemental carbohydrates,
such as apples, oranges, pretzels, fig cookies, bagels, pitas,
crackers, raisins, dried fruits, juice boxes, sports bars or granola
bars. That way, an athlete who succumbs to the fast and fatty
options at least is able to add on the carbohydrates the muscles
need for energy.
best bets for fast-foods-that-fuel include the following options
at quick-service restaurants:
Fast Food Breakfast Bet:
offers a tasty sports breakfast: pancakes/syrup, orange juice
and milk. Hot cocoa is an appealing choice for higher carbohydrates
than coffee. Or choose cold cereal, juice and a muffin or English
muffin with jelly.
Bagel Breakfast Bet:
a deli or bagel shop with whole-grain bagels, fresh fruit, juice
and yogurt. A little low-fat cream cheese and/or jam can complete
Hotel Breakfast Bet:
yourself time, money and temptations by bringing your own cereal,
dried fruit and spoon. Either pack powdered milk or buy a half-pint
of milk at the corner store. Use a water glass or the milk carton
for the cereal bowl.
out a deli that offers a sandwich with more bread than filling.
For example, a large submarine roll provides far more carbohydrates
than does a small pita. "Hold the mayo" and add moistness
with lite salad dressings (if available), mustard or ketchup,
tomatoes and lettuce. The best meat fillings are turkey, ham and
bean soups, including minestrone, lentil and split pea soups,
accompanied by crackers or crusty rolls, provide a satisfying,
carbohydrate-rich low-fat meal. Chili, if not glistening with
a layer of grease, also can be a good choice. For example, a Wendy's
large chili with eight saltine crackers provides about 400 calories,
of which only 25 percent are from fat. Ideally, meals should be
less than 30 percent fat.
Chicken Sandwich Bet:
chicken sandwiches are fine, except for the special sauces. The
29 grams of fat in the Burger King BK Broiler makes it almost
as fatty as a double cheeseburger. Request no mayonnaise or wipe
there is no eatery that offers more than just burgers and fries,
then make the best of a bad situation. With an order for a burger,
request an extra roll or extra bread. Squeeze the grease into
the first roll, and then replace it with a fat-free one. Boost
carbohydrates with fluids such as juice, soft drinks and low-fat
shakes. Enjoy the high-carbohydrate snacks (pretzels, fig bars)
for dessert. Athletes with big appetites should order two small
burgers (each with a roll) rather than a double burger with one
roll. It is better to get more carbohydrates with the two rolls
while paying a similar price.
Red Meat Bet:
than burgers, satisfy a craving for meat with a lean roast beef
sandwich. At only 260 calories, a Roy Rogers Roast Beef Sandwich
(four grams of fat) is preferable to the 260- calorie McDonald's
hamburger (10 grams of fat).
Salad Bar Bet:
a salad bar, be generous with the colorful vegetables, chick peas,
kidney beans, pasta salads and hearty breads, and carefully choose
lite dressings. Beware of Caesar salads. For example, Boston Market's
Chicken Caesar Salad with four tablespoons of dressing totals
670 calories, of which two-thirds are from fat (47 grams). A chicken
breast (without skin), corn bread, steamed vegetables, and dill
potatoes totals only 15 grams of fat and 570 calories.
Baked Potato Meal Bet:
helpful hint is to order two potatoes, one plain and one with
topping. For example, at Wendy's, by splitting the broccoli and
cheese topping (14 grams of fat) between two spuds, an athlete
has a hearty 770-calorie carbohydrate-based meal that fuels the
muscles. For added protein, drink a glass of low-fat milk.
a pizza that is thick with extra crust rather than cheese. The
more dough, the more muscle fuel. For example, one slice of Pizza
Hut's Pan Pizza (260 calories) has 10 more grams of carbohydrates
than does a slice of its Thin 'n Crispy variety (200 calories).
Pile on vegetables (broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, onions) for
a vitamin boost. Blot off any grease with a napkin.
Chicken Dinner Bet:
rotisserie or grilled chicken meals are generally preferable to
fried chicken meals. No matter the manner of preparation, it is
important to abstain from eating the skin. By removing the skin
and wing from a Kentucky Fried Chicken Rotisserie Gold quarter
breast, you remove 13 grams of fat and 115 calories. If fried
chicken is the only option, order the larger pieces, peel off
the skin and eat just the meat. For carbohydrates, order extra
rolls, corn on the cob, potatoes or baked beans; include nutrient-rich
carrots, squash, spinach or broccoli. Although the vegetables
are sometimes buttery, the extra fat from the butter can be balanced
by eating lower-fat foods at other meals.
frozen yogurt is fun, refreshing and carbohydrate rich (read that
loaded with sugar). Frozen yogurt may be a best bet for dessert,
but do not think of it as a meal replacer. Regular yogurt has
far more nutritional value.
Clark, MS, RD, specializes in nutrition for exercise. She can
be reached at SportsMedicine Brookline, 830