How can I cut calories from fast food?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
To cut calories from fast food, think about what you are going to eat and make as many healthy choices as you can. In this video, nutritionist Marisa Moore, RDN, shares some tips that will help keep the calorie count down, even at a fast food joint.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Here are three ways to cut calories and fat no matter which fast food restaurant you place your order:
  • Road Rule #1: Start every fast food meal with a side salad or even chili. You’ll get far more nutrients than you would from most other drive-through dishes. Plus, you’ll fill up faster, allowing you to shrink down both your normal burger order and your waistline!
  • Road rule #2: Add your own flavor elevators. Most of us turn to salt to punch up the flavor in our meals. Of course, that same salt wreaks havoc on our arteries, leading to all sorts of problems like high blood pressure and even heart disease. Instead of salt, ketchup, or mayo, try keeping a “flavor elevator” in your glove box. Red pepper flakes, Sriracha (a Thai hot sauce), or garlic powder all make great salt alternatives, punching up flavor while cutting back on sodium. And if you forget your flavor elevator at home, just ask for a packet of hot sauce.
  • Road rule #3: Chew for 10 seconds. Fast food refers to how fast you can get it, not how fast you should eat it! One study looked at the effect of chew time and bite size on satiety and overall caloric intake. The study found that both taking small bites and increasing the chew time significantly decreased the overall amount of food the subjects ate, likely because smaller bites with more chewing allows you to really blast your taste buds with flavor. So, take small bites and chew for at least 10 seconds. You’ll eat less and savor the flavors like never before!
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Continue Learning about Calories


Every time we talk about food it seems we also talk about calories. Calories, those numbers found on nutrition fact labels and what diets tell us to watch. Calories are really the measure of how much energy is available to our bod...

ies from what we eat. Every calorie is the same, whether it comes from legumes or lard. We burn calories from food when we perform any activity. When we eat more calories than we burn, then our bodies happily store the remaining calories as fat. Each pound of fat stores about 3,500 calories. How many calories you should have each day depends on many things, from your level of activity to your age and desired body weight.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.