How To Lose Weight Eating Fast Food

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES

Real-Life Insights and Takaways

  • Over ⅓ of all children and adolescents consume fast food every day.
  • 12.4% of a child or adolescent’s daily caloric intake comes from fast food.
  • Fast food is expensive, but many Americans can afford to feed their kids fast food. Consequently, we are proving that as a country we are often choosing to save time over saving money.
  • According to the study, overweight children are actually taking in fewer calories from fast food than kids who are not overweight. Fast food isn’t the only problem. Food that is prepared quickly isn’t necessarily bad. Genetics are a key factor in determining weight gain.
  • We can eat 100% of our calories from a fast food restaurant, but we need to make the right selections in order to be healthy.
  • Cooking SANEly at home is less expensive than buying fast food.
  • If you are eating fast food, you can educate yourself on what to order and teach your children what to order.
  • Plan and prepare ahead of time so you have quality SANE food on hand to either grab and go or easily prepare for a meal.
  • Make the most nutrient-dense choices within these macro-nutrient categories: fat, protein, and carbs.
  • Grocery stores now sell prepared food, such as a buffet-style lunch where you can build a SANE meal on the go.
  • Fill up half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (lettuce, spinach, etc.), then pick up a nutrient-dense protein (meat, fish, etc.), then add whole-food fats (nuts, seeds, hard-boiled egg, etc.).
  • You can still eat SANEly on the go.
  • Jonathan’s favorite Chipotle meal: Chipotle salad, with double chicken, beans, all the salsas minus the corn salsa, guacamole, and extra lettuce on top.
  • When traveling, consider stopping at the grocery store for a quick meal rather than a fast food restaurant. Bring along a knife, forks, and paper plates.
  • Grocery store ideas: rotisserie chicken, vegetables in a bag, go to baking section for healthy nuts
  • Pizza places are difficult place to eat SANEly.
  • Other restaurant ideas: Grilled chicken sandwich minus the bun with extra lettuce, chicken salad minus processed dressing, at an Asian restaurant eat veggies in place of rice

—NEXT ACTION—
Identify the two most common fast food restaurants you visit and look up their menus online. Identify two SANE options and make those your go-to options when you go to those restaurants.

Reflection Questions

  • Is it possible to eat healthy when on the go?
  • How can you create a SANE meal for yourself and your family when traveling?
  • Where do you spend your grocery money each month?
  • Can you find SANE food at fast food restaurants?
  • What are the most nutrient-dense choices at your favorite fast food restaurant?

SANE Soundbites

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  • 2:59 – 3:29, “…over one-third of children and adolescents consume fast food on a given day.  So, on any given day, a third of all children and adolescents are consuming fast food.  And possibly more shocking is that 12.4% of a child or adolescent’s caloric intake, on average, is coming from fast food per day.”
  • 6:04 – 6:36, “To me, an interesting headline of this study is, one, Americans can afford to feed their children fast food, which is way more expensive than home cooked food, which actually tells me that this is less of a money problem and more of a time problem, but that is a side note.  Two, that overweight children we just think need to exercise more—like, “Go move more, that’s the problem overweight kids, you’re just not exercising enough.”  They’re actually eating fewer calories from fast food than non-overweight children are.”
  • 6:54 – 7:31, “…when it comes to weight, people want to trivialize this issue.  People want to say, “Just because we are eating so much fast food, we just need to exercise more, or we just need to exercise less.”  You know, I would bet, if you look at those overweight kids, you might notice that their parents could be a little bit overweight, and maybe they have different body structures than everyone else, and maybe the fact that weight has about 60% genetic influence on it is a pretty big deal.  So, just telling overweight kids that you’re lazy and you just need to eat less fast food—I mean, they are eating less fast food.”
  • 7:35 – 8:05, “So saying, “No, fast food is a problem,” it is actually not the problem, and one of the things I wanted to share in today’s podcast is, just like carbs aren’t good or bad, protein isn’t good or bad, fat isn’t good or bad, food that is prepared quickly isn’t necessarily bad.  You can eat 100% of your calories from fast food restaurants, but you make the right selections and be quite healthy.”
  • 9:54 – 10:11, “But I will say I now have a high schooler who doesn’t eat fast food, really, ever—I mean, very rarely unless it is healthy salads or she will make some good choices at fast food restaurants.  But we have found we can bulk prepare, she can take it leftovers from dinner, we have some good containers, and it works really well.”
  • 10:16 – 10:24, “So, if you are saying, “I struggle with SANEity because it is so expensive, look at where you are spending your money right now, because apparently Americans are spending quite a bit of money on fast food.”
  • 11:38- 12:02,“I like what you are saying, where we are talking about, if you are concerned about pricing, let’s look at what you can make at home and do quickly and be able to take with you.  But then I love also that you are saying, if you are eating fast food I think now what it is, it is a process of teaching our children what to order.  I have actually started taking pictures of menus and I have been collecting them so we can talk about them on a future podcast, to be able to say, “What would you order here?”
  • 12:21 – 13:05, “Teenagers want to be able to go hang out, they want to feel comfortable.  Kids want to go hang out at Carl’s Junior after school together, the restaurant down at the corner.  This idea of a hangout or a place to just be with your friends and enjoy food is something that is really common, so when you say to your kids, “No fast food, fast food is bad, you need to be eating hard boiled eggs and celery sticks, or whatever it is that you are going to have,” then the kids are feeling like, “You are going to ostracize me and make me completely anti-social.” But I think when we can just switch things a little bit, and there can be a combination, you can kind of bring some of your own stuff to eat before or after, take something that is healthy to eat there, I think it is training our children and training our nation, what are the things that are best to eat at a fast food restaurant, what are the things that we shouldn’t be eating, and how can you create a balance that is going to work for your budget and for your health?”
  • 13:09 – 13:18, “…we are not demonizing fat, or protein, or carbs, we are saying, make the most nutrient-dense choices within those macro-nutrient categories.”
  • 17:21 – 18:02, “…if you do have fast food spots that you frequent or you need to frequent because of your job or because of just your life situation, they do have SANE options out there.  The only fast food restaurants—probably pizza places can be hard to go SANE at because everything is fundamentally pizza.  But other than that, there is almost always, get the chicken sandwich, get the grilled chicken sandwich, and just ask them for extra lettuce, and don’t eat the bun.  Or at the Chipotle, get more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff.  So, identify your two most common fast food restaurants that you go to and just try to look up their menus online, identify two SANE options, and make those your go-to options when you go to those restaurants.”

Read the Transcript

April: Hello, everybody, April Perry and Jonathan Bailor back with another SANE show, and today we are talking about fast food for kids. Now, I got an email from Jonathan with a link to a study, and it upset him quite a bit. I looked at the study and I thought, “I don’t really understand why he is so upset, so we’ve got to record a podcast on this.” And he promised there would be no swearing. This is going to be totally child friendly, right Jonathan?

Jonathan: Absolutely. And it’s funny, actually, I’ve got to give a shout-out to my mom, Mary Rose, or Mom, as I call her, because she is such a cute and wonderful lady. She will physically mail me things, like clippings. She will physically mail clippings from the newspaper to me, and there are so many things about that that are not compatible with the way I (crosstalk 01:42), like it’s in the mail, it’s from a newspaper, but it’s cool. She always sends me these things, it’s awesome.

But she sent me this. It is a study that came out from the CDC, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and it is called Caloric Intake from Fast Food Among Children and Adolescents in the United States. The data was collected between 2011 and 2012, the study was just published recently, you could find it online. It was published in September of 2015, and what it did is it looked at the rates of children and their consumption of fast food, and it was some really, really shocking statistics that they found, so I just want to share a couple.

And I also want to share one of the statistics that is buried in the study, and why it is very interesting. And then I also want to empower folks that what you are going to think this podcast is about when you hear these statistics, and what this podcast is going to end up being about, are very different, so please listen all the way to the end. Does that sound okay?

April: I’m actually really excited about this.

Jonathan: The key statistic to sort of kick us off here is that the study found a shocking level, maybe not that shocking, but a shocking level of fast food intake among children and adolescents, specifically, that over one-third of children and adolescents consume fast food on a given day. So, on any given day, a third of all children and adolescents are consuming fast food. And possibly more shocking is that 12.4% of a child or adolescent’s caloric intake, on average, is coming from fast food per day.

April: That is a lot, but what did you think it was? Because it didn’t surprise me. When I heard that I thought, “Okay, thinking about all the fast food restaurants around us, thinking about how many moms are running to soccer, thinking about how many times you are going to grab pizza or grab some hamburgers or grab some burritos from somewhere, that just seems like it is pretty normal. So, what did you think it was?

Jonathan: I personally don’t yet have children, and back when I was in school we didn’t have fast food restaurants in schools, so maybe I’m just dating myself a little bit here, but the idea that fast food would be consumed daily—maybe people are like, “Wow, Jonathan, that ivory tower that you live in,” but that is a little bit shocking to me, if for nothing else, and maybe this is odd, to me, fast food is expensive. And all day, all I hear is how expensive SANE eating is, and you go to McDonald’s—my lunch costs less than two dollars, easily, easily. Try to fill up on less than two dollars at McDonald’s.

April: Yeah, it’s not possible.

Jonathan: It’s not possible, so the thing that shocked me the most about this was, one, I didn’t realize that as a country we could afford to feed our children fast food every day based on how much I hear that spending five dollars on dinner is too much. People say that to me. But I look at a Value Meal at McDonald’s and it’s seven dollars.

April: Seven dollars—totally.

Jonathan: That was the biggest thing, so that shocked me, the amount shocked me. Then the thing that I love—because this is what I would do in my ten years of reading studies, this was so common. There are these headlines—kids eat a lot of fast food. But then there is other data in the study that they don’t really talk about, and let me give you an example here. There is this footnote in this study which says, “No significant differences in caloric intake from fast food were noted by sex, poverty status, or weight status.”

So, let’s just try to simplify that even more by eliminating some of the words. So, no significant differences in caloric intake from fast food were noted by weight status. And what that actually means, if you look in the study, kids who weren’t overweight actually got a higher percentage of their calories from fast food slightly than kids who were overweight.

April: Wow.

Jonathan: So think about that for a second. To me, an interesting headline of this study is, one, Americans can afford to feed their children fast food, which is way more expensive than home cooked food, which actually tells me that this is less of a money problem and more of a time problem, but that is a side note. Two, that overweight children we just think need to exercise more—like, “Go move more, that’s the problem overweight kids, you’re just not exercising enough.” They’re actually eating fewer calories from fast food than non-overweight children are.

April: That leads you to ask the question then, because so many people will say, “Well then, fast food isn’t contributing to someone being overweight if people who are eating the most fast food are not overweight.

Jonathan: So, the key thing here is, when it comes to weight, people want to trivialize this issue. People want to say, “Just because we are eating so much fast food, we just need to exercise more, or we just need to exercise less.” You know, I would bet, if you look at those overweight kids, you might notice that their parents could be a little bit overweight, and maybe they have different body structures than everyone else, and maybe the fact that weight has about 60% genetic influence on it is a pretty big deal. So, just telling overweight kids that you’re lazy and you just need to eat less fast food—I mean, they are eating less fast food.

That is what is actually really interesting about this study. They are actually eating less fast food. So saying, “No, fast food is a problem,” it is actually not the problem, and one of the things I wanted to share in today’s podcast is, just like carbs aren’t good or bad, protein isn’t good or bad, fat isn’t good or bad, food that is prepared quickly isn’t necessarily bad. You can eat 100% of your calories from fast food restaurants, but you make the right selections and be quite healthy.

April: Okay. Well see, that’s helpful, because as a mother I’m wanting to know, therefore what? Based on this information, looking at the study, how much the children are eating fast food, as I’m looking at my budget, as I’m looking at the health of my children, what should I be thinking about, what do I need to know so that I am making a really wise choice in what I feed my family?

Jonathan: The very first thing, getting back to the thing that shocked me the most, which was, I perceived fast food is expensive, so if cost is an issue, I know, and I can prove with math, that if the choice is between eating inSANEly at fast food restaurants, and cooking SANEly at home, cooking SANEly at home is less expensive. Now, will it take more time? Possibly, I don’t know. Have you seen the lines at fast food restaurants at lunchtime?

April: (laughs) It’s true, it’s true.

Jonathan: Yes, the act of getting it handed to you in the drive-through window doesn’t take much time, but driving to a fast food restaurant, getting the food, bringing it back home, versus going to the grocery store once a week—if we’re going to make comparisons, let’s compare apples to apples, or let’s compare salmon to salmon, to be a little bit more SANE.

April: You’re going to have to switch your schedule a little bit, because I will say when I was in high school we had a lunch pass. I could leave my school and I could go get lunch with my friends and then I could come back. So while I would do that I would go to a fast food restaurant pretty much every day when I was in high school, at certain periods of time, depending on the year—mostly my senior year. But what I found was that the time when I was driving to and from, that was during my lunch break at school when I couldn’t be home preparing food. You are going to have to switch it a little bit.

But I will say I now have a high schooler who doesn’t eat fast food, really, ever—I mean, very rarely unless it is healthy salads or she will make some good choices at fast food restaurants. But we have found we can bulk prepare, she can take it leftovers from dinner, we have some good containers, and it works really well. So, I think that’s a really good point.

Jonathan: Yes, we have to look at it from a cost perspective. So, if you are saying, “I struggle with SANity because it is so expensive, look at where you are spending your money right now, because apparently Americans are spending quite a bit of money on fast food. The second thing is that it is not about eating fast food. Chipotle is one of my favorite places to eat in the entire world—shout out to Chipotle.

I don’t own stock in Chipotle, but recently I was traveling for a conference and the food they were serving at the conference was a complete disaster, so what I and the individual I was traveling with—he was an awesome guy by the name of Tyler Archer, was we went to our phones and we typed in where we were at Chipotle. We tried to find the closest Chipotle and we bought two Chipotle’s per day in bulk so that we could just have Chipotle’s on hand. We were at Chipotle, we would get a salad, and we would get the salad with—and it has beans on it—“Oh my—Jonathan Bailor eats beans? But that’s not on the far right of the SANE spectrum, oh my goodness!”

So, it’s just Chipotle salad with double chicken and I have my beans and I have all the salsas except the corn one, and I get extra spicy salsa because I like the spicy salsa. And then sometimes I get quac and I always get additional lettuce on the top. And it’s delicious and it’s filling and wonderful, and I can eat it—if I had my druthers and I had Chipotle around my house I would probably eat it once a day.

April: I think that that is really helpful, and I think that—I like what you are saying, where we are talking about, if you are concerned about pricing, let’s look at what you can make at home and do quickly and be able to take with you. But then I love also that you are saying, if you are eating fast food I think now what it is, it is a process of teaching our children what to order. I have actually started taking pictures of menus and I have been collecting them so we can talk about them on a future podcast, to be able to say, “What would you order here?”

Do the case studies. Because if you can train your kids, “Here is what you order at this restaurant, here is what you order at this restaurant, here are the best choices at all these places you are going to go.” There is nothing that a teenager wants more than to be able to feel comfortable hanging out with their friends. I mean, maybe there are other things that they want more, but that is one of the main things that I have found. Teenagers want to be able to go hang out, they want to feel comfortable. Kids want to go hang out at Carl’s Junior after school together, the restaurant down at the corner. This idea of a hangout or a place to just be with your friends and enjoy food is something that is really common, so when you say to your kids, “No fast food, fast food is bad, you need to be eating hard boiled eggs and celery sticks, or whatever it is that you are going to have,” then the kids are feeling like, “You are going to ostracize me and make me completely anti-social.”

But I think when we can just switch things a little bit, and there can be a combination, you can kind of bring some of your own stuff to eat before or after, take something that is healthy to eat there, I think it is training our children and training our nation, what are the things that are best to eat at a fast food restaurant, what are the things that we shouldn’t be eating, and how can you create a balance that is going to work for your budget and for your health?

Jonathan: Yes, and it is very consistent with everything we talk about with SANE which is, again, we are not demonizing fat, or protein, or carbs, we are saying, make the most nutrient-dense choices within those macro-nutrient categories. Fast food is just a type of restaurant, and you can make SANEr choices at McDonald’s. McDonald’s has chicken salad without toxic dressing put on top of it. Chipotle is incredibly SANE if you don’t wrap it in a lard flour tortilla and put a bunch of processed nonsense on top of it. Asian restaurants are some of the easiest restaurants in the world to be SANE at because it is a huge amount of (inaudible 13:43) get it with more vegetables instead of on top of rice.

And if you have a grocery store near you, grocery stores are getting in the prepared food business very fast. Most grocery stores now, you can get prepared food at a grocery store and it is buffet style. You can be like, “Give me some of these veggies, give me some of this delicious protein, and you can build your nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats and nonstarchy vegetable plate really easily at most grocery stores. So grocery stores are almost like the new and SANEst fast food option, so just because you are on the go, just because you are trying to get stuff fast doesn’t mean you can’t be SANE. You can be extremely SANE.

April: Okay, so can we make that our stretch goal, to be able to learn how to eat healthily at a grocery store because that is something I don’t really know how to do yet. Tell us step by step. I walk into a grocery store—any standard grocery store?

Jonathan: Any standard grocery store that has produce usually will have a salad bar. This is high margin for grocery stores because they can charge a lot more money for prepared food. So, you are just going to go to wherever they have their prepared food, and you are going to make your SANE plate just like you always would. You are going to fill up half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables. You could probably do that at the salad bar, or you could do that with some spinach that they cook for you in the pre-prepared section. So, you have half your plate of nonstarchy vegetables, then you pick up a nutrient-dense protein, so that’s meat or fish oftentimes.

And then if you want to throw some nuts or seeds or your sauce is fatty or you get some hard boiled eggs from the salad bar—it’s just paint by numbers—nonstarchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole food fats. And when I say eat at a grocery store, I don’t mean go into the aisle, buy a bag of spinach and pound it. I mean, your grocery store has prepared foods at it. Get the prepared food from the prepared food section that they cook every day. Whole Foods does this gangbusters but it is really expensive. But most grocery stores, in general, do, as well.

April: But you know what? I think it does work at every other grocery store, too. I found that when our family was traveling I would actually bring with me a knife, forks, paper plates, or sometimes they would even have that if they have some sort of a little restaurant there. I would buy a rotisserie chicken, I would buy a big bag of baby carrots. I would get a bunch of different things that we could eat together as a family. That really works. That makes it doable for your family. So, I love that, being able to learn how you are going to eat a meal at a grocery store. And then next actions—what would you suggest for our next action?

Jonathan: I have to give you one more story. I’m sorry, I know we don’t have time, but when I was actually visiting you, and we were traveling from seeing you to go see my brother, we did this. We did the grocery store stop and they didn’t have prepared foods, but what they did have is, they had rotisserie chicken, so we bought some rotisserie chicken. They did have bags of prewashed kale and it was all cut up. Grocery stores are actually starting to do all kinds of fun stuff with zoodles—zucchini noodles. SANity is catching on.

So we got some vegetables in a bag, and we were able to get some plastic silverware and then we went to the baking section to buy some raw nuts, because when you go to the snack food section you are going to get nuts with a bunch of nonsense on them. So, we wanted some walnuts, just plain walnuts. We got them in the baking section. And we were able to fill ourselves up deliciously in our car, and it was wonderful.

April: (laughs) Wonderful, I love that idea.

Jonathan: So, the next action. Are you ready?

April: Ready.

Jonathan: Next action, I would say, is that if you do have fast food spots that you frequent or you need to frequent because of your job or because of just your life situation, they do have SANE options out there. The only fast food restaurants—probably pizza places can be hard to go SANE at because everything is fundamentally pizza. But other than that, there is almost always, get the chicken sandwich, get the grilled chicken sandwich, and just ask them for extra lettuce, and don’t eat the bun. Or at the Chipotle, get more of the good stuff, less of the bad stuff. So, identify your two most common fast food restaurants that you go to and just try to look up their menus online, identify two SANE options, and make those your go-to options when you go to those restaurants.

April: Yay! Wonderful. Okay, well, this has been a really practical, really applicable podcast. I am excited to do more of this with my family, and train my children so they can do this even when I am not sitting right there in the car making the order with them. So, we encourage you, go ahead, do this. Take this challenge. Take the challenge to be able to reach the stretch goal of being able to eat healthfully while you are on the go. And of course, always remember to stay SANE.

Learn the exact foods you must eat if you want to finally lose weight permanently. Click here to download your free Weight Loss Food List, the “Eat More, Lose More” Weight Loss Plan, and the “Slim in 6” Cheat Sheet…CLICK HERE FOR FREE “HOW TO” WEIGHT LOSS GUIDES
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