Yes, fast food is laden with sugar, salt, white flour, saturated fat, and other highly processed additions that don’t rank too high on the healthy meter, but if you’re out and need something to eat, or have a burger craving throughout your pregnancy, there are ways to make the best of a less healthy situation. Here’s what to choose and what to look for in each:
1. Burgers Cravings for red meat and a burger during pregnancy are incredibly common. Do you have a burger joint in the hood that you can visit for take out? More and more small, neighbourhood restaurants are using naturally raised or homemade burgers, and knowing where the meat comes from is useful if your burger craving has become your go-to staple meal. Load a single patty burger up with salad, tomato, cucumber and any other vegetables on offer and leave the fries behind (as much as your willpower will allow).
2. Pizza Pizza can be a healthy meal as long as it’s loaded with vegetables. Choose chicken as a meat topping instead of pepperoni or meatballs, adding flavour with peppers, mushrooms, corn, spinach and herbs. Choose feta cheese instead of higher saturated fat three-cheese pizza to keep the calories down.
3. Sub or sandwich Carbs are definitely appealing with a longer or larger sandwich, but it’s all about what’s on the inside. Ask for leaner meats of chicken or turkey, load on the veggies and go easy on ranch-type sauces—try mustard instead. Whole grain bread or less carb-rich wraps are also a better choice.
4. Stir-fries and noodle soups Avoid fried appetizers that are high in saturated fat and anything breaded. Instead head for noodle soups, congee, or stir-fried or braised vegetables with light sauce and noodles or rice. You can always ask for more veggies and eating with chopsticks will get more of the good stuff (veggies) and less of the less-nutritive stuff (the sauce) to your mouth.
5. Mexican Beans, tomatoes, avocado, chicken and shrimp have such potential to be a part healthy meal. But when wrapped and deep-fried, with gobs of cheese and sour cream, tips it off the healthy scale all together. Ask for cheese and sour cream on the side so you control it, and go for veggie and bean burrito or chicken options.
Lianne Phillipson-Webb is a registered nutritionist, author, and mom of two. She runs Sprout Right
, a Toronto-based nutrition company passionate abouth the health of mom, baby and family.