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Instead of having to prepare meals ourselves, many of us would prefer to have someone serve us at a restaurant or deliver food to our car or door. We look to fast food chains and restaurants to do dirty work for us. Unfortunately, not only will these convenient meals take a toll on your budget, they can down right sabotage your diet!

A big problem concerning those of us who have fallen victim to convenient dining, is the lack of planning. What you may not realize is that many of these fast food chains and restaurants serve you more than one portion size, and they add tons of oils and preservatives to your food. By not preparing your own food, you are letting someone else control your diet.

Here are some tips to help you make healthy choices even when you’re on the go:

1. Get in the habit of cooking your own meals. Realistically, you may not be able to eat a home cooked meal every night, but you can set aside one night a week to prepare a large meal that can last you two or three days. Try adding grilled chicken, to large bowl of whole wheat pasta and mix it with some spices and a low fat sauce. Recipes like this work well since they can stay fresh for a few days and they are easy to make.

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2. Many of these fast food chains and restaurants offer a nutrition guide on the food they sell. Keep a copy of the nutrition guide for the food you usually stop for in your car. These guides will let you know how much fat and how many calories you are consuming. Since a lot of convenience food has a lot of empty calories with no nutritional value you may not feel full after these meals. It is a good idea to choose items off the menu that are high in fiber, so you will feel satisfied longer.

3. Many fast food chains are now offering salads and fruit platters. These options may seem healthier but if you check the nutritional information, some salad dressings can pack more fat than a double cheese burger! Ask instead for a low fat dressing or a vinaigrette as a healthier alternative.

4. Also, don’t forget about the sugary fruit juices and the free refill trap! Drinking water with your meals will help fill you up quicker and it’s free!

Leading a busy lifestyle makes it hard to find time to eat right. By taking small steps like these you can start to gain the control back over your diet!

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