Eat This, Not That

Embrace a New You This New Year

More than 36% of American adults eat fast food in a day. While it may be the quick, convenient and sometimes the only option for easy meals, fast food is not usually a wise addition to your day-to-day diet. When you do eat at these chains, focus on less processed, healthier alternatives on the menu. This new year, embrace healthy eating and focus on maintaining smart eating habits when dining at fast-food restaurants. 

We’ve put together a list of some fast food favorites from our hometown to help you make better, smarter decisions when you’re on the run. It’s always important to know what your goals are, whether it’s cutting carbs, avoiding saturated fats or lowering your sodium intake. The recommendations below might not work for the diet you’re on, but think of this as a start to making healthier choices when you’re “driving thru.” Check out these helpful tips below, inspired by the original book series “Eat This, Not That” by David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding.


Need to grab a quick bite? McDonald’s is often a go-to fast-food choice since it’s inexpensive and around every corner. If McDonald’s is the best option at the moment, there are several things on the menu that provide your body with much-needed nutrients and include fewer calories than other menu items. Consider ordering one of the following:

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal – A great option that’s completely customizable, this oatmeal is the perfect choice to start your day off right. Even if you don’t customize, this delicious breakfast is under 350 calories and contains 6 grams of protein!

A plain hamburger – Though it may not be the most exciting thing on the menu, a plain hamburger will keep you full. Plus, when you skip the fries, you’re skipping the added sodium, instead enjoying a meal that’s just 250 calories and contains 13 grams of protein. For a carb-reducing elimination for your burger, consider ditching the bun and enjoying just a patty, which saves 28 grams of carbs!


There’s a reason this fan-favorite food and beverage chain is so popular. With thousands of customizable drink choices and easy snack options, Sonic is a great after-school or work destination. Next time you’re pulling up to your favorite drive-in, consider ordering one of these healthier drink choices!

  • Diet Limeade – This sugar-free drink is great for soda lovers looking to avoid caffeine, sugar and extra calories. If you want a boost in flavor, try the diet Cherry Limeade.
  • Unsweet Iced Tea – If you’re craving an ice-cold drink without carbonation, try an unsweet ice tea!

Taco Bell

Good news for Taco Bell fans: everything on their menu is customizable, and you can swap out any cheese, sour cream, mayo-based sauces and guacamole for fresh pico de gallo simply by asking for your order to come “fresco style.” This will automatically reduce unnecessary fat consumption by up to 25%! Take the “Crunchy Taco Supreme,” usually 190 calories, but when ordered “fresco style”, you’ll save 50 calories.


Did you know that Subway is the most widely operated fast-food chain in the world with almost 40,000 locations? With wraps, sandwiches and salads, Subway remains a great option when looking to eat healthier when dining out. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your order:

  • Ask for extra veggies on your sandwich, and avoid orders of double meat.
  • Stick to generic condiments and avoid Subway’s pre-mixed dressings, which contain extra calories.
  • Order your sandwich “scooped.” Save unnecessary carbs and calories when you order your sandwich with the extra bread scooped from the middle!
  • Go “bunless” and order one of Subway’s salad options instead of a sub for a nutrient-filled meal that’s tasty and good for you.
  • Use the chain’s nutrition and allergy guide to compare add-ons and substitutions that may make your meal healthier.


There’s no doubt Chick-fil-A is one of the most popular fast-food chains, taking the nation by storm from 2000 to 2011, when it reached its level of current popularity. Fried chicken may not be your best bet at the restaurant—consider eating less chicken next time you visit. The local Chick-fil-A food truck in Gatesville gives diners the option to purchase salads. Chick-fil-A salads are full of nutrients and fresh ingredients, including nuts, fruit and grilled chicken. The Market Salad with no chicken is only 440 calories and includes mixed greens, apples and blueberries. 

Mexican Restaurants

If you’re craving Mexican, there are several ways to keep your meal low-fat and lower your calorie consumption. Stick to fajitas next time you’re at your favorite Mexican restaurant. Fajitas include grilled chicken, a healthy source of protein, and antioxidant-rich onions and peppers. Swap out the sour cream and cheese toppings on your tacos, burritos or bowls for guacamole, as avocados are loaded with healthy fats and vitamins

Next time you’re at your favorite fast-food restaurant, you now have the tools to make healthier choices to fuel your body. If you’re struggling with healthy eating and weight loss, it may be time to bring in the experts. Coryell Health has a range of surgical and non-surgical weight loss options. Our Ideal Protein Program is a physician-supervised weight loss program designed to get your eating back on track. If you still need support, we also offer surgical weight loss options led by Dr. David Gochnour, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon. Contact your primary care provider today to see which one is right for you. Take back control of your life with the help of Coryell Health.