• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Heart-healthier choices at fast-food restaurants

November 6, 2018

More than 36 percent of American adults consume fast food on a given day, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But one Mayo Clinic expert says eating for convenience doesn't mean you have to sacrifice nutrition if you make the right dining decisions.

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Fast food often means unhealthy food.

"Most fast-food meals have too many calories and too much salt, and many of them have too much fat," says Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist.

But Dr. Hayes says there are heart-healthier choices you can make when looking up at the menu.

"In most places that are fast food, you can create a meal that may not be nutritiously excellent but may be nutritionally sound as part of a greater diet," she says.

It starts with beverages. Choose milk or water instead of soda, and cut down the calories you drink.

"More often, there is an option other than fries or other than chips," says Dr. Hayes. "You could get an apple or a piece of fruit."

Pick a broiled chicken sandwich versus fried. Or fill up on fiber by trying salad as an option, and limit the amount of dressing ...

"... and not getting dessert, not getting the fries, not getting the extra stuff and looking at the total calories for that meal," says Dr. Hayes.