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Fast food: Healthy, low-calorie, low-sodium options for athletes?

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Lee Cleveland Updated
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If you’re serious about being in good shape, do you have to cut fast food from your diet?

Arizona Cardinals receiver John Brown insists he feels much better after giving up fast food.

(Image courtesy of Fortune)

“It was hard to give up because I used to eat it every day,” Brown told the Arizona Republic.

“Once I went to practice without fast food [in my stomach], I felt so much better. I don’t even look at restaurants any more. I’ve put on a lot of muscle, and I’m feeling stronger and better.”

It's imperative for boxers to watch their weight year round for obvious reasons but does an athlete in any sport have to stay away from fast food to eat totally healthy?

The answer is probably 'yes' but there are a lot of fast food options for athletes that are at least semi-healthy and won't put a wrench in your diet.

Tip: Watch the Sodium
Too often we focus on calories and fat grams and ignore sodium content. Always watch the sodium (i.e salty foods).

Why?

Salty foods cause an increase in water weight and can make you feel bloated.

“Eating salt does not directly increase body fat, but it can increase water retention, which would show up on the scale,” nutrition expert Lisa Moscovitz, R.D., CEO and founding dietitian of the NY Nutrition Group told Women's Health.

“If you start to eliminate the salt, you will flush the water out, and the scale will go back down right away.”

 

Here are a few low-calorie/ (relatively) low sodium fast food ideas....

Burger King /BK Veggie
No trans fat and less than 1,000 mg of sodium

Taco Bell / Shredded Chicken Burrito
960 mg of sodium and just 400 calories.

Subway / Many options; The secret is to pile on the veggies and keep the sauces, dressing and cheese to a minimum.

One can easily consume a six-inch turkey breast with swiss cheese, veggies and vinegar, and stay under 400 calories

Chik-Fil-A / Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap
At 340 calories and has 36 grams of protein, you can't go wrong.

McDonalds / Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Whatever you do, stay away from those yummy but deadly fries. The above sandwich contains just 360 calories and 930 mg of sodium. A much better choice!

 
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