We all have done it - actually 50 Million Americans eat fast food each day. Instead of choosing a salad at home or a meal prep dinner, we were so tired from work or an event that we drive right up to the fast food line. Of course we all know this is usually a poor health choice so how can you start making better food choices?
1. Identify the ProblemHonestly there is someone right now reading this blog and saying "fast food is not bad for me". And while yes, you get salads and steer away from sweets, fast food is still overwhelmingly filled with high carbs, high fats, trans fats, sugar, and other processed ingredients. The first step to stop eating unhealthy fast food is to see it as unhealthy.
2. Look for certain "Buzzwords"When you are in line, look for the words "braised broiled, steamed, or baked". As you can see these menu items usually start with "b". If you see certain words such as "mayo, dressing, creamy, sauce, etc" ask for it on the side or consider taking off of your meal all together.
According to registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, "I have some clients who say they'll only eat salad if they can use dressing. That can add a lot of calories, sodium, sugar, and saturated fat". Skip the thousand island dressing for a lighter vinaigrette.
3. Consider Your PortionsUse this tool to learn more about what makes a portion. According to that link, portions have increased exponentially since 1985. Americans are consuming 300 more calories = about 1 pound gained every 2 weeks time or 25+ pounds in a year without any physical activity changes. Click here to learn what a serving size is for each food group and for examples of what is considered "okay".
For example, by choosing a small fry order instead of a larger option, you quickly can save 400 calories! Or A double cheeseburger has 300+ more calories than a single. You can eat what you want if it is a smaller portion.
4. Know the "good foods"When eating out, smart choices matter. Choose the low-fat, low calories foods and you are already making healthier choices. Here are some examples of healthy foods:
Overall, it can be hard to curve our appetite and stop eating unhealthy fast food. I definitely eat at Chipotle way more than I care to admit. What is your favorite fast food place? Comment below & read on for more healthy food tips.
4th year medical school student applying for GA residency programs? Wanting to stay in Georgia after medical school graduation? Below is a complete list of all Georgia graduate medical education (GME) programs as of 2019. We anticipate all our these programs entering the Match:
Have you ever helped someone else? I mean truly helped them? Do you remember what that felt like? For me, it has always been an unforgettable experience. One of the main reasons I wanted to become a physician is to help other people achieve better health. Yes I knows this sounds cliche. We have all read a personal statement proclaiming “I want to help other people”, but sometimes the answer is really that simple.
Volunteering was always a constant part of my life. My father served in the military for over 20 years and my family often had to make sacrifices to live the military lifestyle. We moved over five times during my childhood but I would not have had it any other way. I was always shown how my father’s service was helping others and from these experiences, I began to understand more and more about serving the community around me and even more about myself.
This is one important reason to volunteer: You can get to know yourself better as a person and grow from volunteering experiences. One of my favorite quotes is from JRR Tolkein as it says “It’s a dangerous business, going out of your door, you step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” I love this quote because it directly relates to a medical journey. For me, volunteering taught me to appreciate the things I take for granted in life. Volunteering showed me what I do and do not like to devote my effort to – good and bad. I was not being paid or required to be there and nevertheless I enjoyed myself. Giving back helped me discover my love for elderly populations and Geriatrics through hospice volunteering. I was able to form relationships with people that were often isolated in the nursing home and I would otherwise never meet. I began to appreciate more about my circumstances by interacting with those with greater needs than mine.
Another great reason to volunteer is to learn more about the world around you. Volunteering can teach you more about things that you are inexperienced with such as different cultures, foreign languages, and other skills. First hand conversations with various groups can change your world views and help you develop new solutions to everyday problems. We always see societal problems on television and in the media, and many volunteer programs attempt to alleviate poverty, save the environment, or raise money for scientific research. When you faithfully volunteer you get to be apart of that process. Serving in these areas and many more, can give you a behind-the-scenes look into the issues that plague our society. Issues often become more real when witnessed up-close and volunteers can benefit from new learned experiences.
In addition to new relationships and perspective, continuous and dedicated service can help you develop new skill sets. Just because it is unpaid work, does not mean you are not learning new things in a team environment, planning, and organizing your schedule. You often have to be on time, coordinate events, and perform other duties often associated with a job when volunteering. This is why jobs are starting to look more and more about resumes that include volunteering. An education is essential and unique skills awesome, but volunteer work is now related to professionalism as many employers look at it almost as another type of job experience. When you volunteer, you might come away from the experience knowing how to do something new! For example, teaching underserved children in a classroom could help future teachers learn more about child learning and what is efficient in a classroom. Similarly, I volunteered with homeless populations to understand more about at-risk patient populations and what their health needs are. Overall, there are so many volunteering agencies now, that you can acquire almost any skill you want as a volunteer while simultaneously making an impact. In all, service can change how you interact with others, build leadership skills, and shows you care about making a change.
Ultimately, if you aren’t currently volunteering, look into getting involved with a cause you care about. Not only can you find out more about yourself, build skills, and learn more about other groups, but the altruistic benefits are worth it. Try committing to volunteering even just once a month and then decide which groups are right for you. I personally enjoyed hospice volunteering, teaching, and medically related services. To find out more about volunteering visit these sites to get an idea of how you can help you community:
Tell us in the comments about where you volunteer and why. We love to feature stories from time to time and may reach out to you. Thank you for all you do!