You're already ordering the diet soda. To make your fast-food meal even healthier, Hope Warshaw, R.D., a nutritionist based in Alexandria, Va., offers five more essential tips:
Study Your Options
Health advocates all across the U.S. are requesting legislation that would force chains to post calories and other nutrition facts on menus. Until that happens, many—including McDonald's and Burger King—are already providing the information on posters, tray liners, or on their Web sites. Check 'em out before you hit the drive-thru.
More for less isn't always best. Meal "deals" can push you to eat larger portions. Order a la carte. Your wallet may be lighter, but so will your waist.
The only thing it will do is super-size your ass. To stay lean, embrace the words regular, junior, small, and single—and avoid large, jumbo, double, and triple.
Avoid the Extras
Watch out for added toppings or "special sauces." Try lower-calorie ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce instead. If you absolutely need a burger with cheese, skip the bacon, mayo, and other fattening options, so you can at least taste the ingredients you really want.
"Stay," Don't "Go"
Sure, sitting down with your meal may take a bit more time. But you'll eat less. When you drive and eat, you barely notice the food passing through your lips, and are much more likely to either overeat or be hungry sooner than if you sit down and enjoyed your meal like a civilized person.
See Also: The Fittest (and Fattest) of the Fast