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Alzheimer’s Prevention On the Go: Is There Really such a Thing as Healthy Fast Food?

Posted by on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Healthy fast food sounds like an oxymoron and for those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, healthy eating is so important that learning how to select nutritious foods when eating out is a vital part of self care. But are there really healthy fast food restaurants available when we need to eat out in a hurry, and if so what are the healthiest selections on the menu for Alzheimer’s nutrition?

fast food truth in Alzheimer's prevention

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Proper nutrition is important for people in every stage of life, but it is particularly important for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. And it can be a real challenge when choosing a restaurant to eat out at.

Alzheimer’s nutrition involves eating a well-balanced diet that includes vegetable, fruit, fish, grass fed low fat meat, nuts and legumes, and whole grains – avoiding saturated fats, fried foods, and refined sugar.

Since it seems there is an epidemic of sugar and saturated fat addiction in our country, finding the right food choices and implementing weight loss choices when going out to a restaurant can be a real challenge.  But if you know what to look for, you will find that it is still possible to eat a heart and brain healthy diet, even at some of the more popular fast food restaurants.

fast food nation - unhealthy eating for Alzheimer's Prevention

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If you keep in mind that brain healthy foods such as dark and leafy vegetables provide antioxidant content, cold water fish (which has been found in research to promote Alzheimer’s prevention) with Omega-3s, whole grains such as brown rice which provide low glycemic index good carbs, and nuts for healthy fatty acids and protein, then you will find you can eat out at a few select places.

Some other good rules to follow are to avoid foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, too much sugar or foods that have a lot of sodium. Many of these bad ingredients are hidden at restaurants and can be difficult to identify. Feel free to ask for a list of ingredients, which many fast food restaurants will supply.

Making smart choices when eating out does not have to be difficult. Just remember that most restaurants serve portions that are far too large and have way too many calories and fat content for a healthy diet. The key is not only eating nutritious foods, but avoiding Trans fats, which are commonly found in fried and overly processed foods to keep your brain and heart healthier.

So what should those with  Alzheimer’s  and heart disease be eating when they go out?  In general, eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and healthy protein sources such as grilled fish,  and controlling portions is a good start. For instance, ordering a hamburger is not so bad if you avoid the mayonnaise, cheese, french fries, and soda and the bun is whole wheat. Substitute a salad for fries and drink water instead of soda. Soda is one of the most common sources of high calories in America because it very accessible and convenient. Many people forget to count the calories in their drinks when considering a healthier diet. 

A grilled or broiled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun (minus the mayo)  is another good option when eating out. Be sure to avoid batter dipped fried chicken or fish patties. Sandwich shops and Mexican restaurants can also be good choices, because both menus usually offer an abundance of vegetables, high protein food sources such as beans, and a lot of mix and match options. 

The primary thing to remember it’s more important what, not where you eat.  One example is a comparison of a meal purchased at McDonalds consisting of a grilled chicken sandwich, compared to a salad at a local Chili’s grill. The results surprised many consumers as the McDonalds grilled chicken turned out to be healthier than the salad meal. 

best and worst fast food for Alzheimer's nutrition

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 When dining out make sure to pay attention to the portion sizes. Try eating half of your meal and get a doggy bag to take the other half home to eat later. If you pay close attention to the menu and make heart and brain healthy choices, then going out to eat can be part of a healthy Alzheimer’s prevention lifestyle.

Be aware that recent research suggests that eating even one meal of a high fat, high sugar diet at a fast food restaurant can wreck havoc on your health, so it’s imperative that good choices are made for those with Alzheimer’s disease when eating out. Remember that eating lunch with a friend actually promotes Alzheimer’s prevention, so now that you armed with information, go ahead and make those restaurant reservations! 



For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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