Usually the words “fast food” and “healthy” don't go together. However, with the fast-paced life many Americans live, taking the fast out of food isn't going to happen anytime soon. You can use these tips, though, to help ensure your fast food is as healthy as it can be.

Pay attention to menu descriptions. Dishes labeled pan-fried, basted, battered, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or cream are typically high in calories, unhealthy fat, and sodium. Look for foods that are baked, braised, grilled, broiled, poached, roasted, or steamed. Lean meats and vegetables are the healthiest choices.

Drink water with your meal. Water will help fill you up, so you are less likely to overeat. Water is also a calorie-free way to quench your thirst. Steer clear of sodas. They can pack as much as 425 calories for a 32-oz serving. If you must partake, choose diet varieties.

Undress your food. Order items without all the extras, such as spreads, cheese, sour cream, dressings, mayo, etc. Load your sandwich with more veggies. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise and add extra lettuce and tomato.

Don’t be afraid to special order. Most menu items can be made healthier. Ask for dishes to be made without sauces or “dry.”

Watch portion size. The average fast-food meal can be up to 1,000 calories! A typical single serving can provide enough calories and fat for two meals or even a day’s worth of fat and sodium! Below are some sample menu items that are good portion sizes.

Eat Mindfully. Savor every bite. It's easy to finish a sandwich without remembering the first bite, especially with fast food. Pay attention and enjoy every bite. Chew your food completely. Not only will you feel more satiated, but mindful eating will also relax you so that you can more easily digest your food.