As a rule, most fast foods are not healthy choices. Portions tend to be over-generous, even more so with the trend to ‘another 20% free’ offers and ‘jumbo’ sizes for very little extra money. It’s generally high in fat and calories and is excessively salty. These two factors alone make fast food a fat-inducing way of eating.
The whole atmosphere in fast food restaurants is geared towards eating FAST, eating in you car or eating while you walk. It promotes over eating, to much food too quickly and you are unable to digest your food correctly – a real trap for anyone with a weight problem.
Remember foods that are deep-fried will be using fats that are high in saturated fats or trans-fatty acids, try to at least choose fats-food that use canola oils for deep-frying.
Here are the best choices if you’re out and about and the only choice is fast foods:
Salad bars have sprung up everywhere and are by far the healthiest and more versatile fast-food option. They offer a brilliant level of variety making it is easy to get a healthy meal quickly. Like any food you can still make bad choices so go for a high protein salad with lots of vegetable and choose from one of the low-fat dressing options.
Sushi, sashimi or California rolls are almost fat-free, these seaweed-wrapped rice rolls filled with tuna, cucumber or avocado is a godsend. Just go easy with the salty soy sauce. Sashimi with a miso soup is the best option.
Some stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables can be greasy unless you’ve tried them before, but the clear soup with noodles from Japanese or Asian food bars are generally a great choice – warming, filling and with very little fat. To increase the protein, order yours with tofu or seafood.
Look for plain burgers served in at an ‘old-fashioned’ burger joint where the bun is toasted and you get tomato, lettuce and beetroot with the meat patty. Steer clear of double or triple burgers from the chains, which stack on the fat and calories for inactive types. You don’t need the ones with egg, bacon and cheese. Even better for a low-carbohydrates option, don’t eat the bun, it will be messy!!
Lebanese/Turkish meat on the spit
This can be a good choice, as the fat drips away from the rotating spit roast and you get plenty of salad, tabouleh and hummus with the (low –fat) flatbread. The meat although the fat is dripping away is still not the best quality so the vegetarian or falafel option is better.
A crusty roll (multigrain or wholemeal) filled with ham, chicken, tuna, lean roast beef, and lean roast lamb with lots of salad makes a good lunch for busy workers. Try not to buy ones with loads of mayonnaise, spreads or cheese. Instead go for avocado, mustards, goat’s cheese, cottage cheese or chutney and no butter. But be warned it is still high in refined carbohydrates
Every Asian food bar does things differently so it helps to try one out and see how they compare. Some healthier choices are:
- Chinese – stir-fry pork or beef with vegetables, stir-fry chicken with vegetables, corn and chicken soup, clear soup with noodles, or san choy bau.
- Thai – Thai beef salad, beef or chicken satays, dry curries (without coconut milk) all served with jasmine rice and steamed vegetables.
- Vietnamese – clear hot sour soup (pho) with chicken or beef, chicken vermicelli soup, seafood and vegetable combination, served with rice or thin noodles. Or rice paper rolls filled with vegetable or seafood.