We all know that fast food is unhealthy, and that it’s filled with added fats and sodium. However this doesn’t alter the fact that it’s also very convenient (fast in fact as the name suggests), very satisfying, filling and unfortunately delicious. Although it’s bad for us the salt makes fast food seem stronger in flavour than many healthier alternatives, while the fat also adds flavour and means it sits in the stomach longer creating the impression of being fuller for longer.
The truth is though that not all fast food is made equal. You don’t have to completely ban yourself from all fast foods as long as the ones you eat aren’t the very worst kinds, and as long as you eat them in reasonable quantities. So how do you know which fast food should absolutely be avoided and which is kind of okay? Here we’ll look into the dilemma in more detail.
The Unhealthiest Fast Food
Fast food is bad because it’s covered in fat and added salt and sugar and is often made up of a lot of carbs. This means that the worst fast food is that with the most of both. Your regular beef burger for instance is very unhealthy as it is normally deep fat fried and comes with lots of bread and large portions of chips (also fat fried) which mean lots of carbs. Furthermore beef is already a quite fatty meat, and many of the benefits of getting the protein are often lost as the beef is processed meaning that it’s often used from all the left over pieces of meet rather than a joint.
To look for healthier alternatives then there are several things you can do. For instance you can eat burgers that use chicken instead of beef burgers. In some cases you can also get beef burgers that are made from real joints of beef and sometimes even those that are grilled rather than fried. While this still isn’t quite as healthy as a chicken burger, it is still a lot healthier.
The downside with chicken burgers when you have them is that they often come smothered in mayonnaise and though this is actually delicious, it is also very fattening. To make the burgers as healthy as possible then, you should ask for them to hold the mayonnaise.
And then there are other things you can do to avoid making it as unhealthy as it could be. One is to avoid ‘super-sizing’ and to make do with the smaller meal. Another is to choose not to have chips – MacDonald’s and some other fast food chains even offer you small pieces of apple instead of chips which is a good option in terms of health. You should also be careful choosing your drink and avoid soft drinks – even Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi isn’t going to be as good for you as getting water or juice and the artificial sweeteners in these alternatives can make you crave more food.
Other Fast Foods
Other fast foods are also quite unhealthy and these include Chinese takeaways or Curries, both of which involve a lot of frying in fats. Worst of all is kebab which is the worst cuts of meat covered in oil in a large slice of bread. Kentucky Fried Chicken is also unhealthy even though it’s chicken as the skin is literally dripping in fat. Ironically here the healthiest options are the burgers but also the crispy strips and the ‘popcorn chicken’. These are drier and that means that they haven’t seen as much fat.
The Healthier Alternative
If you are on a night out or in a hurry and you want a cheap, quick snack then, what do you eat? A great solution is to eat some kind of baguette, such as those purchased from a Subway. Subway are particularly good baguettes if you’re looking for a healthier fast food alternative as they allow you to build your own subs by choosing each thing that goes into their creation. This then means they can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you create them. Have something like tuna as your filling in order to ensure you are getting some lean protein, or chicken, add salad and other similar fillings, don’t get it toasted or add cheese/sauces, and have it all on a brown bread with an Oasis rather than than a pop drink.
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