Fast Food: Are
you making the right choice?
If you've noticed the recent introduction of rolls,
salads and wraps at your favourite fast food outlet -
or you've seen their advertising (hard to miss if you
watch TV!) - you've quite possibly assumed that these
'non-burger' menu items are healthy and suitable for
a weight loss diet.
But did you know that some of these supposedly 'healthy'
items contain more than 20g of fat and over 500 calories?
That's as much as a Big Mac!
Read on to learn more about making wise choices.
Fast food know-how
Our tips will help you keep your calorie intake under
control without sacrificing your fast food experience.
Don't be fooled by words like 'fresh' or 'flame-grilled'.
Flame-grilled food may be drowned in fat before grilling.
And fresh...well that can mean anything! The food could
be 'fresh' looking, 'freshly' cooked (in fat!), and so
Skip the mayonnaise, tartare sauce, cheese and other
special extras. Add a little mustard or tomato sauce
instead if you need a flavour enhancer
Most fast food servings are oversized. Boris Kazakov,
CalorieKing.com.au dietitian, recommends choosing the
smallest serving size. "You can always order more
food if you are genuinely still hungry," he reminds
Skip the high-fat side dishes (such as fries, onion
rings, or garlic bread), have a garden salad instead,
with reduced-fat or nonfat dressing
If you must have fries, order the smallest serving size
and share them with a friend
Order the smallest size soft drink and avoid unlimited
refills. Choose water or diet drinks
Generally fast foods are high in sodium, so drink plenty
of extra water to reduce the affects, such as fluid retention
and excessive thirst
Watch out for battered, crumbed, 'crunchy', breaded,
or fried menu items, these will usually be high in fat
Take the 'fast' out of fast food and eat your meal slowly.
Enjoy what you're eating and stop when your hunger is
Although home-prepared foods will usually win out nutritionally
over fast foods, sometimes you're pushed for time or
on the run and fast food is the most convenient option.
So if you do choose fast food, it makes sense to be prepared
and know which choices are better for you. The next few
sections of this article will help you identify smarter
McDonalds - Deli Choices
Although McDonalds may imply that their Deli Choices
range of "delicious and wholesome gourmet rolls" (to
quote from McDonalds' website) is a healthier choice,
words like 'wholesome' don't provide any guarantee of
low-fat or low-calorie food. In fact, only three of the
Deli Choice rolls have less than 10g of fat. Be aware
that the Chicken Caesar roll and Bacon and Egg roll both
have more calories than a Big Mac and nearly as much
fat (Big Mac: 480 cals; 2010 kJ; 24.9g fat).
Unlike the Salads Plus range (which does have 10g fat
or less), you'll need to choose wisely from the Deli
|Turkey and Cranberry
|Not so good choices
|Bacon and Egg
|Meal: Big Mac, large fries, large coke
Hungry Jacks – Baguettes
With sayings like "We're all about fresh", Hungry Jacks
seems to be trying to lighten up its image. The new range
of baguettes on offer implies a healthier alternative
to burgers, but are they? Three of their baguettes stack
up okay, but the Country Chicken baguette has 660 calories
and nearly 35g fat, around the same as a Whopper (655
cals; 2740 kJ; 39.3g fat).
|Steak Sandwich (only available some states)
|Not so good choices
|Meal: Whopper, large fries, large coke
Boris also points out the 'salad trap'. While salad
can be a healthy choice (eg. Caesar Chicken Salad: 310
cals; 1300 kJ; 15g fat), when you start adding full-fat
dressings the figures change dramatically - 444 cals;
1860 kJ; 28g fat. That's more calories and fat than a
Subway – 6g of Fat or Less and Carb-Conscious
Subway has established itself in the fast-food market
as an alterative to the usual burger and fries. They
offer 7 types of rolls with 6g of fat or less, but you
need to stick to their guidelines and avoid adding cheese,
oil or mayonnaise.
Don't be fooled into thinking that all of Subway's products
are low-fat. For instance, some of their 'Carb-Conscious'
wraps - although low in carbohydrates - contain about
as much fat as that Big Mac.
|Savoury Turkey & Ham
|Honey Mustard Ham
|Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki
|Carb Conscious Turkey Wrap
|Not so good choices
|Carb Conscious Tuna Wrap
|Carb Conscious Turkey & Bacon Melt Wrap
|Carb Conscious Chicken & Bacon Ranch Wrap
Moral of the story
Whichever your favourite fast food outlet is, there are
bound to be good and not-so-good choices. Take care not
to make assumptions about menu items. If you're skipping
the burger to have a roll or salad, you might well be
sacrificing your preferred choice for no benefit, weight-watching
However, while some of these alternative choices may
be no lower in calories than a burger, chances are you're
still getting more nutrients, more fibre, and more vegetables
than if you choose a greasy hamburger.
So be aware of what you're eating and check your Pocket
Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter or our Food Database
for nutritional information before ordering. You can
also ask restaurant staff for nutritional information
and food preparation details, and many companies list
details on their website.
So the moral of the story is...don't give up on 'healthier'
fast food options, just choose wisely!
Reproduced with permission from CalorieKing.com.au. All material copyright CalorieKing.com.au