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Facts about fast food

Things to remember when you're eating out.

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Sometimes life gets so hectic with studying and socializing that you find that you have no time to prepare food yourself and so end up eating out or grabbing food on the run a lot. If this is the case, choose wisely and opt for healthier fast food options.

Pizza and pasta

  • Starchy foods like pasta, bread and pizza bases are excellent foods to fill up on.
  • Thick crust pizzas are healthier than thin crust pizzas. They're more filling, so you'll eat proportionally more base and less topping.
  • Pasta is good for you, and very filling. Pasta is sometimes thought to be high in fat, but it isn't the pasta, it's the cream sauces that go with it!
  • A simple tomato sauce is a traditional low fat pasta topping. For a healthier option: tomato-based sauces made with vegetables, fish or lean meat are the ones to go for, instead of the butter, cream and cheese-based sauces.

Sandwiches and jackets

  • All brown bread, especially wholemeal, is good for you.
  • A lot of fat in sandwiches can come from butter, margarine, mayonnaise, or oil-based dressing.
  • Potatoes are an excellent source of starch, and if eaten with the skins are a good source of fibre.
  • Keep fatty baked potato fillings like cheese or sour cream as a treat and when you do have them, try not to have butter as well.
  • Don't forget there are plenty of sandwich fillings which are healthier choices, e.g. lean meats like ham, beef, pork, turkey, chicken tikka, tuna without mayonnaise, sardines, sliced egg, cottage cheese and edam.

A selection of brown breads.

Any brown bread will do!

What about a burger or kebab?

  • The amount of fat your burger contains partly depends on how it's cooked. Grilled burgers can actually be quite lean, but burgers fried will contain a lot more fat.
  • A skinless chicken shish kebab in a pitta with loads of salad is lean and filling. Give the chips a miss and you've got a balanced healthy meal.
  • Any coated and deep-fried foods will be relatively high in fat. The best advice is probably to eat them and thoroughly enjoy them, just not too often!
  • Most of the fat in chicken is just beneath the skin; take the skin off and you also take a lot of the fat off.
  • Frying any food in batter or breadcrumbs means it will absorb fat. It is therefore advisable to grill or oven cook chicken. Skinless chicken is also a healthier choice than coated, deep-fried chicken.
  • In restaurants choose grilled skinless chicken served in a bun. Add plenty of salad to get the balance right.

Fancy fish and chips?

  • The thicker the chip, the less fat it absorbs during the cooking.
  • Homemade thick-cut chips contain around half the fat of thinner cut chips.
  • Homemade thick-cut chips usually contain about 7% fat. Thinner cut chips usually contain around 15% fat.
  • Oven chips is a good option if you're cooking chips at home. Usually they contain less than 5% fat.
  • Fish is a healthy option, and with potatoes make a filling nutritious meal. Fried in batter though, it can contain a lot of fat. Why not ask for bread, mushy peas or baked beans to fill up and get the balance right?
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Published January 2nd, 2013
Last updated October 30th, 2015
Tags fast food fatty foods healthy eating
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