Womens Health

Fast Food Facts

We’ve all done it – ran to the local burger joint, pizza place or hot dog stand to grab a quick bite on the go. In truth, it can often be a challenge to find healthy eating alternatives when you’re in a rush.

However, while indulging in fast food every once and while is understandable, eating it on a regular basis can pose the risk of serious health problems down the line. That is why it is so important to be aware of exactly what it is that you’re eating, so that you can be better informed about the choices you make. In addition, there are simple things you can do to ensure your fast food choices are as healthy as possible.


Fast Food Nutrition Facts

Whether we’re at the mall, amusement park or simply running errands, fast food restaurants present us with an easy option for a quick hunger fix. However, it can often be difficult to discern the healthy alternatives from the unhealthy ones – especially since many notoriously unhealthy restaurants are now offering lighter menu selections.

So just how to tell the good from the bad? Here are a few quick facts to help you understand just how difficult it can be:


  • Even though it is no secret that hamburgers are not highly ranked on the healthy food guide, we though we’d refresh your memory on the nutrition facts: one oversized burger with cheese can add up to more than 700 calories, 40 grams of fat and more than 1,800 milligrams of sodium.


  • Although chicken might seem like a low fat alternative, you should be aware that its nutritional value varies significantly from place to place, with one outlet offering a chicken sandwich containing 550 calories and a whopping 30 grams of fat, and another carrying a healthier option of 315 calories and only 6 grams of fat – however, it still contains a hefty 1 000 milligrams of sodium.


  • Submarines are another fast food claiming to be a healthy option for those on the run. However, even the supposedly good-for-you subs can be surprisingly unhealthy; for example, a 6-inch tuna fish sub offered at one sandwich chain contains some 24 grams of fat, meaning its larger 12-inch version weighs in at a startling 48 grams of fat.


How to Eat Healthy Even When On-the-Go

Of course, just because the menus can be deceiving doesn’t mean you don’t have a choice when it comes to making healthier selections at your local fast food stop. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that there are many common, lighter alternatives to some of your favorite fast foods.

Average values for typical fast food menu items; lighter alternatives are listed in pale yellow.
Two patty hamburger 570 32
Regular hamburger (no cheese) 300 10
Bowl of chili (meat) 270 9
Taco 195 11
Chicken Sandwich (breaded and fried 550 30
Charbroiled chicken sandwich 315 6
Pizza (deluxe)- 2 slices 600 20
Pizza (vegetarian) - 2 slices 500 10
Breakfast sandwich (egg, sausage, cheese) 480 30
Pancake breakfast (no butter, syrup only) 360 8
Salad (1 packet, regular dressing) 150 11
Salad (1 packet, light dressing) 60 2

In addition, try these simple tips when making your next fast food selection:


  • Do your homework first. Ask for pamphlets, or any other information the restaurant can offer you regarding the nutritional information of their menu items. If these are not available, be sure to contact your local head office for details or check out the food chain’s website.
  • Think of how it’s prepared. Foods that are fried or breaded will almost always have a higher fat content and calorie count.
  • Watch your portions. Forget supersizing! Also, steer clear of double burgers and large side dishes.
  • Go light on the dressing. In addition to choosing lighter salad dressings, try to avoid hefty condiment portions – particularly mayonnaise. Instead, ask for all of your sauces on the side and ration yourself.


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