Even the most health-conscious among us have to visit fast food restaurants on occasion. When that happens, it’s important to know how to make the best choices on the menu.
For example, a salad may seem like a healthy option, but many come smothered in cheese, croutons and fried noodles. Plus, parfaits and wraps can have more calories than a burger.
1. Check the Nutrition Information
The quality of an individual’s diet has a direct impact on their health. Eating a diet rich in fast food can cause an increase in blood sugar and salt levels, can lead to inflammation and can prevent nutrient absorption. It may also lead to excessive weight gain, which can cause heart disease and other diseases.
A fast food restaurant is a type of limited service dining establishment that offers foods prepared quickly. These restaurants can offer sit-down service, counter service, take-out and drive-thru options. Some of these restaurants provide a selection of healthy menu items, but pizza, hamburgers and fries are still the most popular choices.
As fast food restaurants adapt to the needs of their customers, they are offering more healthier meal options. Many restaurants now have calorie information available online for their food offerings, so it is easier to make wise eating decisions. For example, it is important to check the nutrition facts on French fries because they can be high in fat and calories.
2. Check the Calories
While avoiding fast food is the best option, sometimes it’s necessary. And fortunately, it’s also possible to find health-conscious choices when you do have to stop at the drive-thru.
Calories are a key factor to consider when selecting fast food items. Many fast food restaurants have begun listing calorie counts on their menus, but the accuracy of these numbers can be questionable. For example, a recent experiment by Business Insider used a bomb calorimeter to determine the true calories in several popular fast food items. The results were eye-opening.
A high-calorie diet can have a negative impact on health, especially when it’s combined with unhealthy fats and sodium. In addition, many fast food options are low in fiber and whole grains, which can lead to a variety of health problems over time. Try to eat fast food only occasionally, and be sure to choose healthy add-ons such as salads (be careful with creamy dressings) or baked or grilled items instead of fried ones.
3. Check the Fat
Fast food can be convenient, but it also may be high in calories, salt and fat. This can negatively impact health in the short and long term. Eating too much fast food can lead to high blood pressure, inflammation and a lack of essential nutrients.
It is best to limit how often you visit a fast food restaurant, but when you do, choose healthier options. Many chain restaurants post nutritional information on their websites. If you can, try to select items that are low in saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars.
Be aware of portion size and avoid supersized or value-sized meals, as these will usually provide twice as many calories as smaller sizes. Choose grilled or lean meats instead of fried options and be careful about adding on high-fat sauces, spreads and dressings. If possible, sit down to eat your meal so you can focus on your hunger and fullness cues. This will help you make more mindful choices.
4. Check the Sodium
When it comes to sodium, people tend to underestimate how much they eat at restaurants. In fact, when participants in one study were asked to estimate the amount of salt in their meal, they were six times too low. This is likely because consumers are used to cooking at home and adding their own salt, which differs from the added sodium in fast food meals.
The researchers also found that women and Asian adults were better at estimating the sodium content of their meal. However, their estimates were still significantly less accurate than those of men and Caucasians. These results indicate that policies mandating the provision of sodium information on menu boards could help correct consumer underestimation, particularly for meals with high sodium content.
You can also try to avoid eating at fast food chains that don’t publish nutritional information online. Instead, look for a reputable site that offers a 먹튀검증 process.