Are there healthy fast-foods?
The short answer: YES. The long answer? You have to do your homework. These days, most fast-food restaurants offer alternative options for those looking for a lighter bite. The problem is, many of the so called ‘healthy’ menu items, such as salads, can actually be loaded with fat, sugar, and salt. The key to making wise choices is to know what to look for and what to avoid. Keep reading for our best healthy fast-food tips, including how to create delicious dishes in minutes with Zespri Green kiwifruit.
Take note of the nutrition
You may never have noticed it, but many fast-food restaurants publish detailed information relating to the nutritional value of their foods. If you can’t find a leaflet instore, take a look at the website. Often you can find out exactly how many calories each product contains, as well as how far it contributes to your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of certain vitamins and minerals. Be warned – it makes for interesting reading! Salads with creamy dressings and croutons can contain far more calories than a simply grilled burger. Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid sauces and extra toppings such as bacon and cheese.
Choose one main dish
The problem with fast-food eating is that we are often tempted to add a few extras to the order – that plate of fries or ice-cream dessert can be hard to resist once we’ve walked into the restaurant. The key here is to make keep things simple. Try to choose one balanced main dish that contains protein, as this will keep you fuller for longer. As for dessert, if there is fruit on offer then this is always a safe option, as long as you don’t go overboard with the cream and sugar. Better yet, pack a couple of Zespri Green kiwifruits in your bag and enjoy them on your walk home. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, and with only 81 kcal per 100g1-3, it is the very definition of a healthy fast-food!
Make your own
Let’s face it: fast food restaurants can be a lifesaver at times. There are some days when it just seems impossible to get everything done and still find time to cook. But if you’ve got half an hour to spare, it is possible to create your own versions of fast-food favourites. Not only can you ensure that the dishes are balanced and healthy, but you can feed the family for far less than it costs to eat out. Kids in the mood for a pizza? Take a look at this recipe for an extra crispy veggie packed pizza. Made with Zespri Green kiwifruit, it is full of fibre and kind to the digestive system – something you can’t always guarantee from restaurant fast-food!
- New Zealand Ministry of Health. New Zealand FOODfiles 2014 Version 01. Available from: www.foodcomposition.co.nz/ (accessed 10 January 2017)
- USDA national nutrient database for standard reference (release 28) 2015. Available from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/ (accessed 10 January 2017)
- There are a number of equations to calculate energy as noted by the European Commission (2014). This calculation refers to the European Commission legislature that calculates energy as total carbohydrate plus fibre. http://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/labelling_nutrition/labelling_legislation/index_en.htm