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Hands up, who here likes fast food? Don’t be shy, you know you want to raise your hand! But can fast food ever be good for you? For a very long time, the term fast food has been associated with unhealthy foods that we should avoid in abundance. When you read the term, your mind instantly thinks of sloppy burgers and fries, pizzas covered in cheese, fried this and that, and other fatty delicious additive treats.
Needless to say, typical fast food is terrible for you. Why is this the case? Well, most fast-food chains and restaurants will have a few things in common that means their food is unhealthy:
- The food is fried
- The food is really high in saturated fat
- The food is really high in salt
- The food is exceedingly high in calories
- The food is often very processed
None of these things are good for you, which is why we’re discouraged from eating fast food all the time. Treating yourself to a burger or pizza is fine now and then, but we’ve certainly never ever seen fast food as being good for you.
Having said that…is this a possibility? Can fast food ever be good for you?
What can be considered fast food?
The term itself is synonymous with unhealthiness, but what exactly is fast food, and what can we consider to be fast food? Realistically, any food that is made quickly will come under this heading. For myself, that also has to include me being able to drive up to a building and not even having to get out of my car. It’s my favorite way to make dinner. lol In the food services industry, trends suggest that convenience is the number one sought-after thing by diners. As such, this means that making food quickly is a top priority. With that in mind, you can argue that healthy fast food might be able to exist.
It’s all about the ingredients and food preparation
What stops something from being considered fast food and also healthy? Well, it’s everything we mentioned earlier. The ingredients and the way the food is cooked will basically determine if something is healthy or not.
A fantastic example of healthy fast food is a falafel shop. You see these in quite a few places, and they serve up quick falafel wraps that you can make and customize. Falafel is just blitzed up chickpeas baked in the oven, and the wrap contains salad, some type of sauce, and that’s it. Everything is constructed within seconds, meaning it’s fast food. But, nothing is fried, the ingredients are natural, there’s low saturated fat, low salt, and it’s balanced in terms of calories!
Ideas for healthier choices
Starbucks has egg bites that are delicious and only 300 calories (it comes with 2 eggs). Subway has salads that are basically the sandwich without the bun and extra lettuce. Chic-fil-a has grilled chicken nuggets as an alternative to fried chicken nuggets. There are many mainstream fast food restaurants that you can find healthier choices. Check out this article for a good list of healthier fast food choices.
Effectively, you can get healthy fast food, you just need to know where to look. Ensure you understand the ingredients and nutritional information before you buy from somewhere. This means you get the convenience of fast food without the unhealthiness!
Also optionally, you can also make your own twist on classic fast food recipes at home. Homemade burgers will be infinitely healthier as you are in control of what goes into the meal and how it is cooked. You can choose fresh meat, fresh potatoes for the chips – which you can bake instead of frying in loads of oil – and so on. But if you are like me, being able to drive up to a window and magically pick up food is a bunch more fun and convenient!
So what do you think? Can fast food ever be good for you? All in all, fast food can be good for you if you choose the right stuff! All the greasy fatty stuff won’t be, but almost all modern-day fast-food chains offer healthier alternatives.
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