Fast food has a reputation for being unhealthy and the number one cause of weight gain in a society that values wellness. However, as our knowledge of nutrition should advance, so does the fast food industry. It’s difficult to follow a healthy diet in the face of the temptation that is fast food restaurants. Fast food is regarded to be low in nutrients, and lacking in healthy options such as fruit and vegetables. Those with busy lifestyles and time constraints are more inclined to choose fast food. However, contrary to the widely held belief that fast food is unhealthy, it can actually be beneficial to health.
Fast food restaurants have ultimately helped in losing weight. Fast food chains offer lighter menu options which tend to be lower in calories. Items labeled as light or low-calorie are helpful when striving for a calorie deficit to lose face or body fat. These options are typically salads, grilled chicken sandwiches, and wraps. The menu also offers options that are grilled and baked, rather than just fried, including lean meat (grilled chicken, fish) that are lower in calories compared to fried options such as chicken nuggets.
Fast food also offers the advantage of customization. Eating the same meal daily can be tiring, and can tamper with the motivation to become healthier. But, websites offer fast food calculators such as Fast Food Nutrition, where one can calculate the number of calories, fat, sugar, and sodium in a meal. Items that you typically order can contain a high amount of sodium and calories. But, the fast food calculator helps compare meals that you regularly order to meals that you can still enjoy, but with lower intakes of calories and fat.
Protein-packed options such as beef, turkey, and fish all aid in boosting metabolism and preserving muscle mass. Salad bowls also offer lots of vegetables such as chicken where one can also ask for lighter dressings. Fast food chains also offer veggie-based options such as burgers or plant-based options. These choices are lower in saturated fat and calories compared to meat-based options. However, all goals come with a sacrifice. Fruit cups and side salads which are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals can help satisfy the craving French fries.
Recently, fast food has emerged to offer more than just hamburgers or chicken nuggets. Fast food can even be in the shape of a sushi container, or a banana-chocolate chip smoothie. Researching fast food restaurants in your area beforehand allows fast food to help in your diet.
Although fast food shouldn’t make up the bulk of your diet, it can be challenging to choose a healthier option if you have a craving or are out with your friends or family. Therefore, fast food chains have offered healthier menu alternatives with nutritional information to assist consumers in making smart decisions. By understanding how fast food can also be considered healthy, we can redefine the narrative around fast food.