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Fast food can be healthy too!
Dr Roopa Nishi Viswanathan |
June 06, 2005
ast food can be healthy.
You're thinking: really?
After all, you try so hard to stay away from junk food.
Generally, fast food is higher in calories, sodium and fat. It often lacks important vitamins and minerals. Fast food may also include too much fat, salt or sugar, all of which give the food its poor reputation.
It may not be the healthiest option, but fast food is definitely the quickest and the most convenient one. It is also light on your pocket. Fast food can be conjured up pretty speedily without too many ingredients or too much fuss. No wonder it is so popular.
The worst choices!
If you want to remain healthy, some of the worst choices you can make are:
1. French fries and potato chips.
2. Starters, like fried fish or fried chicken.
3. Croissants and pastries.
4. Batata Vadas, Medhu Vadas, Samosas and Pakoras.
5. Soft drinks, sodas and sweetened artificial juices. They add empty calories without adding any nutritive value.
6. Nachos with cheese.
If you are ordering pizza, choose a thin crust pizza and avoid adding a lot of cheese or extra meat toppings. For more information on how you can have healthy pizzas, click here.
8. Canned fruit. The fruit might be good for you, but the sugar syrup will add inches to your waist.
Remember: 'junk' food will always be what the name suggests. Junk.
But fast food can sometimes be health food. Here is some food for thought.
The healthy choices!
Some healthy fast food choices include:
1. Grilled vegetable or fish sandwich.
2. Wholewheat vegetable rolls. Not fried vegetable puffs.
3. Bhelpuri with lots of tomatoes and coriander leaves.
5. Idli Sambar or Dosa Sambar.
But not ghee roast. No coconut chutney either. Coconut is full of saturated fat, which is 'bad' fat.
6. Chana Chaat.
This yummy concoction has nothing unhealthy about it.
7. Fresh fruit.
8. Salad with vinegar dressing and a dash of olive oil.
Salad dressings are so fatty that they nullify the benefit of eating a salad. If you must use dressing on your salad, use a fat-free dressing. Too much fat-free dressing might not be a great idea either since these might have trans-fatty acids that can increase your cholesterol levels.
9. Pav Bhaji prepared at home with minimal oil.
Toasting the pav in butter makes it delectable but a word of caution: 1 gram of butter adds 9 calories.
10. Popcorn without butter.
11. Fat free/ low fat milk or water/ buttermilk.
12. Smoothies with no added sugar.
Part II: 10 low-cal tips to eat fast food
Photograph: Getty Images
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Dr Roopa Nishi Viswanathan has an MBBS from KEM Hospital, Mumbai, with a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Texas at Austin. She also writes for chillibreeze.com and outsource2india.com