Fast Food | Fast Food Facts and Comparison | Healthy Fast Food Choices

yummy burger
yummy burger

By its nature, fast food is practical and irresistible. It’s fast, reasonably cheap and taste quite good. Unfortunately, much of it is laden with rich calories, fat and sodium. In an ideal world, with knowledge of nutrition and health, we wouldn’t eat in a fast food restaurant ourselves, and we wouldn’t take our kids there either. However, this isn’t an ideal world. Sometimes parents are too busy to cook, or are running late for classes or football games. Sometimes it is the food teenagers can afford when they go out for the evening. Other times, we simply crave the stuff.

How to Make Fast Food Your Friend ?

Commercial advertisement and peer pressure creates a prominent place for fast food in the diet of children all over the world. It is difficult to think that your children will never eat fast food. A smarter way to handle this reality is to make fast food your friend, by helping the children to make better fast-food choices.

Most fast foods are rich in calories and fat. To get you started, we will just look at the three fast food restaurants below; we can see that most of the items with “Double” or “Bacon” are extremely high in calorie, fat and sodium. As the size double, so does the fat. These fast foods contain fat beyond 20g, and they are the list of food better to avoid.

BETTER TO AVOID

Restaurant
Calories
g of fat
% calories from fat
mg of Sodium
Burger King
 
 
 
 
Double Cheeseburger with Bacon
640
39
55
990
Whopper
670
39
60
1020
Double Whopper
876
53
57
936
Whopper with Cheese
720
46
58
1364
Double Whopper with Cheese
960
63
60
1364
 
 
 
 
 
Carl’s Jr.
 
 
 
 
Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger
960
52
49
1750
Super Star with Cheese
920
58
55
1640
The Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger
1020
53
47
2520
 
 
 
 
 
McDonald’s
 
 
 
 
Double Quarter Pounder® with Cheese++
740
42
53
1380
Angus Bacon & Cheese
790
39
44
2070

However, not all fast-food choices are fattening. The industry has responded to public pressure by offering a number of lower-fat and lower-sodium items such as below. Basically, the tip is choosing the less-fancy, plain and simple burger, without double- or triple-portioned items.

SMART CHOICES

Restaurant
Calories
g of fat
% calories from fat
mg of Sodium
Burger King
 
 
 
 
BBQ Cheeseburger
340
13.8
28
900
Chicken Tenders
170
10
41
480
Single Mushrrom Swiss
347
14.4
29
1400
 
 
 
 
 
Carl’s Jr.
 
 
 
 
Kid's Hamburger
230
10
30
550
Kid's Cheeseburger
290
15
36
830
 
 
 
 
 
McDonald’s
 
 
 
 
Hamburger
250
9
25
520
Cheeseburger
300
12
28
750
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich
420
10
17
1190

Most kids love hamburgers, cheeseburgers and hot dogs, but not all choices are the unhealthy. I recommend for smartest choices, choose any item with 15g of fat or less as listed above. That gives your child some room for the side dishes such as French Fries.

For variety sake, some of the foods with medium fat content (between 16 to 20g of fat) are occasionally acceptable.

OCCASIONALLY ACCEPTABLE

Restaurant
Calories
g of fat
% calories from fat
mg of Sodium
Burger King
 
 
 
 
Single Black Pepper
383
18.9
35
1100
Grilled Chicken burger
316
16.2
36
1300
 
 
 
 
 
Carl’s Jr.
 
 
 
 
Big Hamburger
460
17
26
1090
 
 
 
 
 
McDonald’s
 
 
 
 
McDouble
390
19
34
920
Quarter Pounder
410
19
32
730
Fillet-O-Fish
380
18
33
640
McChicken
360
16
31
830

Size does matter

As the size of the burger increases, so does the fat. Therefore, watch out for items labelled “Double”, “Triple”,  “Large”,    “Extra-large”, “Super”, “Jumbo”; they should be avoided. Order instead items labelled as “Single”, “Junior” or “Small”.

Fatty Add-ons

Plain and simple hamburger with lettuce, tomato, onion and ketchup is good option. Avoid the supreme version with loaded Cheese, bacon, tartar, mayonnaise or mayo-based special sauces. Each slice of Cheese is about 100 calories. A tablespoon of mayonnaise will add about 100 calories to your meal.

Side Dish

A large order of McDonald’s French fries contains 25g of fat and 500 calories, more than a Quarter Pounder. That is a lot of fat for side order. If it is for craving sake, order a small French fries instead with only 11g of fat, and 230 calories. Generally, French fries and hash browns that fall between 10 to 15g of fat per serving are occasionally acceptable. Any potato with more than 15g of fat is better to avoid. Baked potatoes and salad vegetables are definitely better low fat choices, the critical element is the toppings or dressings. A 2oz packet of ranch dressing at Burger King will add about 37g of fat to your meal. It is better to ask for diet or no-oil dressings like McDonald’s Lite Vinairgette with just 2g of fat in each packet. There are a lot of fat for a side dish, so be sure to make smart choices.

Milk Shakes?

Are they always high in fat ? Not so. The delicious shakes at McDonald and Burger King are made with low-fat milk with just 5 to 7g of fat.

Fried Chicken?

Deep fried chicken is extremely high in fat. If you really want to eat it, choose the white-meat breast and remove the skin and breading. And exercise portion control.

Sandwiches with fried chicken?

Not a really smart choice. The best choice for a chicken sandwich is a skinless grilled breast. Cut out the extra mayonnaise, mayo-based sauce, tartar sauce, bacon, cheese and cheese sauces which add pure fat and calories to the meal. Add more vegetables instead.

Pizza?

Pizza can be a good choice if you order wisely. Choose thin-crust instead of deep-dish. Avoid fatty meat toppings such as pepperoni, ground beef and sausage which add up more fat content. Ham and salami are better choices. Avoid extra-cheese or bacon. So, a good choice is a cheese pizza with half the cheese, extra tomato sauce, mushrooms, ham or salami and loads of vegetables. Then, you’ll have a fast food that you and your kids can live with.

Conclusions

“The major health problem, facing our nation today are caused, in large part, by behaviours established during youth”, said Dr. Lloyd Kolbe of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The greatest health risks for adult today are heart disease and cancer. So, start young, regret not later. For adults: it is still not too late to start now, and regret not later.

Think before you drink
Think before you drink

Share this page - did you know you can share this page by clicking on the "Share it" button below? This will enable you to -

Email it to friends, Link to this page, Tweet this, Blog this or, send this to your Facebook, Myspace, Digg, StumbleUpon or Reddit!

If you like what you have read, please "Vote up" by clicking the green button below or leave a comment. Thank you.

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago Author

KoffeeKlatch, thanks a bunch. :)


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago Author

hope it helps you, thebeaconflight. Thanks for reading.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Ingerina, wonderful hub filled with useful information. Rated up, useful, and bookmarked.


thebeaconoflight 5 years ago

that's a lot of facts


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

thanks, Bhart1989.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

thanks, carrie. Glad that it's useful. I think you are printing it out for your family members to see, not for yourself, right ? since this fast food isn't good for your health esp now.


Bhart1989 6 years ago

it's great. very useful


carrie450 profile image

carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

Great tips for us to observe Ingenira, I'll copy these and put them on my fridge.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

izettl, thanks for your comment. Same as you, when we travel, McD seemes to be the convinient choice. You sure know your portons well. :)


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

thanks, denden.


denden mangubat profile image

denden mangubat 6 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

your right. wise choice should be applied.eating in moderation is good.nice suggestions.


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Great hub! I'll go months without eating fast food until inevitably we travel and end up at mcdonalds so I order a kids meal or split a regular meal with my daughter. If you eat out, then best to watch portion sizes. The pizza you described sounds great.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

Thanks, bizchickblogs and jasonycc.


jasonycc profile image

jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia

Useful information here. I know most fast food is bad for us... just don't know how to quantify them. Now, I will have the information handy when I walk into BK or McD. Good stuff!


bizchickblogs profile image

bizchickblogs 6 years ago from Tucson

Great info! The sodium levels are surprising, even in the good choices! I eat way too much fast food.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

thanks, Carmela, I am glad the article helps.


Carmela 6 years ago

You have done a very good classification of all the fast food in the different restaurants.Now we know how to avoid the unhealthy fast food.Thank you ! I like the ` occasionally acceptable `one, as I like to bring my kids and my family to enjoy eating the healthy fast food `occasionally`.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

Thanks, LillyGrillzit, for bookmarking and sharing. If we work to improve our health now, we will live better to enjoy life now and in later life.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

Thanks, HealthQoute for visiting and leave a comment. :)


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

Yes, Money Glitch, the sodium content in this high-calorie sandwiches is alarming. I wish more people are aware of the risk.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Thank you for this very Informative Hub, bookmarking, and sharing with friends, voted Up! This is a wonderful guide for those times we must buy junk food!!! Thanks


HealthQuote profile image

HealthQuote 6 years ago

wow so many calories that's pretty scary. great information hub


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Wow the sodium content is outrageous on most of these sandwiches. So glad that I no longer eat fast food too often. Thanks for sharing this insight. :)


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 6 years ago Author

Thank you, Cybersupe, for being the first to visit and comment. :)


CYBERSUPE profile image

CYBERSUPE 6 years ago from MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, U.S.A.

Awesome Hub. Interesting and very informative. Hope more people would take your suggestions.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working