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Differences Between Fast food, Junk food, And Street food

Updated on March 12, 2017
ShailaSheshadri profile image

I worked as a banker for 17 years. Now I am working as a freelancer for indexing. I love cooking tasty, healthy meals, and staying fit.

Apparently, people treat the three varieties of foods, such as fast food, junk food, and street food as a single variety having different names. They interchange these terms often in usage. To be true, all the three categories differ from one another in many respects.

You can just wait in the spot for a few minutes to get any of these convenient foods, like fast food, junk food, or street food. Maybe, you will end up getting fresh and healthier food option on the street food cart. Still, the point is not so clear. We will find out in what other ways these foods differ.

Fast food(French fries and burger)
Fast food(French fries and burger) | Source
junk food(sweet potato chips with mayonnaise)
junk food(sweet potato chips with mayonnaise) | Source
street food
street food | Source

Fast food:

The term 'Fast food' is derived due to the nature of delivery of the food. Normally, fast foods are convenient foods that are delivered to the customer quickly. This food is served in fast food restaurants, such as Mc Donald, Sub Way, KFC, Dominos etc.

Fast food restaurants are designed in such a way that customers who seek for any of the foods here need not wait for a long time. The restaurant just assembles the ingredients that are stored, adding some freshly fried items or sometimes, they may re-heat the ready food and garnish with fresh toppings. A few examples of fast foods are pizza, hamburger, chicken lolly pop etc

These foods do not have nutrients as such; people are attracted by the taste and the convenience of the availability of this food. They are cheap and affordable for common people who are not rich.

With the Government guidelines to include nutrient-rich ingredients in the fast food, restaurants have recently included few healthy and fresh options in the menu. Nowadays, fast food restaurants sell green salads, fresh fruit bakes along with the other items.

Junk food:

As the name suggests, junk food is equivalent to junk or garbage. It does not contain any nutrient. On the other hand, it is loaded with fat, salt, processed sugar, and high calories. The tastemaker used in it may tempt you to overeat.

Sometimes, fast food can be equal to junk food if it has no nutrients. Junk food is also a convenient food which is cheap and available in normal food shops. Most of the time junk food are pre-packed foods or fried foods. Examples of junk food are popcorn, chips, cheese balls, nachos etc.

Food color, flavor, tastemaker, and preservatives are used in making of junk food. Junk foods have attractive color and package. Children and young adults are attracted by the advertisements endorsed by the celebrities while promoting the brand.

junk snacks
junk snacks
fast food
fast food
street food
street food

Street Food:

Street foods are foods available on the street side. They also are cheap like fast food and junk food. They are sold on the streets, either in a tent or on a cart. The major difference here is, street foods are convenient foods that are generally healthy and fresh. They make fresh food on the spot.

Street food is available in most of the countries. They serve authentic, local foods on the streetside. They are mostly cooked hygienically, in a good place. Compared to fast food and junk food, street food can be healthier and fresh, maybe, a good option to have.

I have seen street side stalls or carts selling fresh lentil crepes (they say they have 100+ varieties), with different vegetable and spices stuffing. They are truly healthy and fresh. They add lots of nutrients to the body, taste good, and also cheap. They are served quickly on the spot, either to eat there or to carry home for later use. They serve many such instant foods that are healthy and economic.

Some Important Tips To Follow While Eating Outside Food:

  • While making a choice on outside food, make it diligently. If you make a poor choice, it may damage your health and no question of adding any nutrients to the body. The hygienic condition in which it is made is also to be observed.
  • Though fast food restaurants are clean and tidy, the food they serve is loaded with calories, processed sugar, excess salt and plain flour. Each of these is considered bad for health and damage our immune system.
  • Though fast foods and junk foods are easily available, we should not eat them often. As per the guidelines of Food and Drug Administration Of USA, the sellers must exhibit the list of ingredients and nutrient information on the package. Read it carefully while making the food choice.
  • Among fast food, junk food, and street food, street food is the best option. Though all the three varieties are cheaply available and convenient foods, street food is mostly fresh and healthy.
  • Nowadays, even fast food restaurants have included healthier food items like salads, fruit bowls etc in the menu, which you can opt along with other foods.
  • Explain young children about these foods in detail, so that they can make a healthier choice while eating outside food. Childhood obesity is on the high, due to poor food choices by the children. This can be controlled only if they stop eating junk and fast food. Once in a while, gobbling street food could keep them happy and healthy!


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  • ShailaSheshadri profile image

    ShailaSheshadri 12 months ago from Bengaluru

    Thanks for stopping by my article. You are right. Sometimes street foods are great. You have to select them diligently.

  • Spanish Food profile image

    Lena Durante 12 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area

    I love street food. It's a great way to sample the local flavors cheaply when you're exploring a new city! Of course, paella is my favorite.