We all lead busy lives and finding the time to eat properly can be a challenge.

Can visiting a fast food restaurant be a healthy option when looking for a nutritious and filling meal?

You may be juggling taking the kids to school, working an eight hour day, taking the kids to after school activities, visiting the gym and this often means having to find food to eat on the run.

Unless you’ve taken the time to pack a packed lunch (as well as the kids!), there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself visiting a fast food restaurant at some point.

Most of the people know that fast food does not mean healthy food and that the typical foods served in these establishments are true destroyers of diet and health. Giant cheeseburgers with bacon and toppings, fried chicken and steaks, pizzas loaded with cheese, burritos and tacos, all washed down with sodas and large or extra-large shakes.

Some foods can contain so much fat and sugar that a single meal would exceed the recommended daily intake for the entire day!

Now, if you’re a healthy eater and visit fast food restaurants infrequently, a burger or slice of pizza won’t hurt. However, if like 40% of Americans, you consider local fast food your second cuisine, it’s time to watch what you eat and monitor your health.

If you find yourself at a fast food restaurant, careful choices and common sense can still mean tasty and healthy food is to be found. The best rule of thumb is to try to avoid any food in which calories from fat make up more than 30% of the total product. To calculate this percentage, multiply the grams of fat by nine (the total calories from fat) and divide by the total calories.

Now, so you don’t have to carry a calculator with you every time you eat, you can quickly get used to recognizing the types of foods and methods of preparation to avoid. If the food has been breaded, fried, or grilled many times, it is likely to be high in fat. Note that it is not only burgers, but also chicken and fish.

Many modern fast food restaurants also have salad bars, so choose a fresh green salad to accompany your main meal. But again be careful of adding fattening extras like cheeses, dressings, and mayonnaise. Low calorie dressings, if available, are the best alternative.

Restaurants now provide nutrition information for their meals and foods so the health-conscious consumer or dieter can find out what’s in their food, as well as the calories and fat it contains. If the nutrition information is not clearly visible or available, don’t be afraid to ask a member of staff as they should be able to provide it to you.

Eating on the run is something we can’t avoid at some point in our lives, but luckily we can make healthy choices instead of banning fast food restaurants.

Can fast food really be healthy food?

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