A recent Cleveland Clinic survey found almost half of Americans admitted they buy fast food at least once a week, with younger generations doing it the most.
And while fast food may be convenient, it’s not exactly healthy.
“Sometimes we can convince ourselves that some fast foods are healthy,” said Julia Zumpano, RD, registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic. “I wouldn’t classify fast foods healthy by any means, but there are certainly choices that we can make that are definitely superior to others.”
Zumpano said fast food provides very little nutrition and is mostly made up of processed ingredients – which can include saturated fats, trans fats and salt.
And of course all those things can be bad for your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Zumpano said it’s best to avoid fast food or at least limit how much you are eating on a weekly basis.
However, if you do have to get fast food, she recommends being mindful of where you’re going and what you’re ordering.
She also said it’s best to avoid anything that is fried or breaded and instead stick with grilled meats, salads and soups.
“Depending on where you’re going, if there’s more of a broth based soup, or a baked potato, or maybe even a chili, something more along the soup aspect where you’re getting in maybe some vegetables, some leaner proteins, some beans, those would be another great way to go,” she advised.
Zumpano said if you keep a busier schedule and aren’t sure what to cook at home, consider buying frozen vegetables, salad kits or mixed greens. Those won’t take long to make.
The same goes for precooked meats and other side dishes, like beans, whole grain rice or noodles.