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Fast food: what to eat and what to avoid on the menus

Currently, there is a growing concern about the health of the general population. In all countries, the risks that obesity can bring to a person are already known, regardless of whether they are a child or an adult, male or female.

In this context, we read and hear daily about the need to follow a healthy diet, which aims not only at weight loss or weight maintenance, but at a safer life, away from diseases caused by poor diet.

On the other hand, there are, every day, at an incredible speed, more and more fast foods around the world. And as much as most people are concerned about avoiding this type of food – and eating, whenever possible, at home or, at most, in restaurants that offer homemade food -, from time to time, out of sheer “temptation” or even for lack of time, some of them end up eating a snack or other type of product in one of these networks.

According to nutritionist Sabrina Lopes, the ideal is that people avoid the consumption of fast food foods as much as possible or never consume these foods, for the benefit of their own health.

“But, as the majority of the population is not iron and, sometimes, ends up falling into temptation, it is ‘acceptable’ to consume these products once or twice a month, without compromising health and/or weight gain. This is if the person has, on a daily basis, a balanced diet and practice physical activity regularly”, explains the nutritionist.

Sabrina Lopes adds that the frequent consumption of fast food can lead to weight gain, high levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and glucose in the blood, which can potentiate the development of cardiovascular diseases. “This is due to the presence in large amounts of salt, fat and carbohydrates and the low amount of fiber in these foods”, she warns.

Looking at the menus of fast-food restaurants

But don’t worry, all is not lost! If, at one time or another, you feel like eating at one of these fast food chains, or if you are accompanying someone who has chosen to eat in these places, the tip is to pay attention to the menu and try to choose a healthier option.

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Below, nutritionist Sabrina Lopes talks about what is possible to eat (without any or so much guilt) and what is good to avoid on the menus of fast food chains available in Brazil. Check out:

1. McDonald’s

“Although McDonald’s has recently changed the menu a little to start offering healthier options, it is still not possible to have a 100% healthy meal, due to the presence of industrialized or processed meats, sauces and artificial juices with a high content of sodium”, says the nutritionist.

What to Avoid: Especially sodas, desserts, and bacon sandwiches.

What to eat: salads instead of sandwiches and fries; water or juice instead of soda.

2. Burger King

“Burger King follows the same example as McDonald’s: it has salad options on its menu, however, they are accompanied by breaded chicken and sauces with sodium. Even so, the salad is the slightly healthier option found. The juices are all canned, which makes clear the amount of sodium and the industrialization process”, says the nutritionist.

What to avoid: potatoes or onion rings, sandwiches with bacon and other high-calorie products, plus sodas and desserts.

What to eat: just the sandwich without the potato combo or onion rings. And preferably the salad instead of the snack.

3. Subway

“Among the fast foods that serve snacks, Subway is one of those that can offer healthier and better quality food, but this will depend on the consumer when assembling the sandwich or choosing the salad”, highlights Sabrina Lopes.

What to avoid: When it comes to salad, it’s good to leave out the pickles and olives, because they contain a high amount of sodium. Stay away from processed meats or sausages. Also avoid combos with cookies and chips and also soda.

What to eat: give preference to whole-grain breads, creating a filling that is as natural as possible, without processed meats or sausages. Cheese should be the dish, which is the least caloric among the options presented. And finally, use and abuse natural herbs and seasonings in place of sauces.

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4. Bob’s

“Bob’s follows the same line as McDonald’s and Burger King, it has salads on the menu, but with additional processed meats and sauces with sodium. The option to mitigate the damage is to avoid fries, soft drinks, desserts and bacon”, says nutritionist Sabrina.

What to avoid: French fries, soda, desserts and bacon.

What to eat: salad instead of sandwich.

5. Giraffe’s

“Giraffa’s has a very flexible menu that caters to all tastes, in addition to having sandwiches, it also has dishes and children’s dishes. This, in a way, can make the food a little healthier, because we have a way to get away from sandwiches and fatty portions”, highlights Sabrina Lopes.

What to avoid: fatty meats and sausages. “And avoid parmigianas and stroganoffs because, in addition to not having salads, they contain sour cream, cheese or fried foods that are fattening. We should also avoid portions, desserts, milk shakes and hamburgers”, says the nutritionist.

What to eat: in the options of dishes, prefer the Brasil and Brasileirão line, the Grilled and the Light Tips. “These four options present a complete meal with salad, protein and carbohydrates, however, be aware of the type of meat you will include on your plate”, he adds.

6. Habib’s

“Habib’s is a fast food joint with Arab foods, where people usually go for esfihas. At this time, the ideal is to consume the most traditional esfiha possible without additional”, says Sabrina.

What to avoid: sandwiches, snacks, desserts and soft drinks.

What to eat: spinach, chicken and white cheese esfihas. “However, the ideal is to opt for the Arab dishes present on the menu or for the Beirutes”, adds the nutritionist. Other healthy options are salad, grilled steak with salad and juices.

7. Spoleto

“When setting up your plate at Spoleto, if you want to be healthy, look for salads accompanied by meat. But if you can’t avoid pasta and risotto, try to sauté in olive oil, choose the small or medium size, avoid four-cheese and white sauces and caloric ingredients”, says Sabrina Lopes.

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What to avoid: bacon, sausage, yellow cheeses and preserves.

What to eat: salads accompanied by meats. “The best meat options are those that do not have cheese fillings”, adds the nutritionist.

8. China in Box

“Chinese food is always made up of a lot of vegetables, but it also has a lot of fried foods, fats and soy sauce. So when making your choice at China in Box, pay close attention to the preparations”, says Sabrina.

What to avoid: fried foods and desserts. “When preparing your meal, the ideal is also to choose just one type of carbohydrate, not mixing a yakisoba with a yakimesshi, for example”, adds the nutritionist.

What to eat: mainly vegetables. “There are also some options on the menu that seem to be balanced, like China Bowl and China Mix,” says Sabrina.

9. Shrimp Villa

“Vivenda do Camarão is a great option to eat fish that are essential for our diet, however, when choosing the dish, we have to be careful with the side dishes chosen”, says nutritionist Sabrina.

What to avoid: stay away from snacks, fried foods, pasta, risottos and desserts.

What to eat: to accompany shrimp, always prefer salads and also preparations without cream and cheese. “On the menu there are also options to choose only salads. For drinks, choose natural juices”, adds the nutritionist.

10. Pizza Hut

“Pizza Hut’s menu offers salads and wraps, which are good options for those who want to stay a little healthier,” says Sabrina Lopes.

What to avoid: avoid fillings such as bacon, catupiry, cheddar, four cheeses, stuffed edges, etc., white sauces, desserts and soft drinks.

What to eat: Salads, wraps or pizzas with less caloric fillings.

With these guidelines, it is easier to follow a healthy diet, even if, once in a while, you make a brief visit to a fast food place. Always remember to pay attention to the menu and make good choices!

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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