Nowadays, fast food consumption is very common and on the rise. Everyone loves to gorge on them especially the younger generation.
Many are not aware that the fast foods like burgers, fries, fried chicken, cutlets, samosas, etc are unhealthy foodstuffs which are not only rich in saturated and trans fatty acids but also deficient in vitamins, minerals and fibres. These add not only inches to the waist line but also clog the heart vessels with unhealthy fatty deposits thus leading to various lifestyle diseases like obesity, heart disease, hypertension, etc.
Studies have shown that fast foods are linked to a 39% increased risk of severe asthma in teenagers and 27% increased risk among children aged six and seven. Knowing the popularity yet the harmful effects of these food items, these days many restaurants have opted to serve a healthier version of fast foods. The modification includes baking or grilling instead of frying and by incorporating more veggies while preparing it. Today, with the help of Ms. Sunita Pathania – Sr. Registered Dietician and Diabetes Educator, Healthy Living Diet Clinic, Mumbai, we list down surprisingly healthy fast foods, on which you can gorge on easily without worrying about clogging your arteries.
Healthy fast foods # 1: Whole wheat baked veg. burger
The bun or the bread used is now prepared from whole wheat flour instead of refined flour or maida. This ensures a good amount of fiber intake. Also, the patty used as a stuffing is baked instead of deep frying, which automatically cuts down the excess calories. The patty is prepared by using different veggies like carrots, french beans, green peas, potatoes, beetroot, etc.
Sometimes, a dash of green color can be obtained by adding few leaves of spinach or mint leaves in the patty. In between the bun and the patty, veggies like tomatoes, cucumber, grated carrot, lettuce, etc can be used. This not only increases the healthy fiber in the food but also increases the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in it. To avoid increasing the fat content in it, limit intake of butter and cheese. Thus, a healthy nutritious veg burger is ready to be eaten.
Healthy fast foods # 2: Whole wheat baked non-veg. burger
If you can’t live without non-veg food, yet want to be healthy, then this fast food is for you. Use whole wheat bread and stuff it with minced chicken along with lots of veggies to make a chicken patty. This burger will add taste to your tongue along with making it a healthy chicken burger.
Healthy fast foods # 3: Whole wheat veg. pizzas
A pizza could be made healthy by choosing or preparing the base out of whole wheat flour rather than refined flour. Also, the toppings on it can be healthier by putting vegetables like pureed spinach, along with tomatoes, capsicum, onions, corn, beetroot, olives, carrots etc. Garnishing with tons of grated cheese is not recommended. Thus, this pizza is not only low in fat but also rich in fibres, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Healthy fast foods # 4: Baked samosa
Baking samosas instead of deep frying reduces the calories, thus it makes it a healthy option. The outer covering should be prepared with whole wheat flour and the stuffing could include mixed chopped boil veggies such as peas, carrots, potatoes, etc.
Healthy fast foods # 5: Baked cutlets
Baking the cutlets instead of frying is another healthier option. This reduces the calories intake by lowering the fat consumption to a great extent without losing on fibres, vitamins and other nutrients as the stuffing includes veggies such as carrots, peas, french beans, potatoes, beetroot, etc. Mince or finely shredded chicken could be added for the non-vegetarians.
Healthy fast foods # 6: Baked potato chips
The famous French fries, loaded with salt and fats can be made healthy by baking the potato chips without addition of fat and excess salt and served with tomato ketchup.
Healthy fast foods # 7: Grilled/roasted chicken
Fried chicken is a very common food item found at all the fast food joints. Healthier option would be to roast or grill the chicken after trimming all the fat from it.
Healthy fast foods # 8: Whole wheat bread sandwiches
Healthy sandwich is prepared using whole wheat bread slices, with veggies such as tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, grated carrot, beetroot, lettuce etc. Apply only a dash of butter to cut down the calories. For the egg eaters, mince boil egg with a dash of mayonnaise could be added to make a healthy egg sandwich.
The Indian bread, commonly called as pav should be prepared with whole wheat flour. Veggies such as green peas, carrots, french beans, potatoes, cauliflower etc could be used to prepare the nutritious mixed vegetable (bhaji).
Healthy fast foods # 10: Fruit smoothies
Colas provide only empty calories and zero nutrients whereas a smoothie is a blended and sometimes sweetened beverage made from fresh fruit (fruit smoothie) and in special cases can contain chocolate, or peanut butter. In addition to fruit, many smoothies include crushed ice, frozen fruit, honey or contain syrup and ice ingredients.
They have a milkshake-like consistency that is thicker than colas. They can also contain milk, yogurt or ice cream, thus providing nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants because of the ingredients added in the preparation. Some of the commonly used fruits used to prepare a smoothie are bananas, strawberry, mango, raspberry, grapes, blueberry, oranges etc. Try the traditional mango shake, which is really a summer smoothie, or a pineapple smoothie with crushed ice & sugar (without milk).