Healthy fast food: a nutritionist tells us what to order

Image: Cara Delevingne is a fast food lover (Instagram)

You’re at the airport with five minutes to get to your gate. You’re absolutely starving – but you’d rather eat something else than the dodgy pasta or cardboard sandwich that they’ll serve up on your plane.

Or maybe you’re in the middle of the city, with ten minutes between meetings, and you’ve missed lunch for the second day in a row. You really, really need some sustenance, and you need it fast.

Whatever the situation, we’ve all had one of those moments where we’re short on time, desperately hungry, and the only food options are located in the kind of food courts that don’t exactly scream “health”.

I spoke to Nicole Senior, an Accredited Practicing Dietician, to ask her about the healthiest fast food options for your tummy when you’re short on time and strapped for options. Here you go:

Some general rules to follow in the food court (and everywhere else, too):

– If you can avoid fast food, do. It’s always a really sensible idea to carry some unsalted nuts or fresh fruit in your handbag. That can usually get you through to a situation where you can sit down and have a proper meal.

– If fast food is completely unavoidable, choose the healthier options available on fast food menus. The more we choose the healthier options, the more likely they are to stay around. Look at the kilojoule labelling on menus to work out what is healthiest.

– When it comes to choosing food, look for colour. That symbolises vegetables and nutrients. If all you can see is brown and beige, you’re in trouble.

– Watch out for the cooking method. You don’t want anything battered, fried, wrapped in pastry or smothered in cheese – those things all spell kilojoule blowout and they’re really high in salt and saturated fat. Salt is a real trap in buying food out of home.

The occasional slice of pizza is okay... (via Drew Barrymore, Instagram)

- Don't go for big servings. No one needs a sandwich that is bigger than their head.

- Try to get some veggies in. That’s one of the big downsides of fast food – you don’t get any vegetables. If you can choose something that’s got some salad in it, do.

- Balance is the most important thing. In each meal, make sure you’ve got some protein, some vegetables and some grains.

You can find dietician Nicole Senior on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

What do you choose when your only option is fast food?

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