The trouble with many fast foods is that they tend to be high in fat, salt or sugar, or all three, and often do not provide a balanced meal. The pros and cons of some popular meals are discussed, and the ‘Healthy Balance’ column suggests a suitable second meal for that day which will compensate for any nutritional deficiencies or excesses.
Fish and Chips:
|Advantages||This meal is good source ofvitamins B6 and B12; high inprotein and carbohydrate; contains some calcium,phosphorus, manganese, iron,thiamin and potassium.|
|Disadvantages||High in fat but low in fibre; low in vitamins A, C, D, folate and beta carotene. Depending on the portion size, the meal contains between a third and a half of the recommended daily amount of fat.|
|Healthy Balance||Salad made with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, feta cheese, olive oil and lemon juice: this is low in calories but contains vitamins C, E, folate and beta carotene.|
Sandwich and Apple :
|Advantages||This depends on the type of bread, the filling, and the amount of filling used. Tuna and lettuce on wholemeal bread, and an apple with its skin, offers a balanced meal, with some useful fibre.|
|Disadvantages||Again, this depends on the filling; a prawn and mayonnaise sandwich on buttered bread has double the calories and three times the fat of the tuna salad version.|
|Healthy Balance||Beef stew with mashed potatoes and carrots: high in protein and beta carotene. The beef is also a good source of B vitamins, iron, potassium and zinc.|
|Advantages||Depends on the topping. High in carbohydrate; a wholemeal base increases fibre. A cheese and tomato topping provides protein, vitamin E, calcium and phosphorus.|
|Disadvantages||Often high in fat and low in protein; sometimes high in sodium; if topped with blue cheese, salami, pepperoni or ham, the fat level is increased and the salt can be as much as doubled.|
|Healthy Balance||Chicken and vegetablecasserole: high protein from chicken, beta carotene from carrots; fibre and vitamin C from vegetables.|
Doner Kebab in Pitta:
|Advantages||Good protein, iron and zinc; a balanced meal containing folate, vitamin C and beta carotene if plenty of salad incorporated in pitta.|
|Disadvantages||Often fatty, as outlets may use cheap cuts of high-fat lamb; low in fibre, vitamin A, D, E and folate. A possible food-poisoning risk.|
|Healthy Balance||Kedgeree made with brown rice, and a green salad: this is a low-fat meal providing moderate protein, good fibre and vitamins B and C.|
Beef Burger, Chips And Milk Shake:
|Advantages||High protein, carbohydrates and calcium; contains vitamin A, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and riboflavin.|
|Disadvantages||High in fat, especially saturated fat; high in cholesterol, sodium and possibly artificial colours and flavourings; low in fibre and vitamin C.|
Wholemeal pasta salad with a selection of raw or lightly steamed fresh vegetables: pasta provides fibre; vegetables supply vitamin C and beta carotene; broccoli is a source of iron.
Heat-And-Eat Chicken Curry and Rice:
|Advantages||High in protein, high in carbohydrates; source of B vitamins, phosphorus and zinc.|
|Disadvantages||High in calories and probably fat; low in vitamin C due to lack of vegetables; low in dietary fibre; high in sodium.|
Herb omelette with wholemeal bread and tomato and watercress salad: this meal is low in calories and moderate source of fibre; it provides protein, beta carotene, vitamins A, C, and D, as well as B vitamins.