It's inevitable that we have to eat out. We can't always be in the kitchen with heaps of veggies at our disposal - where is the fun in that anyway? Sometimes we just need food, and fast. Ego, fast food. So how do we order without going all-in and getting the triple Big Mac with extra cheese and bacon? I chat to Jessica Rutledge - Resident Nutritionist at Bondi foodie newcomer Mr Perkins, to get the low-down on how to make healthy fast-food choices.
Look for options that are made on site with fresh produce such as salads, soups, rice paper rolls or juices and smoothies. If you can have it made in front of you with fresh produce that’s a big tick as the nutritional value of produce decreases from the time it is blended, chopped and whizzed.
Make sure you include some type of 'greenery', this will almost always up the nutritional value of your meal; think green smoothies, soups or salads. My personal favourite is the Cauliflower and Kale Soup and the Green Glow Smoothie from Mr Perkins in Bondi, both include nutrient dense green leaves and other healthy vegetables.
Vegetarian and vegan options are generally made with plant based foods; think fruit, veggies, nuts, legumes and seeds. Animal products tend to have a higher saturated fat content, meaning our bodies take longer to digest them, therefore promoting inflammation. Eating vegetarian or vegan options promotes a more alkaline, anti-inflammatory and bio-available nutrient dense diet, which is exactly what you want!
Avoid Fried Food
Oils used in commercial setups are generally heated at such high temperatures that it turns the oil into ‘trans fats’ which are essentially toxic to the body. Trans fats are not recognised by the body to have any nutritional value and are therefore treated like toxins in our system; the body stores them in fat cells to protect us from their harmful oxidative effect. So next time you’re looking for extras to go with your fast food meal, swap out hot chips for baked potatoes or a side salad.
Be Wary of ' Buzz Words'
We are extremely lucky that in Australia there is a great appreciation and understanding of health and nutrition, and we are therefore spoiled for choice when it comes to finding healthy fast foods; most menus have a vegan or vegetarian option, nut milks, gluten and dairy free options and plus there are so many venues dedicated to offering pure healthy food, such as the newly opened Mr Perkins. However, make sure you do your research beforehand and don’t be a sucker for ‘buzz words’! Anyone can put a ‘natural or ‘organic’ label on their product, make their signage green, or display fake fruit and vegetables in store to make it look ‘healthy’. Make sure you read the fine print and ask questions when you going into a store so you can truly trust that you are making a healthy choice.