March-20:  HEALTH   

  • Posted by CERC India
  • Posted in

Watch what you order at a fast food eatery

Don’t be fooled by fancy terms on the menu and look for healthier options  


Let’s face it. Fast food is generally not healthy. It’s processed and high in salt, sugar and fat – a recipe for health problems if consumed frequently. Fast food is usually cooked in unhealthy fats, has excess preservatives, and is almost devoid of nutrition as it contains low amounts of fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Still, one of the reasons for its popularity is that it is a cheap, tasty way to get an energy boost when you are on the road or too tired to cook at home. While fast food as a regular is a big no-no, when you do visit a fast food restaurant or order at a takeaway, pay attention to the suggestions given below.    

Don’t fall for the value meal option: Look to preserving your health rather than getting the most for your money. Go for smaller portions – order a smaller serving of French fries.

Look out for freshness: Order a sandwich instead of macaroni and cheese as in the latter the pasta is usually microwaved. Similarly, avoid a tuna salad as tuna can be prepared a week in advance. Do not order a grilled chicken sandwich at a burger joint – go for what the eatery is known for. You are more likely to get fresh food.

Pick your dressings: Go slow in the salad dressing which may be full of calories, salt and sugar.

Pass on sugary beverages: Soft drinks and pre-mixed shakes (made of shake mix rather than ice cream) are to be avoided. So are ice cream filled drinks as they are full of calories. Drink water or unsweetened iced tea instead.

Be wary of sauces: Sauces used in sandwich/burger toppings (or as dips) can be high in fat, sugar and salt. Especially say no to mayo as it is full of calories and fat.

Choose healthier side dishes: Opt for a low-calorie salad, baked potato, fruit bowl or yogurt instead of fries. Skip the extras like cheese and croutons.

Don’t let fancy words fool you: Don’t be taken in by the words ‘hand-crafted’ or ‘artisanal’ used to describe a dish. These terms do not necessarily mean better quality.

Steer clear of garnishes: Never eat garnishes and pickles. Eateries have been known to take them of used plates and re-serve them to another customer.

If you want your fries fresh…: If you want your fries really fresh order them without salt. This way, the staff is forced to make a fresh batch. You can always add how much salt you need later.

Resist glazed donuts:  Even at large doughnut chains, the oil is only changed once every two weeks. Moreover, if a doughnut is glazed it is likely to attract flies and roaches when in storage.

Five facts employees tell you…    


  • After something is cooked in a fast food restaurant, it is put in a holding cabinet and a timer is set.  When the timer goes off, the food is supposed to be discarded but it is usually reheated and served. So, visit at peak times when fresh food is being cooked and served.
  • Most fast-food joints clean everything with strong chemicals at the end of the day including grills and drink machine nozzles. Some of the chemical residue may get into your food or drink if you are among the first customers in the morning.
  • Some staff members follow the 10-second rule – they may drop a burger patty on the floor, pick it up quickly, and put it on the grill.
  • Staff members are supposed to wear gloves when they make the food. Some don’t. Worse still, some employees don’t wash their hands as often as they should either.
  • All fast-food restaurants are not equally good though they may be part of the same chain. It all depends on the owner and management and what standards of service and hygiene they set.


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