So, your child loves fast food? Most kids and teenagers do. Accept that your kids will like these foods – banning them will only increase the appeal of chips and the like. Instead, give burgers, pizza and sausages a healthy boost with fresh ingredients such as vegetables and low-fat dairy products. By the way, there are also some low-fat and nutritious alternatives that kids enjoy eating. Here are a few examples.
As the name implies, fast food is food that can be prepared and eaten quickly. It comes in many forms: from hamburgers to hot dogs, pizzas to kebabs, not forgetting sandwiches, muesli bars, fruit and yoghurt. So not all fast foods are necessarily high in fat and low on nutrition. However, fast food chains and take-away outlets tend to offer products that are higher in fat and less well-balanced. If you choose dishes that include the following, you can rest assured that you’ve made the right choice:
- a cereal product, wholegrain if possible
- fruit or vegetables
- a low-fat dairy product
- a low calorie drink, e.g. mineral water
That’s one way to boost the goodness in fast food!
What sounds good in theory often doesn’t work in practice. Kids can rarely be convinced by being told something is “good for them”. If you put pressure on them, you generally get nowhere. It’s best to lead by example. With the tips in our table, you can add your own healthy zing to everyone’s favourite fast foods. But be careful. Fast foods should only be eaten now and then.
Fast food / profile
Comments / tips
|Hamburgers||A plain hamburger from a fast-food restaurant contains an average of 9g of fat. Eat it with salad or a dairy product. That will increase the overall nutritional content of the meal. Tip: make it yourself and put the burger in a wholegrain crispy bun, instead of a fluffy white roll. Eat it with salad, fruit or a low-fat dairy product.|
|Pepperoni pizza||Everybody loves pepperoni pizza. But with more than 25g of fat per portion, its fat content is very high. Most of this comes from the pepperoni coating. Cooked ham contains less fat – and it tastes good too. Why not add variety to a pizza with some vegetables? Even better, make your own pizza – use wholemeal flour if possible. Get your kids to put their own toppings on. Put out some small bowls containing cooked ham, grated cheese, tomato sauce and different types of vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers or mushrooms.|
|Sausage and chips||Because potatoes absorb a lot of fat when they’re fried and because a lot of fat is used in the production of sausages, sausage and chips are generally loaded with calories and fat. Tip: as an alternative, we recommend hot dogs and thick cut home-made chips or low-fat oven chips (found in supermarket freezer sections) instead. Serve with salad with a low-fat yoghurt dressing and fresh fruit for dessert, e.g. apple compote.|
Fast food is not just for kids
If you’re in a hurry, you can find perfectly acceptable fast food in your local bakery, butcher’s shop or take-away. Or you can prepare fast food for yourself and your kids at home. Here are a few tips:
- use low-fat cheese with a 30-45% fat content, or lean cooked meats, like: beef or chicken and salad leaves, sliced cucumber and tomatoes in sandwiches, preferably on wholegrain bread or rolls.
- Mixed salad with or without cooked ham, low-fat cheese with a 30-45% fat content, or eggs
- Vegetables dishes and stews with a small amount of sauce
- Wholegrain pasta, wild rice or potato dishes with low-fat sauces
- Homemade kebabs in pitta bread with plenty of fresh vegetables, low-fat meat such as chicken, and a low-fat yoghurt dressing or, as a vegetarian option, with low-fat feta cheese