Healthier food choices work for me

Salads and gourmet sandwiches are listed alongside burgers, vegetarian options are popping up everywhere and juices are widely available instead of just soft drinks. Fast food companies have actively targeted health conscious consumers with big-scale marketing campaigns drawing attention to new healthier menu items and even their weight loss potential.

But how do you know what to believe?
Don’t automatically assume that just because something sounds healthy, it is. Caesar salads, with their creamy dressing, bacon, cheese and iceberg lettuce, are notoriously high in fat and low in nutrients, for example. Sandwiches, rolls and wraps are often loaded up with calorie-crammed condiments, butter and mayo, not to mention processed cheeses and meats. Even grilled vegetables can sometimes be extremely oily. Adding salt and sugar are cheap ways to make food taste good, and can easily be hidden in salads and sandwiches.

What to avoid
If you see the word ‘supreme’, be suspicious, even if it’s a vegetarian dish. Items labelled as ‘supreme’ are often laden with diet disaster ingredients. Better to get the burger or sandwich/rolls/or wrap plain with extra salad, and flavour it up with mustard or relish instead of a creamy blend. Skip the creamy dressings on your salad and ask for balsamic or lemon on the side instead. Curries with coconut milk and satay sauce are also high in fat.

Smaller is smarter don’t up-size
It might seem like good value to super-size, but unless you’ve got someone to share the meal with, it’s not. Don’t fall into the ‘value-meal’ trap as often these types of meals contain larger portions than you need and can blow out your daily intake.
Where possible try to drink water rather than diet soft drink or juice as they often contain more calories and a lot less nutritional value. An occasional fast food meal isn’t going to break your healthy lifestyle, but even the best choices are usually highly processed and refined. Much better to make extra homemade food and freeze it for the times you don’t feel like cooking, and keep healthy snacks such as carrot sticks or fruit readily available so you won’t be tempted.