Fast food doesn’t have to mean fat food…

Although grabbing a quick burger or pizza can sometimes be sublime, alternatives do exist that won’t strip away the lining of your wallet or increase the lining of your arteries.

A recent study found that the British spend £29.4 billion a year on takeaways, and in some cities, residents visit their local takeaway 156 times a year on average. More than 50 million Americans eat fast food daily, and six per cent eat at fast food restaurants every day!

But fast food doesn’t have to mean fat food – here are six tips to finding healthier options when you desire a speedy meal.

1) The smell of deep fried chicken can be irresistible. But there are leaner choices. Anything roasted or skinless is good, and if possible shy away from mayonnaise and sauces, or ask to apply them yourself.  Why not just take a little bit of chicken – such as a spicy wing or three or breast in a wrap, and bulk out the meal with salads or corn?

2) Salad selection boxes are popular but it’s easy to cram in too many high calorie spoonfuls. Avoid creamy or oily foods – try packing the bed with salad, tomatoes and other steamed/green vegetables, and a few of the less healthy treats on top. And if you must sprinkle fried onions or bacon bits, do it in moderation! Why not take a look at Urban Eat’s options, including our Ham Hock & Egg salad at just 289 calories.

3) We all love a good sarnie, but some are more waistline-friendly than others. A few better options which you may be able to find include prosciutto, lettuce and tomato; red onion and olives; pulled chicken with a little sauce; and grilled goat’s cheese with fig and honey.

4) The thought of a late-night curry can destroy willpower, but as with most fast food, deep fried, creamy and doughy equals despair. Swap the korma or tikka masala with naan breads and pilau rice for tandoori or madras, plain rice, and chapattis.

5) Burgers can be healthy with a few modifications. Grilled is better than fried, and chicken and turkey are better than beef or lamb. Hunt around and you may find interesting variations such as tuna or salmon, sweet potato, black bean, quinoa or red lentil burgers. If you want to lower the carbs, go for a wrap rather than a bun.

6) The advent of street food means better cuts of meat, organic vegetables, and authentic tastes from across the world. This may not necessarily mean a low fat or carb content, or indeed a low price, but there is a much higher chance that preservatives, colourings and additives will not have been used. Ask the trader about the food, most will be more than happy to talk to you.

So there are alternatives to the fat-fest you’re used to, it’s just a case of exploring variations on tried and tested favourites – or delving into new ideas altogether.