According to a study by the company Popmenu, 50% of consumers in the United States eat at quick service restaurants at least twice a week, and this percentage is expected to increase, in part due to the high cost of grocery shopping.
Despite the wide range of quick-service restaurants, not all of these restaurants offer a menu that is completely clean and free of artificial ingredients that could have negative health effects.
But can you choose healthy alternatives to eating out? How can people choose these foods correctly?
“Contrary to what is thought, it is possible to incorporate meals outside the home into a good diet. There are alternatives that can be just as similar to the ones we prepare at home, as long as we pay attention to variety, balance, and moderation,” explains nutritionist Getsen Rodriguez Jiménez.
Here are three questions to consider the next time you dine out:
According to the graduate, the first step in choosing the best place to eat out is figuring out what we’re going to eat.
“You should look for options, preferably on the grill, and alternate red meat consumption with plant-based options as they have a lower impact on the cardiovascular system and the environment,” he suggested.
He also emphasized the importance of adding salads to our menu and including fresh alternatives and water to keep us hydrated.
For Rodrguez Jiménez, this is a question most people don’t consider when choosing their eating habits.
“We need to figure out if it’s a single, double, or triple portion and if it’s a single option (e.g., just the hamburger) or a combination (which usually includes an appetizer or dessert)” , he said.
Recognizing the amount of food consumed helps achieve balance and moderation – keys to healthy eating both at home and outside.
“It’s important to see how often we eat out, but it’s just as important to know which place offers the healthiest option,” he said.
“We need to choose restaurants that offer alternatives without additives, preservatives, artificial flavors and colors because it’s just as important as how much and what we’re going to eat,” he said.
Additives such as flavorings, colorings, preservatives or preservatives are substances that are added to products or foods during their manufacture or processing. Its purpose is, among other things, to extend the useful life of food and to maintain a consistent taste and consistency.
“There are more and more products with these ingredients or additives. According to studies, these changes in diet can lead to a number of metabolic and hormonal changes over the long term, which in turn can trigger allergies, hives, dermatitis, hyperactivity in children, gastrointestinal disorders such as bloating and diarrhea. and lead to overweight and obesity,” he explained.
Therefore, it is important that when people visit their favorite fast food restaurant, they research the options available and make sure there is a preservative-free menu.
Burger King, a food alternative without artificial additives
The restaurant chain Burger King, for its part, offers a menu that is 100% free of artificial additives, colors and flavorings, according to the health expert.
“The company noticed a consumer a while ago who was more conscious of their diet and how diet would affect their health,” he said.
Burger King’s preservative-free menu includes the fast-food chain’s Whopper variety, chicken sandwiches, breakfast options and a variety of salads, among others.
“Of course there are food alternatives that can be just as similar to what we prepare at home. We just need to know how to select them,” he stressed.