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Fast Food Facts

Eating on the Run

When people are in a rush, we often like to eat a quick meal at a fast food restaurant. What you might not know is that you can live in the fast lane and still make healthy food choices. It just takes a little more planning.

Fast food meals tend to be high in fat, salt and calories and low in fibre. A poor diet with these factors may increase your risk of health problems. However, more fast food places are now including lower-fat food are now including lower-fat food items. You can also ask fast food restaurants for the nutrition and ingredient lists for their menu items to help you make wiser choices.


  • Choose low fat milk or fruit juice instead of soft drinks.
    • Soft drinks provide calories, but are low in vitamins and minerals.
  • Milk shakes may be high in fat and sugar. Choose shakes made with low fat milk.
  • Choose low fat beverages such as smoothies.


  • Choose foods like whole wheat bagels, english muffins or toast with peanut butter.
  • Low fat muffins may not be low in calories. Ask for the nutrition information.
  • Scrambled or poached eggs and lean ham instead of fried eggs and bacon.

Lunch and Dinner

  • A good choice is a single hamburger or cheeseburger with a few basic toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions and peppers.
  • Skip processed cheese sauces and slices which are high in fat.
  • Skip the high fat sauce, mayo or bacon, which add fat and calories.
  • Instead of breaded or fried chicken sandwiches, nuggets or strips, go for grilled chicken.
  • Choose a baked potato or garden salad instead of fries. Ask for lower fat sour cream or salad dressings on the side and skip the bacon bits and cheese.
  • Avoid high fat salads like coleslaw, potato or macaroni.
  • Order a vegetarian pizza with toppings like tomatoes, onions, peppers or mushrooms. Skip the extra cheese, sausage and pepperoni to cut out some fat.
  • Try whole grain breads, bagels or buns for fibre with sandwiches. Pile on the veggie toppings like tomato, lettuce, peppers, sprouts and onions. Choose turkey, roast beef or black forest ham instead of salami, bologna or other luncheon meats. Add mustard or low fat mayo instead of butter and dressing.
  • Tuna, chicken or ham salad can be very high in fat.
  • Vegetable based soups and chilli are usually lower in fat than cream based soups.
  • Don’t be tempted to SuperSize® your fries and drinks. This adds lots of extra calories and fat you don’t need.
  • Fast food fare is usually low in vegetables and fruit. Be sure to include some fruits and veggies in the rest of your day.


  • Pass on the pies, cakes, danishes, turnovers or sundaes.
  • Plain cookies, low fat frozen yogurt or ice milk are better choices.

Enjoy the occasional fast food fix

Eating out at fast food places can be part of a healthy diet, but don’t depend on fast foods to meet all of your nutritional needs. Eating a variety of foods from Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating will help you to get all the nutrients you need to be healthy.

Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide

  1. Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group every day.
  2. Choose lower-fat foods more often.
  3. Choose leaner meats, fish and poultry, as well as dried peas, beans and lentils more often.
  4. Choose dark green and orange vegetables and orange fruit more often.
  5. Choose whole grain and enriched products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.
  6. Choose lower-fat milk alternatives more often.
  7. Eat at least two food guide servings of fish each week.
  8. Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
  9. Choose half of your grain products as a whole grain.

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