For many teens, fast food is an integral part of their life. Whether it’s going across the street to Burger King during lunch release with some friends or stopping by McDonald’s on their way home from practice to grab a quick bite, fast food infiltrates all of our lives at one point or another. This doesn’t change the fact that fast food is some of the most unhealthy, caloricaly compact, and nutritionally deficient food that we can possible consume. Fast food industries purposefully target teens because of their busy lifestyles and desire for instant gratification making them a high-risk population for the negative effects of fast food.
One particular article I found talked about how fast food industries offer “values” which encourage consumers to buy more in order to get the most for their money. The danger of this nearly always overlooked even by the health conscious. These “values” often contain the recommended amount of calories for an entire day, but contain hardly any nutrients and way too much sodium and fat. Trying to get the best “value” for your money at a fast food restaurant is dangerous, but especially to young people who can create lasting habits and health problems.
The fact that fast food is unhealthy for us is not news. This does not change the fact that for many, especially teens, fast food is unavoidably a part of their life. For that reason I have included this article where you can learn about healthier, low calorie fast food options. Some other things that I recommend to help fight against the fast food frenzy include:
– Pack a snack for after school or practice so that you are not tempted to grab something on your way home
– Limit the number of times you frequent fast food (try cutting it in half or picking a set amount of visits per month)
– Use the nutrition facts posted online or at the restaurant to help you choose healthier options when you do get fast food
– Get a water to drink instead of a soda or other beverage
– Avoid “value” menus and choose items from the dollar menu when possible (they are usually smaller in size)