Junk the fast food!

The Asian Age.  | Jasmine Sahaney Pillai

Life, Food

Despite the presence and temptation of fast food options all around us, preparing and eating home-cooked meals is a healthier pick.

Jasmine Sahaney PillaiMost dishes in restaurants and fast food joints have a high sodium content so that the food tastes better.

With the huge number of fast food joints that have sprung up in the city today, it is so tempting to just grab a meal on the go. But while it’s convenient, looks, smells and tastes great, in the long run, is it really worth falling prey to bad food habits and health issues?

No doubt cooking at home may seem a bit intimidating, but all it takes is a bit of planning and preparation to come up with a healthier and even tastier version of your favourite fast food.

Here’s why it’s worth the effort:

Fresh ingredients more nutritious

Most fast foods are cooked with ingredients which are either frozen or chopped and prepared in advance to be used as and when required. Not only do these ingredients lose their nutritional value over time, but most of them often have a lot of flavour enhancers and other chemicals to retain their freshness.

Fresh ingredients add better flavour while retaining all the health benefits.

Sodium content is high

Most dishes in restaurants and fast food joints have a high sodium content so that the food tastes better. It’s a known fact that high sodium levels can lead to many illnesses, including hypertension and heart disease. At home, one can control the salt levels.

Portion control

When we pick up any fast food, we feel obliged to finish it as we enjoy it and also feel guilty about wasting food. If cooked at home, you could make the portion size to your liking.

Calorie control

All fast food are very high in calories — but by cooking at home, you could control the calories by substituting or using smaller quantities of certain ingredients.

Reused oil

It’s a known fact that almost all restaurants and fast food joints reuse oil for frying. This process has been proved to be carcinogenic and is one of the more harmful effects of fried fast food.

Cost effectiveness

Anything that you cook at home is almost always cheaper than eating out.


All kinds of crisps/fries can be made from any vegetable in an air fryer or baked in an oven.

Use lettuce as a substitute for bread or any wrap or even papad, even for burgers in place of the bun.

Prep for most fast food can be done in the earlier part of the day and cooked at the last minute.

Measure out all items in advance and review menu so it can be whipped up in a jiffy.

Mix any fruit pulp with plain yoghurt  and freeze as dessert, add honey if required.

For a quick and healthy mocktail, mix any fruit juice with a little soda and  lime and mint and serve on ice.