How Healthy are Teen Food Choices

Anyone who has seen Fast Food Nation or Super Size Me knows that fast food such as pizza, burgers, fries, etc. are not the best food options teens – or anyone for that matter – should go for.

It is reported that Americans eat at fast food restaurants around four times a week on average. It’s also estimated that kids aged 6 – 14 eat at fast food restaurants 157 million times a month.

Why are fast foods so popular? Because they are fast (hence the term), convenient and often inexpensive – making them very affordable to teens and students on a tight allowance.

But the truth is, fast foods are inexpensive because they are made with cheaper ingredients such as high fat meat and/or foods that contain a lot of unhealthy fats, such as saturated fats and trans fats, and cholesterol.

Here are some examples:

For every 100g serving

  • A typical fast food croissant, with egg and cheese has 8g Saturated Fat
  • BURGER KING, Vanilla Shake Saturated Fat: 6g
  • McDONALD’S, Sausage Patty Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Fast foods, salad, vegetables tossed, without dressing, with turkey, ham and cheese Saturated Fat: 6g
  • POPEYES, Fried Chicken, Spicy, Skin and Breading, analyzed prior to January 2007 Saturated Fat: 6g
  • McDONALD’S, California Cobb Salad without chicken Saturated Fat: 5g
  • McDONALD’S Biscuit has 4g total trans fatty acids
  • McDONALD’S, Baked Apple Pie Total trans fatty acids: 4g
  • KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, Biscuit, analyzed prior to January 2007 Total trans fatty acids: 3g
  • KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, Popcorn Chicken, analyzed prior to January 2007 Total trans fatty acids: 3g
  • BURGER KING, French Fries Total trans fatty acids: 3g
  • McDONALD’S, Hash Browns Total trans fatty acids: 3g
  • McDONALD’S, French Fries Total trans fatty acids: 3g

This is not to say that eating at fast food restaurants is bad. No. According to youngwomenshealth.org, there is no such thing as ‘bad’ food. All foods are good, but they should "fit into a healthy meal plan." So eating at fast foods is okay – once in a while.

Eating too much fast food can cause you to have several health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Remember, although fast food is convenient and inexpensive, there are healthier alternatives available to you.