The healthiest fast-food eats

Fast food: a cardinal diet sin? Find out why that might not be true Discuss this article

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We all do it. We all eat fast food. Whether it’s a quick Lebanese meal or a full-on combo lard-fest, modern life is fast and our eating habits have followed suit. But is it possible to eat ‘healthy’ fast food? Derrick Branford, a record-breaking Olympic weightlifter, is now taking it upon himself to train the Middle East population on nutrition and healthy eating through his company, American Fitness. ‘When I was an Olympic weightlifter, we would travel a lot,’ he explains. ‘It’s not like we took a packed lunch. We often had to eat on the road; we just made smart choices.’ Here are Derrick’s top picks from a typical Bahrain food court.


Japanese

Grilled salmon bento (hold the rice)
‘Salmon is packed with Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, which are super-healthy. Go for grilled – stay away from anything breaded and fried. The sauce may have a little sugar, but it’ll be counteracted by the protein.’

Chicken yakitori bento (hold the rice)
‘It’s grilled and comes skinless with a seaweed salad, as well as fruit, both of which are healthy. The salmon is a better choice and this is a little high in sodium, but it’s OK if you’re sweating it out. With all bento boxes, hold the rice and replace it with lower-glycaemic carbs such as veggies.’

Tofu, wakame and cucumber salad
‘Tofu is a soy protein, so this is a complete, well-rounded meal because you get the combination of protein and low-glycaemic carbs. The seaweed is a superfood that’s packed with iodine, which raises your metabolism by maximising your thyroid output.’

Any sashimi dish
‘Sashimi is pure protein – this is the best option if you’re trying to lose fat. It’s high in protein and essential fatty acids: your body can use those acids in place of carbs. This is what an elite athlete would choose.’

Miso soup
‘This contains a pro-digestive enzyme that’s great for digestion. It also falls under the volumetrics plan, which runs on the premise that you eat what fills you up on the least calories – these are high-water and high-fibre foods.’

Avoid
‘Anything breaded and fried, such as tempura and fried rice.’

Italian

Campo Di Fiori salad (go easy on the olive oil dressing, as it’s high in calories)
‘This is the best salad choice of any restaurant tested. The chicken is roasted and healthy; you get superfoods with tomatoes, mixed leaves and asparagus; and it has the healthiest dressing on the menu: vinegar and olive oil. Eating this meal a few times a week will have your skin glowing!’

Thin Romana pizza (choose any toppings, but hold the cheese)
‘These pizzas are stretched thin, helping to reduce the amount of carbs in each slice, but do still use portion control. Cut out the cheese to remove the major caloric contributor of the meal and to avoid combining fats and carbs, which is diet sabotage [carbs and fat combined boost your insulin levels and drive fat cells into storage].’

Pizze Integrale (any toppings, but hold the cheese)
‘Again, cheese is a no-no [it’s very high in fat], but the dough is wholemeal, which is a lower glycemic option than regular crust. Use portion control.’

Minestrone soup
‘Great for a volumetric style of eating. Eat this as a meal in itself, or before a meal to control appetite.’

Avoid
‘Pasta; calzone (it’s pizza with twice the carbs); and risotto (essentially just rice drenched in fat).’

By Time Out Bahrain staff
Time Out Bahrain,

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