Week 6-food For Health: Healthy Eating At Fast Food Restaurants

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America has been called a "fast food nation" and for good reason. Everyday, one out of four Americans eats fast food. If you are eating out, fast food restaurants are often the cheapest option, but unfortunately, not usually the healthiest one. Eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium and fat for an entire day, but the quick-and-cheap temptation can be hard to resist. As an informed customer, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the convenience of fast food restaurants.

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Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Figuring out healthier options at your favorite fast food burger chain can be tricky. A typical meal at a burger joint consists of a "sandwich", some fries and a drink, which can quickly come in at over 1700 calories for something like Burger King's Triple Whopper with a large fries and a 16 oz. soda. Select better options that are less than 500 calories.  (Select all that apply.)

    • A.

      Grilled Veggie or Chicken Burger.

    • B.

      Regular single patty burger, small fries, and water.

    • C.

      Taco Salad.

    • D.

      Fried fish sandwich and fries.

    • E.

      Large beef burger, skip the fries and soda and have a side salad and water instead.

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Grilled Veggie or Chicken Burger.
    B. Regular single patty burger, small fries, and water.
    E. Large beef burger, skip the fries and soda and have a side salad and water instead.
    Explanation
    Correct answer: A,B, and E. You don't have to give up foods you like, simply pair them with better choices, choose them less often, or downsize.

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  • 2. 

    Although certain chains have been advertising “no trans fats” in their food, the fact is that fried chicken can pack quite a fattening punch. According to the restaurant’s nutrition info, just a single Extra Crispy Chicken breast at KFC has a whopping 440 calories, 27 grams of fat, and 970 mg of sodium.  Healthier fast food chicken choices would be: (Select all that apply) 

    • A.

      Breast meat with the skin.

    • B.

      Drumsticks.

    • C.

      Grilled breast meat without skin.

    Correct Answer(s)
    B. Drumsticks.
    C. Grilled breast meat without skin.
    Explanation
    Correct Answer: B & C. A healthier choice is the drumstick, which has 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 370 mg of sodium. Alternatively, if you like the breast meat, take off the skin and it becomes a healthy choice at 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 520 mg of sodium.

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  • 3. 

    An average fast food meal can run as high as 1000 calories or more. Select ways to reduce high calories per meal.

    • A.

      Choose a smaller portion size.

    • B.

      Share a dessert.

    • C.

      Share a meal or bring 1/2 of it home.

    • D.

      Replace fries with a side salad with dressing on the side.

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Choose a smaller portion size.
    B. Share a dessert.
    C. Share a meal or bring 1/2 of it home.
    D. Replace fries with a side salad with dressing on the side.
    Explanation
    Correct Answer: A, B, C, D.

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  • 4. 

    Select ways you can make healthier meal choices:

    • A.

      Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for our bodies to register that we have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied.

    • B.

      Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp with regular cola packs about 425 calories, so one Big Gulp can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea.

    • C.

      Don't be afraid to special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.

    • D.

      Watch your salt. Fast food restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure. Don’t add insult to injury by adding more salt.

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for our bodies to register that we have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied.
    B. Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp with regular cola packs about 425 calories, so one Big Gulp can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding a little lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea.
    C. Don't be afraid to special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
    D. Watch your salt. Fast food restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure. Don’t add insult to injury by adding more salt.
    Explanation
    Correct Answer: A, B, C & D

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  • 5. 

    The anti-carbohydrate revolution has given Italian food a bad rap, but Italian is actually one of the easiest types of cuisine to make healthy. Stay away from fried, oily or overly buttery, as well as thick crust menu items, and you can keep your diet goals intact. Watch out for the following terms, which are common culprits of high fat and calories.  (Select all that apply)

    • A.

      Lasagna

    • B.

      Stuffed Manicotti

    • C.

      Pesto Sauce

    • D.

      Alfredo

    • E.

      Tomato Sauce

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Lasagna
    B. Stuffed Manicotti
    D. Alfredo
    Explanation
    Correct Answer: A, B, D. Watch out for the following terms, which are common culprits of high fat and calories: alfredo, carbonara, saltimbocca, parmigiana, lasagna, manicotti, stuffed (all have heavy amounts of cream and cheese). Generally Italian places have lots of veggies in their kitchen so it’s easy to ask to have extra veggies added to your meal.

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