On a training camp at the AIS some young drivers from the Confederation of Australia Motor Sports revealed they relied heavily on fast food when eating away from home. Their Sports Dietitian decided to do a practical session with the group to assess the menus of fast foods outlets.
It was pointed out that while many fast food options contain large amounts of fat and are low on nutrients, it is possible to make some appropriate choices. The drivers were provided with the following tips:
- Look for a main meal option that is relatively low in fat, moderate in protein and provide carbohydrate from sources that are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals (e.g. bread, rice, pasta, vegetables, salad or fruit).
- Avoid meal deals and size upgrades.
- Improve the quality of your meal by adding salad, fruit, yoghurt, low fat milk, extra high fibre bread etc.
- Remember to include fluid with your meal. Water and juice are preferable to soft drink.
- Limit the number of times you need to find a restaurant with appropriate food choices, by purchasing breakfast and lunch supplies from a supermarket or bring them from home (e.g. Cereal and milk or the ingredients to make sandwiches). It will also save you time and money.
The group completed the session with a cooking lesson to demonstrate how easy it could be to prepare meals away from home. The drivers were surprised that it was possible to prepare a meal in about 15 minutes – less time than it would take to drive to a restaurant and order. The drivers discussed time-saving ways to reduce the preparation time involved in cooking. Some of these included:
- Plan the meal before leaving home. Take as many ingredients you can from home and purchase fresh ingredients at the destination.
- Make use of time-saving products such as pasta sauce, frozen or canned vegetables, pizza bases, salad mixes etc.
- Look for recipes that can be cooked in one pot – pasta sauce, stirfries, curries etc.
- Take with you or purchase small containers that you can store left overs in for the following day.
- Share the workload among a group.
- Prepare recipes that you are familiar with and are able to adapt if products or cooking equipment is unavailable.
Written by AIS Sports Nutrition, last updated June 2010. © Australian Sports Commission.