Many of the fast-food restaurants where teenagers like to gather offer not only high-fat burgers and fries but also a selection of healthy alternatives.
- A chicken fajita instead of a breaded chicken sandwich
- A lean burger instead of an outsized special with lots of fat-laden trimmings
- A baked potato instead of high-fat french fries
- A main-course salad from the salad bar with low-fat dressing
- Nonfat frozen yogurt with a fresh fruit topping instead of an ice cream sundae or a large wedge of pie
- Water or a low-fat milkshake instead of soda or a regular shake
Still, fast-food restaurants have unhealthy features as well, including
- The food is high in fat and carbohydrates.
- The portions are large, so meals may contain as many calories as adolescents need in a whole day.
- The sodium content in some meals may be more than what teens need in a day.
- A large soda may contain 17 teaspoons of sugar.
Teenagers will eat pizza even when they turn down almost any other food. Luckily, pizza can be a healthy balance of complex carbohydrates, vegetables, protein, and a little fat—if it’s garnished with vegetables such as tomato sauce, mushrooms, eggplant, and peppers instead of high-fat toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, and extra cheese.