Even the hardened CHOICE food team was shocked by the amount of kilojoules, fat and salt that some options packed. A burger with 67 grams of fat ? that?s around three-and-a-half tablespoons, even before you add the chips and other possible extras. Or a serve of crunchy chicken bits that?s nearly 2000 kJ are just two examples.

If the kids drag you to worship regularly at the fast-food altar and you?re looking for something that amounts to more than a tiny burger yet is healthier than the usual chain offerings, try:

    • RED ROOSTER?s Sub 97.


    • A visit to NANDO?S will give you a few options that won?t break the nutrition bank.


    • A KFC Orignal Fillet Burger ? if you go for potato and gravy or coleslaw with it instead of chips ? can be a reasonable option.


  • SUBWAY ? it offers plenty of choice as long as you?re careful not to add the high-fat options.
  • A falafel roll or some of the kebabs, which are also good choices.

The report also reveals that a kid?s meal from the big chains buys you 2000 to 3000 kJ, 20 to 30 grams of fat and way more salt than a kid needs. So if there?s a bonus toy, it had better be good!

Upsize to the next trouser size

Fast food?s easy availability, relatively low cost and the advertising-driven demand from our kids for fatty, salty, high-calorie fast food have to take some share of the blame for the expaning waistlines of our kids.

And the fast-food giants can take more blame still for their deliberate strategy aimed at increasing the amount you spend when you visit by offering meal deals and ?upsizes? where a little more money gets you heaps more food.

In some instances you even get more food for less money by taking a meal deal. For example, the smallest HUNGRY JACK?S meal deals include regular-size chips and soft drink, so if you really only want small chips and a small soft drink with your burger it?s going to cost you more for less.

A recent study by health researchers at Deakin University in Melbourne found one upsize deal that delivered as much as 50% more fat, calories and sugar for only 16% more money. On average they found 12% more cash buys you around 25% more fat and calories (and nearly 40% more sugar).

It may add up to value for money, but your arteries (and backside) won?t thank you for it.

For more information including a table of fast foods compared, check out the CHOICE free report Fast Food. You can also see hundreds of independent product tests from digital cameras to dishwashers at CHOICE Online ? www.choice.com.au. We?re a non-profit site funded by consumers.

? Australian Consumers Association 2003