Fast food

"Upsizing" your meal will really push the fat, salt and sugar right over the top.
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 
  • Updated:9 Jan 2005
 

01 .Introduction

Fast-food-iStock

In Brief

  • Fast food has to take at least some of the blame for an increasingly fat Australia. See 'Upsizing' and obesity (below) for more.
  • Healthier choices are the exception rather than the rule at the big chains — but there are some out there. The best of the lot... has details.
  • Upsizing may be good value for money, but your arteries (and backside) won’t thank you for it.

When we started analysing the nutrition info from the fast-food giants, even our hardened food team was shocked by the amount of kilojoules, fat and salt that some options packed (see the table, for details). A burger with 65 grams of fat — that’s around three tablespoons, even before you add the chips and other possible extras. A serve of crunchy chicken strips that’s over 2000 kJ? And our kids eat this stuff?

No wonder we’re evolving into a nation of fatties.

Please note: this information was current as of January 2005 but is still a useful guide today.


Calorie-guzzling couch potatoes

The PR knives are out for the health experts who’ve dared to implicate fast food as part of the problem of increasingly fat Australians.
Articles abound suggesting it’s inactivity that should be blamed — and we’re not disagreeing that sitting in front of the telly or computer is a big part of the problem. But 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.

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.

Upsize — to the next trouser size

It’s a strong person who can resist such great-value deals. 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.
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.

And as anyone who’s visited one of these meccas of fast cuisine knows, the upselling doesn’t stop there — the famous cry of “you want fries/dessert/shake with that” has entered the national lexicon and echoes around our shopping malls and eateries every minute of every day.

So where do you go if the kids are demanding a fast-food fix, but you don’t want to blow your diet and your waistline? Here’s a look at what the big chains have on offer … a little good, but mostly bad and some downright ugly.

 
 

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Fast food future - May 2004 update

“We’ve made the decision to be part of the solution to the obesity problem by creating healthier choices and improving nutrition information, while at the same time satisfying customers and stakeholders.”
Guy Russo, CEO McDonald's Australia

Since May 2004, nutrition information has been given on the packaging for McDONALD’S:

  • Big Macs
  • Quarter Pounders
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Junior Burgers
  • McOzs
  • Sausage and Egg McMuffins.

And during April and May 2004, burger buns with 50% less sugar than before were also introduced.

The next phase for nutrition labelling, due to happen from August, will cover McDONALD’S: chicken and fish products and fries, among other foods. Crucially, all restaurants will be replacing the beef tallow (fat) currently used for cooking with a liquid canola oil, which is lower in saturated fat. And we can expect an alternative Happy Meal — in the research and trial stage at present, but thought to incorporate lean meat as well as fruit and vegies — to be launched later in the year.

They now have a range of filled baguettes on the menu.

We welcome this positive and proactive move from one of the leading players in the fast-food industry. But the whole industry needs to work on healthier fast food if we’re to seriously tackle Australia’s high obesity levels — improving the nutrition profile of all current big sellers as well as creating new products.

See the 2004 update on McDonald's salads.

The way it was in April 2003

There’s not much on offer for the diet-conscious eater — even the tiniest burger on the menu (the Junior Burger) has around 1000 kJ. While you might think the fish or chicken options would be leaner than the heavyweights — Big Mac, Quarter Pounder with Cheese or McOz burgers — don’t be taken in. Filet-o-Fish still manages three teaspoons of fat despite its small size, and a McChicken only has a teaspoon less than a Big Mac.
And if you’re making a full meal of it, it’s pretty much chips or chips.

If you’re vegetarian, don’t bother even going in … there’s no vegie option and even the chips and apple pies are fried in beef tallow.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.

See the 2004 update on Hungry Jack's salads.

HUNGRY JACK’S burgers tend to be on the larger side, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that a Whopper outwhops a Big Mac by more than 700 kJ and around three teaspoons of fat. And a Double Beef and Cheese Whopper almost doesn’t bear thinking about: nearly 4200 kJ (1000 Calories) and 65 grams of fat — that’s three tablespoons.

Looking for an option that's easier on the arteries? They now have a range of filled baguettes on the menu.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.

Not too much deserving of an honourable mention here — the Colonel’s coating with its secret herbs and spices sure soaks up the fat. The Original Fillet Burger is the best of the lot with 'only' 18 grams (three-and-a-half teaspoons) of fat, but even the Twister — which sounds healthy with its chicken strips and salad in a tortilla roll — has one-and-a-half tablespoons of fat and over 2500 kJ.

Side dishes like potato and gravy or corn aren’t loaded with fat, so if you eat them instead of chips it balances things out a bit.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.
The RED ROOSTER chicken pieces on offer are less fatty than KFC Original Recipe, probably because there’s no batter-like coating, and if you choose lower-fat side dishes like potato and gravy or peas instead of chips, things look even better. But the real star of the line-up is the Sub 97 — a low-fat sub roll with barbecue chicken, salad and mayo. This offering gets the fat way down to only four grams a serve.

Just don't assume that all of Red Rooster's menu items fit the same bill: its Strip Sub (crunchy chicken breast strips, herb sauce and lettuce in a freshly cooked baguette) and Flayva (crunchy chicken breast strips, herb sauce, lettuce, cheddar cheese and tomato in a fresh tortilla) contain around two and two-and-a-half tablespoons of fat respectively — largely due to the crunchy coating on the chicken.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.
Though the burgers and flame-grilled chicken here are not always lower in fat and kilojoules than elsewhere, being able to get low-fat side dishes like salad and spicy rice makes getting a healthy balance easier than at the chips-with-everything chains. You can even get a Chicken Garden Salad that only has around a teaspoon of fat.

There’s also something for vegetarians to get their teeth into — without breaking the fat bank. The Veggie Burger and Veggie Pita are joined by salads, spicy rice and grilled corn to give vegetarians the best choice of any of the chains.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.
The SUBWAY chain of sandwich shops offers a range of meat and salad rolls. It was handed PR fame when a US uni student, Jared Fogle, went from 425 lb to 190 lb (193 kg to 86 kg) on a diet of coffee for breakfast and a SUBWAY sandwich for lunch and dinner. Others have followed where he led and the chain proudly uses him in their advertising (while carefully noting that they don’t actually endorse his ‘diet’).

The reason he succeeded? Portion control — meaning he dramatically cut the amount of food he ate — and he always chose one of the 7 under 6 subs (originally seven subs that had less than 6 g of fat). There are certainly more healthy choices here than the other big chains (and a couple of vegie options), but not everything gets a thumbs-up. You need to choose carefully or you can still blow the bank — some options on the regular menu get close to 2000 kJ and the Chicken and Bacon Ranch Wrap has over a tablespoon of fat.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.

ALI BABA

(Nationally, but mostly in NSW, ACT and Victoria.)

THE KEBAB CO

(Based in WA, plus outlets in Victoria and NZ.)

UNCLE TONY’S KEBABS

(Queensland, NT and northern NSW.)

Expect to spend about 2000 kilojoules on a kebab. However watch your choice — some (like THE KEBAB CO’s Doner Kebab) can blow the fat out to nearly two tablespoons. And though UNCLE TONY’S look the best on paper, it’s mainly because they’re much smaller than ALI BABA’s or THE KEBAB CO’s.

A falafel roll is a good choice (and means vegetarians are happy), but some of the other kebabs on offer are just as good.

See the full table for fast food comparisons.

Most pizzas today are just fast food, and are a long stretch from the pizzas common in Italy — thin crust, plenty of tomato sauce, olive oil and vegetables or lean, thinly sliced ham, with a smattering of mozzarella. Most people know fast-food pizzas aren’t on the list of foods we should eat regularly, but every now and then in an otherwise balanced diet is fine. Even then, there are some better choices you can make from a nutrition perspective.

In brief:

  • Crusts. Our previous tests haven’t found much difference between thin or thick crusts (as long as you eat about the same weight of each). But don’t fall for the stuffed version — there should be ample cheese on the pizza already without adding more kiloujoules and salt hidden in the crust.
  • Vegie v meat toppings. If you’re trying to keep the fat down, vegetarian toppings are generally a good choice. If you add a meat-based topping to a thick-crust pizza you’re looking at over 1000 kJ per slice. Three slices of most supreme pan pizzas give you more than a third of the recommended kilojoule intake for the day for a moderately active woman, or about a quarter of that for a moderately active man. Not to mention around 30 g of fat, about half of which is likely to be saturated.
  • Salt. If you’re watching your salt intake, avoid anchovies, olives and meats such as salami, pepperoni and ham.
  • Cheese. To cut the fat and salt further ask for less cheese, rather than more.

Oh, and easy on the garlic bread.

You may have wondered how the kids’ meals stack up. Well, when we did the sums across the offerings from McDONALD’S, KFC, RED ROOSTER and HUNGRY JACK’S, we found they were all much the same.

A kid’s meal buys you 2000 to 3000 kJ, 20 to 30 grams of fat and way more salt than a kid needs.

Not exactly health food figures — so if there’s a bonus toy it had better be good!

11.The best of the lot ...

 
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 Fresh Sub 97, or 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 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 are also good choices.

You could also steer towards a filled baguette or salad from McDONALD'S or HUNGRY JACKS, but you still need to be careful with the choice you make, as while on the surface they appear to be the healthiest options, this isn't always the case. See Salads — 2004 update for details.

12.Table - foods compared

 
Fast food outlet Menu item
(in order of energy per serve within meal type)
Energy
(kJ / serve)
Fat
(g / serve)
Sodium
(mg / serve)
Size
(g / serve)
BEEF BURGERS
McDONALD’S Junior Burger 1000 9 410 95
McDONALD’S Cheeseburger 1190 12 640 110
McDONALD’S Lean Beef Burger (D) 1250 9 670 175
HUNGRY JACK'S Hamburger 1330 15 530 120
HUNGRY JACK'S Cheeseburger 1500 18 730 130
HUNGRY JACK'S Whopper Junior 1670 24 530 160
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper Junior with Cheese 1840 27 730 170
McDONALD'S Big Mac 2010 25 800 200
McDONALD’S McOz 2080 24 980 255
McDONALD’S Quarter Pounder with Cheese 2270 29 1180 205
HUNGRY JACK’S Double Cheeseburger 2390 34 1010 200
HUNGRY JACK’S Double Cheeseburger with Bacon 2640 40 1240 215
HUNGRY JACK’S Aussie Burger 2690 33 1230 310
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper 2740 39 930 270
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper with Egg 2880 42 980 295
HUNGRY JACK’S Bacon Deluxe 2930 49 1070 235
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper with Bacon 2980 45 1170 285
HUNGRY JACK'S Whopper with Cheese 3100 46 1350 295
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper Double Beef 3780 58 1010 350
McDONALD'S Whopper Double Beef with Cheese 4150 65 1440 375
CHICKEN BURGERS
RED ROOSTER Chicken Cheese Burger 1620 18 770 130
McDONALD’S McChicken 1750 20 700 185
KFC Original Fillet Burger (E) 1900 18 1090 210
NANDO’S Chicken Breast Burger with Mayo 1930 14 650 ns
KFC Original Bacon & Cheese Burger (F) 2120 22 1520 215
KFC Zinger Burger (G) 2240 25 1040 215
RED ROOSTER Chicken Crispy Fillet Burger 2280 28 1430 215
RED ROOSTER Chicken Real Bacon Burger 2480 27 1640 240
KFC Zinger Bacon & Cheese Burger (H) 2580 33 1520 240
FISH BURGERS
McDONALD’S Filet-o-Fish 1360 15 610 130
VEGIE OPTIONS
SUBWAY Veggie Delite Sub (J) 960 4 550 160
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Salad Kebab 1010 8 450 160
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Falafel Kebab 1050 6 470 160
McDONALD'S Vege Pesto Roll (K) 1370 10 730 230
McDONALD'S Vege Plus Roll (L) 1480 10 800 260
ALI BABA (B) Falafel K'Bab 1910 13 940 290
THE KEBAB CO (C) Falafel Kebab (M) 1930 9 690 300
NANDO'S Veggie Burger with Mayo 2220 16 1020 ns
NANDO'S Veggie Pita with Mayo 2230 18 1180 ns
HUNGRY JACK’S Vegie Supreme Baguette 2250 23 1330 235
McDONALD'S Vege Burger (D) _ _ _ _
KEBABS
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Doner Kebab 1090 10 350 160
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Chicken Kebab 1250 12 390 160
THE KEBAB CO (C) Chicken Kebab (M) 1940 17 360 300
ALI BABA (B) Beef K'Bab 2070 22 1000 290
ALI BABA (B) Chicken K'Bab 2190 9 1160 290
ALI BABA (B) LambKebab 2200 15 2160 290
THE KEBAB CO (C) Doner Kebab (M) 2650 34 1340 305
CHICKEN WRAPS AND ROLLS
SUBWAY Roasted Chicken 6-inch Sub (J) 1280 5 710 225
McDONALD'S Chicken Tandoori Roll (N) 1400 7 1190 240
McDONALD'S Thai Chicken Roll (K) 1480 8 950 240
SUBWAY Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki 6-inch Sub (J) 1540 5 1460 265
NANDO'S Grilled Chicken Wrap with Mayo 1540 13 810 ns
RED ROOSTER Fresh Sub 97 1590 4 590 225
HUNGRY JACK'S Grilled Chicken Baguette 1620 9 1270 225
HUNGRY JACK'S Spicey Chicken Baguette 1620 8 980 235
SUBWAY Chicken Fillet 6-inch Sub 1710 17 1230 230
NANDO'S Chicken Breast Pita with Mayo 1740 11 490 ns
SUBWAY Chicken & Bacon Ranch 6-inch Sub 1890 18 1590 275
SUBWAY Chicken & Bacon Ranch Wrap 1890 23 1840 260
McDONALD'S Chicken Caesar Roll (N) 2360 21 1370 245
KFC Twister 2610 33 1400 245
RED ROOSTER Rooster Roll 2740 32 920 240
HUNGRY JACK'S Country Chicken Baguette 2760 35 1320 220
RED ROOSTER Strip Sub 3290 39 1320 270
RED ROOSTER Chicken Flayva 3360 50 700 285
CHICKEN BITS ‘N’ PIECES
NANDO’S Quarter chicken leg (with skin) 720 9 490 ns
KFC Nuggets — 6 1160 17 650 110
NANDO'S Quarter chicken breast (with skin) 1200 12 740 ns
McDONALD'S McNuggets — 6 1260 20 430 110
NANDO’S BBQ Wings — 5 1320 20 510 ns
KFC Kentucky BBQ quarter chicken (O) 1420 23 900 150
RED ROOSTER Quarter roast chicken (leg) 1422 22 870 145
KFC Popcorn chicken — regular serve 1530 22 820 120
NANDO'S BBQ thigh fillets — 4 1550 17 700 ns
HUNGRY JACK'S Chicken nuggets — 7 1580 23 920 135
RED ROOSTER Nuggets — 8 1640 24 620 135
RED ROOSTER Chicken Strips — 3 1870 28 1120 155
KFC Original recipe chicken — 2 pieces 1900 29 840 160
RED ROOSTER Quarter roast chicken (wing) 1920 20 1700 265
KFC Crispy strips — 3 2060 22 820 205
Fast food outlet Menu item
(in order of energy per serve within meal type)
Energy
(kJ / serve)
Fat
(g / serve)
Sodium
(mg / serve)
Size
(g / serve)

The data is taken from nutrition information provided by the manufacturers. The figures are rounded to the nearest 5 gram serve size, 10 kilojoules, 1 gram fat and 10 mg sodium.
(A) Uncle Tony’s Kebabs are in Queensland, NT and northern NSW.
(B) Ali Baba is national, but has most outlets in NSW, the ACT and Victoria.
(C) The Kebab Co is based in WA, but has outets in Victoria and NZ.
(D) From McDonald's "Salads Plus" menu.
(E) Different in Queensland and WA: 1930 kJ/459 Cal, 21 g fat, 970 mg sodium, 180 g size.
(F) Different in Queensland and WA: 2260 kJ/537 Cal, 26 g fat, 1310 mg sodium, 215 g size.
(G) Different in Queensland and WA: 2340 kJ/556 Cal, 31 g fat, 1060 mg sodium, 205 g size.
(H) Different in Queensland and WA: 2660 kJ/632 Cal, 36 g fat, 1440 mg sodium, 230 g size.
(J) One of Subway's "6 grams of fat or less" menu items.
(K) From McDonald's "Deli Choices" menu. Not available in Tasmania, regional NSW & Queensland.
(L) From McDonald's "Deli Choices" menu. Only available in Tasmania, regional NSW & Queensland.
(M) These figures based on a standard kebab without sauce.
(N) From McDonald's "Deli Choices" menu.
(O) Only available in limited KFC outlets.

13.How much fat a day?

 
Here’s a rough guide to how much you need each day to maintain your weight:

Fast food outlet Menu item
(in order of energy per serve within meal type)
Energy
(kJ / serve)
Fat
(g / serve)
Sodium
(mg / serve)
Size
(g / serve)
BEEF BURGERS
McDONALD’S Junior Burger 1000 9 410 95
McDONALD’S Cheeseburger 1190 12 640 110
McDONALD’S Lean Beef Burger (D) 1250 9 670 175
HUNGRY JACK'S Hamburger 1330 15 530 120
HUNGRY JACK'S Cheeseburger 1500 18 730 130
HUNGRY JACK'S Whopper Junior 1670 24 530 160
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper Junior with Cheese 1840 27 730 170
McDONALD'S Big Mac 2010 25 800 200
McDONALD’S McOz 2080 24 980 255
McDONALD’S Quarter Pounder with Cheese 2270 29 1180 205
HUNGRY JACK’S Double Cheeseburger 2390 34 1010 200
HUNGRY JACK’S Double Cheeseburger with Bacon 2640 40 1240 215
HUNGRY JACK’S Aussie Burger 2690 33 1230 310
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper 2740 39 930 270
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper with Egg 2880 42 980 295
HUNGRY JACK’S Bacon Deluxe 2930 49 1070 235
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper with Bacon 2980 45 1170 285
HUNGRY JACK'S Whopper with Cheese 3100 46 1350 295
HUNGRY JACK’S Whopper Double Beef 3780 58 1010 350
McDONALD'S Whopper Double Beef with Cheese 4150 65 1440 375
CHICKEN BURGERS
RED ROOSTER Chicken Cheese Burger 1620 18 770 130
McDONALD’S McChicken 1750 20 700 185
KFC Original Fillet Burger (E) 1900 18 1090 210
NANDO’S Chicken Breast Burger with Mayo 1930 14 650 ns
KFC Original Bacon & Cheese Burger (F) 2120 22 1520 215
KFC Zinger Burger (G) 2240 25 1040 215
RED ROOSTER Chicken Crispy Fillet Burger 2280 28 1430 215
RED ROOSTER Chicken Real Bacon Burger 2480 27 1640 240
KFC Zinger Bacon & Cheese Burger (H) 2580 33 1520 240
FISH BURGERS
McDONALD’S Filet-o-Fish 1360 15 610 130
VEGIE OPTIONS
SUBWAY Veggie Delite Sub (J) 960 4 550 160
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Salad Kebab 1010 8 450 160
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Falafel Kebab 1050 6 470 160
McDONALD'S Vege Pesto Roll (K) 1370 10 730 230
McDONALD'S Vege Plus Roll (L) 1480 10 800 260
ALI BABA (B) Falafel K'Bab 1910 13 940 290
THE KEBAB CO (C) Falafel Kebab (M) 1930 9 690 300
NANDO'S Veggie Burger with Mayo 2220 16 1020 ns
NANDO'S Veggie Pita with Mayo 2230 18 1180 ns
HUNGRY JACK’S Vegie Supreme Baguette 2250 23 1330 235
McDONALD'S Vege Burger (D) _ _ _ _
KEBABS
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Doner Kebab 1090 10 350 160
UNCLE TONY’S (A) Chicken Kebab 1250 12 390 160
THE KEBAB CO (C) Chicken Kebab (M) 1940 17 360 300
ALI BABA (B) Beef K'Bab 2070 22 1000 290
ALI BABA (B) Chicken K'Bab 2190 9 1160 290
ALI BABA (B) LambKebab 2200 15 2160 290
THE KEBAB CO (C) Doner Kebab (M) 2650 34 1340 305
CHICKEN WRAPS AND ROLLS
SUBWAY Roasted Chicken 6-inch Sub (J) 1280 5 710 225
McDONALD'S Chicken Tandoori Roll (N) 1400 7 1190 240
McDONALD'S Thai Chicken Roll (K) 1480 8 950 240
SUBWAY Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki 6-inch Sub (J) 1540 5 1460 265
NANDO'S Grilled Chicken Wrap with Mayo 1540 13 810 ns
RED ROOSTER Fresh Sub 97 1590 4 590 225
HUNGRY JACK'S Grilled Chicken Baguette 1620 9 1270 225
HUNGRY JACK'S Spicey Chicken Baguette 1620 8 980 235
SUBWAY Chicken Fillet 6-inch Sub 1710 17 1230 230
NANDO'S Chicken Breast Pita with Mayo 1740 11 490 ns
SUBWAY Chicken & Bacon Ranch 6-inch Sub 1890 18 1590 275
SUBWAY Chicken & Bacon Ranch Wrap 1890 23 1840 260
McDONALD'S Chicken Caesar Roll (N) 2360 21 1370 245
KFC Twister 2610 33 1400 245
RED ROOSTER Rooster Roll 2740 32 920 240
HUNGRY JACK'S Country Chicken Baguette 2760 35 1320 220
RED ROOSTER Strip Sub 3290 39 1320 270
RED ROOSTER Chicken Flayva 3360 50 700 285
CHICKEN BITS ‘N’ PIECES
NANDO’S Quarter chicken leg (with skin) 720 9 490 ns
KFC Nuggets — 6 1160 17 650 110
NANDO'S Quarter chicken breast (with skin) 1200 12 740 ns
McDONALD'S McNuggets — 6 1260 20 430 110
NANDO’S BBQ Wings — 5 1320 20 510 ns
KFC Kentucky BBQ quarter chicken (O) 1420 23 900 150
RED ROOSTER Quarter roast chicken (leg) 1422 22 870 145
KFC Popcorn chicken — regular serve 1530 22 820 120
NANDO'S BBQ thigh fillets — 4 1550 17 700 ns
HUNGRY JACK'S Chicken nuggets — 7 1580 23 920 135
RED ROOSTER Nuggets — 8 1640 24 620 135
RED ROOSTER Chicken Strips — 3 1870 28 1120 155
KFC Original recipe chicken — 2 pieces 1900 29 840 160
RED ROOSTER Quarter roast chicken (wing) 1920 20 1700 265
KFC Crispy strips — 3 2060 22 820 205
Fast food outlet Menu item
(in order of energy per serve within meal type)
Energy
(kJ / serve)
Fat
(g / serve)
Sodium
(mg / serve)
Size
(g / serve)
Group Energy
(kJ)
Fat
(g)
Sodium
(mg)
Woman (18–60, light activity, 60–70 kg, not pregnant) 9,000 70 920–2300
Man (18–60, light activity, 70–80 kg) 11,500 90 920–2300
Teenage girl (16, light activity) 9,500 75 920–2300
Teenage boy (16, light activity) 12,500 100 920–2300
Child (eight years old) 8,000 65 600–2300

And when you're reading nutrition information, use the following as a guide:

5g fat = 1 teaspoon
4 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon

14.Salads - 2004 update

 

After spotting the ads claiming "even the salads are better at Hungry Jack's" we thought we should check them out.

We found that, without dressing, the garden and chicken salads from Hungry Jack's and McDonald's are pretty good choices. What makes the difference are the dressings.

While both chains dressings add a fair bit of salt, none of the dressings at McDonald's pumps up the fat as much as most of Hungry Jack's offerings. Hungry Jack's French dressing is a good low-fat choice, but its 1000 Island and Caesar dressings contain at least two teaspoons (10 grams) per serve.

If you want a chicken Caesar salad, McDonald's offers a low-fat Caesar dressing that keeps the fat down in it Chicken Caesar salad, and it compares well to even the undressed Hungry Jack's version.

Less fat, but still fattening

McDonald's is now offering some low-fat options. It claims its new Salads Plus menu offers "Food that is light yet high in taste - to leave you feeling good." But while definitely a step in the right direction with at least 60% less fat than a Big Mac, the new menu options can still load on the kilojoules.
The Roast Chicken Salad (with 872kJ) isn't a bad bet, but a Chicken Foldover packs 1836kJ, which is 33kJ more than a McChicken, and a Vege Burger has 1707 kJ, only about 340kJ less than a Big Mac.

And watch out for the extras. If you round off your Chicken Foldover with an orange poppy seed Muffin Lite (1634kJ) and wash it down with a medium Diet Coke (6 kJ) you're up for a total of 3476 kJ - which is already more than 60% of the daily 5600 kJ provided by the CSIRO'S Total Wellbeing Diet that's designed to help you lose weight.