Eat Healthy at Fast Food Restaurants Hyunkyung Kwon

We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu. We can make portion sizes smaller and emphasize quality over quantity. And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them. (Michelle Obama)

People need to make choices about foods they eat everyday. There are many types of foods, and different food choices impact people's health in different ways. What impact do these choices have on people's health now and in the future? What food choices will allow people to keep healthy bodies? What impact can food choices have on the quality of your life?


• About three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils.

• More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations, but, as discussed later in the chapter, are not meeting the recommendations for the subgroups within each of these food groups.

• Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.


By making shifts in food choices over time, we can have healthier eating patterns that can help support a healthy body weight, meet nutrient needs, and lessen the risk for chronic disease.

Still, it is easy to do so?

OVER THE LAST THREE DECADES, fast food has infiltrated every nook and cranny of American society. An industry that began with a handful of modest hot dog and hamburger stands in southern California has spread to every corner of the nation, selling a broad range of foods wherever paying customers may be found. (Fast Food Nation The Dark Side of the All-American Meal - ERIC SCHLOSSER)

It is almost impossible to tell our children to avoid fast food restaurants completely. The real question is: Can you really make healthy choices at fast food restaurants? The answer is yes. If you are aimed with the knowledge of food pyramid, recommended daily intake of food groups, you will be able to make healthy food choices. The video below will show you how to find out the healthy items to order from your favorite fast-food joints.


It is a 5-day project designed to help students learn about the food pyramid and healthy eating guidelines. Students will apply mathematical thinking and calculations to make healthier menu choices at fast-food restaurants such as Panda Express, Dominos and Subway.


Students will need some prior knowledge of one's general health and healthy choices. Students will work cooperatively to solve a problem that requires them to use their knowledge of the food pyramid and healthy eating guidelines.

The project should begin after learning about calculations dealing with fractions because it requires addition, subtraction, and multiplication of fractions.



  • Research and analyze information about the food pyramid, food types and food qualities to determine how food choices impact one's healthy body


  • Create and present a PowerPoint presentation


  • Addition, subtraction, and multiplication of fractions
  • Compare the numbers while determining the nutritional value in each food
  • Communicate mathematical ideas using language, efficient tools, appropriate unites and graphical or numerical mathematical models

THE STORY behind the project

Your friends Sarah and Daniel have been gaining weight and feeling unhealthy from eating fast food every meal. You have realized that their prior food choices have resulted in weight gain and unhealthy bodies. Because they do not know how to cook, they promised themselves that they would buy a nutritious (focusing on grains, fruits, and vegetables) meal with the $8 they each have to spend on dinner. the restaurants near where the can dine out are panda express, dominos, and subway. your team wants to help either him or her to make it possible to buy at only one of these fast food restaurants a healthy meal that is well balanced and minimizes the intake of unhealthy fat. Sarah has already eaten one-half of the recommended daily total fat and saturated fat intake and 1200 calories. Daniel has consumed two-thirds of the recommended daily total fat and saturated fat intake and has eaten food containing 1500 calories.


  • Research about the food pyramid, health food choice guidelines and menus of each restaurant from the websites
  • Learn about reasonable amounts of daily calories, total fat, and saturated fat intake or Sarah and Daniel
  • Discuss in group about the food choice that helps Sarah or Daniel that does not exceed the recommended daily calories and grams of total fat and unsaturated fat
  • Present and defend your food choices in a PowerPoint presentation format (5-10 minutes) to a panel of health professionals in a week


  • To work cooperatively as a group using class time efficiently
  • To apply their knowledge of healthy food choices to select a balanced dinner that contains low amounts of saturated fat and trans fat at one fast-food restaurant
  • To use mathematics skills to determine the amount of food needed and evaluate the food choices made by their group members


  • Group Contribution Log: At the end of each day of the project, one person will record in the group contribution the progress made during the day, any challenges the group encountered that day, and the plan for the next day.
  • Presentation: (i) well delivered with poise, confidence, eye contact, and appropriate pacing; (ii) well organized and easy to follow; (iii) visual aids and handouts are clear and contribute to the presentation; (iv) correct calculations; (v) accurate information; (vi) within budget; (vii) clear pictures or charts; (ix) well-constructed arguments; (x) evidence is cited and supports the argument; (xi) a strategy for collecting, organizing, and analyzing the data from the measure is described; (xii) thoughtful responses to Q&A session

MORE ACTIVITIES (If You have time to spare)

  • Write a journal of your food consumption for a day and analyze how nutritious your food choices were
  • Visit a local shopping center or the mall and record the menus of fast food restaurants. Determine which restaurants offer the healthiest eating options and which restaurants are the least and most expensive to eat at
  • As a restaurant owner, create 5 healthy menu options for your restaurant
  • Make suggestions about other healthy food choices (not from fast food restaurants) and physical activity plan for Sarah and Daniel


Chapter 2 - Current eating patterns in the United States. In Dietary Guidelines 2015 - 2020. Retrieved from

Hyunkyung, K. (2016). Eat healthy at fast food restaurants. In Capraro, M. M., Whitfied, J. G., Etchells, M. J., and Capraro, R. M. (Eds.), A companion to interdisciplinary STEM project-based learning, pp. 203-208. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Schlosser, E. (2000). Introduction. In Schlosser E., Fast food nation: The dark side of the all-American meal. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved from


Created with images by Pexels - "appetizer delicious dish" • nikkigensert - "prosciutto meat salami" • uwlideas - "#Food" • Couleur - "pretzels fritters baked goods" • camy west - "Food" • Couleur - "berries blueberries raspberries" • Efraimstochter - "currants berries fruit" • Couleur - "zucchini vegetables yellow" • FraukeFeind - "kale vegetables brassica oleracea var"

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