Collective, traditional or fast food … which of these provides the best nutritional benefits for people who eat away from home? This is the question that ANSES asked itself who carried out an inventory, based on data from the INCA3 study carried out in France in 2014-2015, the food consumption of these meals taken away from home. This inventory does not take into account the situation related to Covid-19 since the health measures in place have modified the methods of restoration and their frequency. But the latter “could serve as a reference photograph to assess the evolution of the situation in the medium or long term”, explains the Agency.
ANSES first of all recalls that in France, every week, 83% of children and adolescents and nearly 80% of working adults and students eat one or more meals outside their home. Attendance at out-of-home catering (RHF) is correlated with age, socio-economic level and the size of the town of residence. Among active adults and students, it mainly concerns individuals between the ages of 18 and 44. The over-represented categories include executives and liberal professions as well as people living in large cities, “Where the supply is abundant and travel between home and work is restrictive. ”
Too many fatty, salty and sweet foods in fast food restaurants
More and more frequented by the French, fast food is however the one that the agency advises against the most. The reason is simple: the risk of poor quality nutritional intake among consumers. This seems to particularly attract adolescents, since fast food ranks second in terms of frequentation of RHF and contributions to the contributions behind school restaurants, “yet of better quality from a nutritional point of view”, points l ‘Handles. Thus, its attendance at least once a week doubled between 2006 and 2014, at adults and children and adolescents, suggesting “a greater contribution in the future”.
However, adults and adolescents considered to be heavy consumers of fast food are more likely to consume large amounts of food groups in this type of establishment, such as sandwiches, pizzas, pies and soft drinks without alcohol. Knowing that the portion sizes are also generally greater than those offered in traditional catering or at home. This is why ANSES wishes to alert “on the degraded nutritional quality of fast food “and pleads for the improvement of the offer” to be the main priority to improve the quality of the diet of people who are followers of it. ”
The advantages of better supervised collective catering
Conversely, experts recommend facilitating access to the greatest number of people to collective catering, school and company restaurants, which appears to be more in line with current dietary recommendations than the other categories of out-of-home catering. The Agency presents it as “the most frequented and the most qualitative of the RHF offer”. According to its estimates, 40% of adults and 75% of children and adolescents go to company restaurants and school restaurants at least once a week. Behind meals at home, collective catering is therefore the one that contributes the most to the food consumption of individuals.
Namely that the nutritional intake would be of the order of 10% in adults and between 15 and 20% in children and adolescents. This type of restoration has the advantage of being framed by guidelines dictating the composition of the meals : the menus are more in line with current dietary recommendations. Consumers have more access to fruits and vegetables, dairy products and fiber while the supply of soft drinks, sandwiches, pizza, pies, pastries and crackers is minimal. As a result, ANSES recommends that a larger share of it benefit students and children from the less privileged social backgrounds.
As for traditional catering, this is considered by ANSES as a limited lever ” to improve the diet outside the home of the French ”, even if areas for improving the nutritional profile of the meals served there have been identified for certain nutrients (energy, lipids, carbohydrates). Finally, ANSES recalls that 80% of the nutritional intake of individuals comes from food at home: optimal food quality must therefore be integrated into a global approach. Besides a better food offer, this must also include “the implementation of additional measures such as information or nutritional education of the populations. », She concludes.
How to eat healthy in a restaurant?
What could be nicer than going out to a restaurant? One-on-one with the loved one, with friends, or with family, being able to choose an à la carte dish without having to cook is a much appreciated luxury. But be careful, because this moment of pleasure can turn against you, and in particular against your health. Calories, salt, bad fats and sugar cunningly hide in the noon or evening formula. Find out about the most common dangers and the best ways to avoid them.
Beware of hidden salt
If you try to follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization by limiting your salt intake to less than 5 grams per day, you may have unpleasant surprises. Because this type of information is not noted on the menu. Certain dishes, even certain drinks, can hide a high amount of sodium, reminds the site Consumer Reports. To avoid going overboard, limit the consumption of pre-seasoned sandwiches, pizzas, burgers, chicken and salads.
Decipher the flirty descriptions
Artisanal, sustainable, locally sourced, grass-fed, free-range and gluten-free … many formulations intended to attract customers to certain foods are sometimes misleading. Gluten-free pasta, for example, contains as much saturated fat as regular pasta. Inquire about lighter options, less fat and lower in calories, which may be under a separate name or menu, or ask the person who serves you for advice. If in doubt, you can eat half of your meal and take the rest home. This will reduce the calories, salt, fat and sugar consumed.
Beware of oversized salads
“I just want something light. I’ll have a salad.” Watch out for the trap! Salads in restaurants are rarely light. Try to favor those made with lettuce, vegetables, fruits, protein and healthy fats. Beware of those that contain breaded or crispy ingredients. Another tip: ask for the dressing on the side, dip the tines of your fork in it, then grab some salad. This will give you the flavor you want, but use much less industrial dressing.