Fast food is junk food

Food eaten for convenience is not necessarily lacking in nutritional value or a risk to health. Some of the most convenient foods like a piece of fruit, a wholemeal salad sandwich, or baked beans on toast, are all healthful ways of eating. Also all food needs to be considered in the context of the total diet, rather than any single occasion of eating.

Unhealthful fast foods (convenience foods sold ready to eat such as battered fish and chips, hamburgers, hot dogs and meat pies) are generally fatty, often fried, salty and low in dietary fibre (roughage). But fast foods do not have to be unhealthful. For example, lean hamburger meat can be served with plentiful salad in a low-salt, wholemeal bread roll with little butter or margarine. Fish can be grilled instead of fried, eaten with lemon or vinegar rather than salt, and the chips can be thick rather than thin so that they absorb less fat on frying.

The term 'junk food' is not the same as convenience food or fast food. It can be used to mean foods which are relatively low in nutrients compared to their energy (kilojoule) content. Generally junk foods rely on flavours such as salt or sugar and artificial colours for their appeal.