It may be summer time but staying away from junk food isnt easy. Fast food outlets specialise in catering for eyes, nose and taste buds.

Therein lies the fastest route to your wallet.

Fast food does not cater for your future well-being, say an hour after your meal when the kids are ratty, or when youre slumped at your desk trying to forget feelings of lethargy, indigestion and bloating.

The principles of selling fast food are simple: take advantage of a customers befuddled senses and rape their taste buds, while they obligingly wave the cash.

Nobody wants to know about the ongoing abuse to their digestion and immunity.

Attempts to give fast food a healthier image remain dismal. Picture the slug-like gherkin in a hamburger, or the rather sorry affair called salad, garnished in hydrogenated goo and accompanied by a sad, green tomato.

Its enough to put anyone off healthy food for life.

Unlike fries and pizza, the average fast food salad does not send out the tantalising, albeit chemically - concocted smells which drive us to eat food that is clearly unhealthy.

Either our senses have been expertly manipulated or we have taken leave of them altogether.

Manipulation is the name of the game.

Even the tabloids tell us how to become prize manipulators in order to get what we want.

Never mind that what we want isnt necessarily always good for us.

Yet, thankfully, many people are starting to look at what they eat.

But as they become ever more health conscious, companies are resorting to manipulative practices that involve not only smell but perception.

Clever packaging has become more important than nutritional content, in the same way that image can triumph over integrity if we allow it to.

My advice is to scrutinise processed foods dont be taken in by the wholesome images on the packaging.

Instead, check labels carefully to see whether the food actually contains the suggested nutritious items, or is made mostly from artificial ingredients and fillers.

Some manufacturers seem to be replacing E numbers with the full chemical name of the food additive in order to make their product appear more wholesome than it really is.

A handy booklet on E numbers and possible sideeffects can be obtained from Foresight, the Association for Pre-conceptual Care (send an SAE with a cheque for £2.50 to Foresight, 28 The Paddock, Godalming, Surrey GU7 1XD).

This summer, why not forsake the junk and treat yourself to a big, green, leafy salad every day.

Heres how: make a base of organic green salad leaves and top with grated carrot, courgettes, chopped celery and peppers.

Make it colourful, add chicken pieces, fish or houmous and splash on some french dressing (one part cider vinegar, one part cold-pressed oil, wholegrain mustard, seasoning and a spot of honey).