Wining & Dining
Healthier Fast Food
3/5/2018 1:04:19 PM
Fast Food

While none of it is "healthy,” (even some fast food salads have too much sodium!) if you must hit the drive-thru, know your best options to make wise "heathier” choices.

The average American consumes 12% of their diet annually from fast food chains or drive through restaurants. Twenty percent of American meals are eaten in a vehicle. Fast food is great for its convenience. It’s easy to eat on the way to or from work, and you can feed the whole family quickly and easily during a tough or busy week. What’s inconvenient is eating fast food while trying to eat healthy. But not all fast food is bad for you. Some fast food favorites have healthy menu items that don’t taste like paper. 

Before we get to the list, let’s talk a little about what a healthy menu item is. For this list we’re defining "healthy” as an entrée that must have less than 600 calories, less than 800mg of sodium, no trans-fat, less than 20 grams of added sugar, and must include at least 10 grams of protein. While you should always shoot for less sugar and less sodium, it’s tough to find fast food options light on them. This list also assumes you are not combining these menu items with sides or sugar sweetened beverages. 

Starbucks: Reduced-fat Turkey Bacon, With Egg Whites, and White Cheddar on ½ an English Muffin. At only 230 calories, and 18 grams of lean protein from egg whites and turkey, this tasty sandwich makes for a relatively healthy breakfast. But be careful -- 560mg of sodium is on the high side, so be mindful of your sodium intake throughout the rest of the day.  

Subway: Six-inch Turkey Breast Sub on 9-Grain Wheat with Swiss Cheese, Banana Peppers, Cucumbers, Green Peppers, Lettuce, Spinach, Tomatoes, Avocados and vinegar dressing. It’s easy to eat healthy at Subway as long as you custom order. Choose lots of vegetables, less or no cheese, and always stick with the six inch sandwich. This sandwich, with 390 calories, 22 grams of protein, 720mg of sodium, and 14g of fat make it a decent healthy lunch. Try it without the turkey for fewer calories and more veggies. 

Burger King: The BK Veggie Burger. With 390 calories, 21 grams of protein, 16 grams of fat, this sandwich is a decent healthy option, but be careful of its 900mg of sodium. Many of Burger King’s menu items come packed with sodium, even their salads. So always research the nutrition statistics before ordering. Most chains have nutritional information on their websites.

Chick-fil-A: Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap. Weighing in at a svelte 340 calories, but packing 36 grams of protein, this wrap is great after a hard morning workout, but again be careful of the 900mg of sodium it comes with. 

The key to eating healthy in any situation is to do your research. Find or ask for the nutrition information for whatever you’re ordering, even if it’s on this list, and be mindful not only of how many calories you’re consuming, but how many of what kind of calories you’re putting in your body.
Posted by: John O'Donnell | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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