Can Fast Food be Healthy?

Would You Like Fries With That?

Let’s face it:
Eating out is entrenched in American’s lives. We’ve spawned more fast food restaurants and chain eateries than any other country. It’s no wonder our society is confronted with a weight/diet crisis. Regardless, everyone loves eating out. The atmosphere. The waiter (whether good or bad, either way its fun conversation). Not preparing the meal. Not cleaning up the mess. Americans are always on-the-go, so speedy restaurants and fast food joints are ideal to keeping up with our hectic lives.
But, they’re not always healthy.
Here’s a list of locations where you could fill your tank without feeling guilty:

Eat In Restaurants:

Olive Garden– Yes, a pasta restaurant can be healthy. Not only do they offer an icon to alert you to nutritional choices on their menu, but you can opt for whole-grain pastas. Their salad bowl is endless and if you play your cards right, you could afford to eat a breadstick.

Ruby Tuesdays– Starting the revolutionary idea of posting calories on their menu, this establishment takes it a step further by ensuring their ingredients are hormone-free and organic (even their drinks are healthy!). Any place that offers a whole-grain option in wraps is good in our book.

Uno’s- Recently refurbished, their menu focuses on keeping you healthy. Add a salad for half-price; get your brown-rice or flatbread instead of a deep dish pizza. Without trans-fats or preservatives in their food, their menu is definitely figure friendly.

Take Out:

Panera– Beyond posting their calorie count on the menu, and although the options for whole-grain bread, fresh fruit and tea are great, offering an apple instead of chips is why they make the list.

Chipotle– The “make-your-own” style food allows you to watch and decide what fresh ingredients enter your burrito and ultimately your stomach.

Au bon pain– It’s meat is preservative-free and they have special listings for protein, fiber and low-sodium meals. Their sandwiches and soups are properly portioned as well.

Be careful to note none of your classic drive-through spots are on this list. They would belong under the “not always healthy” statement. However, fast food is acceptable in moderation. When on the run to ballet practice or making it to the big game, be sure to choose your food carefully and remember this list of healthy eateries.

By Rachel Horwitz

PS One of my favorites for take out is Whole Foods.
Scrumptous deli, salad and hot food bars filled with tasty healthy meals! Dr. Barb