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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Healthy Fast Food?

      Almost everyone likes Fast Food.  But can you eat healthy or at least somewhat healthy and enjoy Fast Food?  Almost every Fast Food establishment offers some healthier options.  What can you eat and enjoy at Fast Food places and not ruin your health?  MSN had an interesting article this week, 15 of the healthiest fast-food menu items 
     1.        McDonald’s  

  • Egg McMuffin – 300 calories.  Always a favorite and one not so loaded with calories, and now always available.  Eggs are a great protein source, the slice of Canadian bacon adds protein and isn’t as high in fat as regular bacon.  The cheese adds some dairy, the muffin the bread group.  Add some orange juice and you have a pretty balanced breakfast.  
  • Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich – 360 calories.  Always choose grilled and not the deep fried chicken or meats.  This cuts a lot of fat calories out.  Either hold the mayo or go lightly on it as mayo adds only fat and no nutrition to your meal.  Add some lowfat milk, apple slices and a salad and it is a pretty balanced meal.  
     2.       Chipotle – yes, they have had some issues with food sanitation but they have worked hard to fix this.  They have many healthy options: 
  • Chicken Burrito Bowl – Brown rice is whole grain and a great way to get some whole grains into your day. Skip the sour cream, or go lightly, and the side of chips which are loaded with fat and calories.  
       3.       Starbucks – great coffee and now some ways to enjoy breakfast   
  • Spinach and Feta Wrap – only 290 calories.  Add a side of Greek yogurt for more of a protein punch.   
      4.       Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap for lunch, 340 calories.  Add some fresh fruit, small salad, a low fat milk for a healthy lunch option.   

      5.       Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad – full size is 380 calories.  (Skip the Spicy Caesar Chicken Salad which sounds healthy but packs a whopping 790 calories and is full of fat, with 51 grams.) Add some low fat milk and you have a healthy meal with a good portion of protein for your muscles and to give you some “staying power” – or fill you up so you are not so hungry after lunch. 
       6.       Shake Shack – if you want a hamburger the single hamburger is an option, about 385 calories.  Make it a cheeseburger and it’s 455 calories.  Add lettuce, onion, tomato and a pickle for some veggies.  You would need to add some fresh fruit, low fat milk and a small salad to balance out the meal.    

       7.       Taco Bell – Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme – 340 calories.  Instead of high calorie, high fat sour cream, this burrito uses salsa.  Salsa is low in calories and super healthy as it is loaded with antioxidants.  As above, good idea to add yogurt, small salad and fresh fruit to balance this meal. 
      8.       Panera – a favorite.  I especially like the “You Pick 2” option with half a sandwich and a salad.  A good sandwich choice is Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Whole Wheat bread, about 430 calories.  (Their whole grain bread is not 100% whole grain but does have some whole grain.) Or choose “You Pick 2” and get half a sandwich.  Panera offers a lot of low calorie cold drink options including unsweetened Ice Tea, unsweetened Plum Ginger Hibiscus Tea, Acai Berry Green Tea.  Skip the sugar by skipping the sweetened beverages and skip those calories.   

      9.       Dunkin Donuts – Egg White Flatbread – 280 calories.  One of their items that is not deep fat fried.  Good protein, some dairy in the cheese.  Add some juice and of course, black coffee for a healthier breakfast choice.   

     10.   Papa John’sGarden Fresh Pizza – 2 slices, 400 calories.  Who doesn’t like pizza?  Hard to make real healthy by this choice at least has some veggies.   A high sodium meal so cut back on your salt the rest of the day.  If ordering as take out, add a small salad and some fresh fruit to balance the meal.  

Who doesn’t enjoy some Fast Food?   To help you choose healthier options, look up the menu online before you go.  Pull up the nutrition facts and pay attention to the total calories, total fat, saturated fat and sodium.  Every Fast Food establishment has some healthier options.  To help you make healthier choices when eating out, a link to the nutrition information of the above Fast Food establishments is noted below.

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