Healthy “Fast Food” Awards

“Fast food” is taking a turn for the better. It is no longer (necessarily) associated with grease, fat, and god-knows-what-that-is. Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s still have quite a ways to go, but it seems that everyone is at least putting in an effort.

Here is a list of my go-to fast food restaurants for when I’m traveling, out of food, or simply don’t feel like cooking. Like all fast food, they must be enjoyed in moderation; it is always better to cook for yourself, so you can see exactly what goes into what you are eating, but clearly some options are better than others.

1. Panera Bread

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This restaurant really caters to its health-conscious customers by listing the calories for just about every item right on the menu board. The You-Pick-Two option allows you to customize your meal with a large selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches from which to choose. Their website also has a Nutrition Calculator that allows you to add multiple items and view all of the nutrition information for your entire meal.

My Favorite Options:

    • 1/2 BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad (250 calories)
    • 1/2 Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (200 calories)
    • 1/2 Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (200 calories)
    • Cup of Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (110 calories)
    • Cup of Low-Fat Garden Vegetable Soup (110 calories)
    • 1/2 Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (300 calories)

2. Subway

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When all else fails, there’s almost always a Subway somewhere close by for me to get my veggie sub fix. With options for whole wheat bread and all the vegetables your heart can handle, you can’t go wrong. I always order the Veggie Delight with low-fat honey mustard dressing, usually topped with swiss cheese and toasted. You can get all this in a foot-long for just over 500 calories. Subway also posts their nutrition information on the menu for all of their basic sandwiches.

3. Starbuck’s

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While some items on the Starbuck’s menu are dietary disasters, there are tons of healthy, low-cal options as well.

Drinks

    • Grande Mocha Light Frappuccino (140 calories)
    • Chocolate Vivanno Smoothie (270 calories)
    • Grande Soy Latte (170 calories)
    • Grande Skinny Latte (170 calories)
    • Unsweetened Iced Green Tea (0 calories)

Food

    • Turkey Bacon, Egg White, Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich (320 calories)
    • Spinach, Tomato, Feta, Egg Wrap (280 calories)
    • Perfect Oatmeal (140-390 calories)
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