photo © Filippo Lodi for openphoto.net
I was thinking about healthier fast food options in regards to a health challenge my family is undertaking for our trip to Denmark this summer. Many of us want to feel strong and healthy for this big trip and so we are working on some goals together--goals like exercising, eating more fruits and veggies, staying away from refined carbs and sugar, and drinking lots of water.
I've found in my past attempts at improving my health that unless I walk out the door with a bag packed full of good food and some water, then I will likely make some mistake with my eating that day. Meaning usually that I won't eat until 3:00 or 4:00 pm in my work day when my body is screaming for food and then I will eat the first thing that I can lay my hands on--Snickers, bagels, yogurt, nasty dried-out sandwiches from the vending machines, candy on a co-worker's desk. Just something or anything.
In an attempt to find a middle ground between always packing a bag of food or eating only chocolate all day long, I've come up with a few healthier options for eating out. Now, mind you, I say "healthier" with caution. I know this isn't ideal food. It isn't home-cooked where I can control the additives and oils added to my food. But it is a nice way station on my trip to healthier lifestyle.
1. Subway--you can order any sandwich on whole wheat bread with lots of veggies or you can order any sandwich as a salad. If you go light on the mayo and sauces, you end up with something relatively healthy that will give you lots of veggies. I like the oven-roasted chicken breast on whole wheat--then toast it to up the yum factor. They have several sandwiches under there list of 6 grams of fat or less that you can see by clicking on the Subway link above.
2. Carl's Jr.--They have something that's either called low-carb style or protein style where you can order any sandwich and ask for it low carb and they will wrap the whole sandwich--meat, veggies, cheese--in lettuce leaves rather than the bun. I'm sure this isn't the healthiest thing out there to eat, but it could help you if you are in a bind one day. My favorite is their grilled chicken club.
3. Cafe Rio--has great salads and tortillas with lots of fresh veggies. They also offer stone-ground wheat tortillas! As long as you don't overdo it on the rice at a place like this, this turns out to be very healthy meal. Because they are so packed with people usually, you can call ahead with your order and pick it up a few minutes later without having to wait in line. No brown rice here.
4. Bajios--they have great salads too. They have one--their Chicken Green Chile salad--that doesn't have rice and is yummy with the mango chutney. They also offer small whole wheat tortillas if you want to use them (that means they don't have large whole wheat tortillas that would come with their big salads or their enchiladas, but you can just have most of their salads without the tortilla if you want to). As long as you go light on the rice and the tortillas, you can have a great meal. No brown rice here either.
5. Taco Time--has a chicken and black bean burrito that is pretty good if you are in a pinch. I just ask them to hold the rice and ask for a whole wheat tortilla and you come away with an okay lunch. You can order a whole wheat tortilla on any of their items.
I can hope that with foods like this to help me in a pinch or a bind so that on a bad day I can keep up with this health challenge and actually make baby steps towards a healthier lifestyle.