Decades ago, healthy fast food was an oxymoron, but a few years into the new millennium, and several standout fast food restaurants are catching up with the times. If you too find fossilized McDonald's French fries to be kind of unsettling, or if you're just hoping to clean up your workday lunch, these fast casual chains have some delicious and fairly healthy options for everyone.
And if you have kids, just think of this as Parenting 2.0. While there's nothing wrong with giving your kids fast food every once in a while, taking them to one of these "fresh" restaurants can teach them to enjoy healthier versions of their favorite treats:
Though not every sandwich is healthy, Subway is by far one of the healthiest fast food restaurant chains around. Nothing is fried and most of the ingredients are fresh (or as fresh as they possibly can be). Order your sandwich without any mayonnaise or fattening dressings and add a bag of Baked! Lay's on the side. The whole meal will be right around 500 calories (for a six-inch sub) versus more than 1,000 for a meal from McDonald's.
Who doesn't love soup, salad and fresh-baked sandwiches? Paradise Bakery offers an array of healthy options for you and your family. We love their new Roasted Turkey & Avocado BLT paired with a Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad. Be warned, though — the cookies are big, delicious and fattening! Avoid them if possible or only eat half of one to save yourself some calories.
Craving Mexican food but don't want the grease and heaviness of a sit-down restaurant or the high-sodium content of Taco Bell? Head to Chipotle. Chipotle puts you in charge of your own meal and only provides the freshest of ingredients. Opt to get a burrito bowl to save 300 calories over the tortilla, and go light on the cheese and sour cream. Other than that, Chipotle is a healthy and affordable choice for a family Mexican meal.
Jason's Deli is similar to Paradise Bakery but has significantly more locations spread throughout the U.S. It offers sandwiches, salads, wraps, pastas, paninis and more. Though you could very well consume more than 1,000 calories in a single trip, it's just as easy not to. Choose fresh fruit or steamed veggies as your side, avoid the pasta dishes and go with broth-based soups instead of cream-based. Your waistline will thank you later.
If you don't happen to live near one of the above-mentioned restaurants, have no fear. Nowadays, almost all fast food restaurants offer healthy choices, you just have to know what to look for.
Healthy eating tips include:
Updated by Bethany Ramos on 5/23/2016
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