Making Healthy Choices ... With Fast FoodPosted on Jul 7th 2011 11:00AM by That's Fit Editors
David McNew, Getty Images
Going through the drive-thru doesn't have to mean heading to an early grave. The fast food industry has recognized America's efforts to make better food choices. Most -- if not all -- of the major fast food chains have introduced healthier options to their menus. The problem thus far has been that these so-called "healthier" items were still loaded with sodium and hidden sugars. But with trial and error, there has been some improvement.
Subway, long recognized for having fast, healthy options on their menu, started providing breakfast in early 2010. These additions gained popularity with consumers and have remained on the menu ever since. Subway upped the ante on these breakfast options by providing meal-deals as low as $2.00 or $3.00, which include a cup of coffee. What's great about Subway is the variety of choices you can come up with. No two meals are the same. The breakfast items include your choice of: black forest ham, eggs or egg whites, cheese, bacon and all the fresh veggies you could want -- on your choice of bread, of course. The Western egg white sandwich on a whole-wheat muffin comes in at only 160 calories with a whopping 16 grams of protein. Protein is the building block of muscles and it is also denser than complex carbohydrates, which means that food chock-full of protein will keep you full and satisfied throughout your morning.
In addition to the breakfast items, Subway also offers their Fresh Fit line on the menu, which makes it easier for you to know which items are the healthiest options. These sandwiches include black forest ham, roast beef, the popular veggie delight and my favorite, the oven-roasted chicken (among others).
The healthy choices do not end with sandwiches. Wendy's, long known for their hamburgers, has recently begun adding healthier options to their menu as well. They started by offering an option for which side you choose with your meal. This is particularly good for the kids' menu, which allows you to bypass the greasy French fries and opt for apple slices and a milk or fruit juice instead of soda.
Wendy's newest addition, the Berry Almond Chicken Salad, is a flavorful mix that won't break the bank or ruin your waistline. The salad contains 11 types of various field greens, chopped chicken breast, shaved Asiago cheese, blueberries and sliced strawberries, making it taste just as good as it sounds. The optional toppings include a small bag of sliced almonds and fat-free raspberry vinaigrette dressing. This salad is one of the better varieties I've seen on a fast-food menu. The chicken is grilled -- rather than fried -- and the fruit makes it very flavorful, with just a hint of cheese bringing it all together. The full size ranges between 280-470 calories and the half size comes between 140-270 calories.
Ultimately, there are fast food options out there that will not only satisfy your taste buds, but also keep cash in your pocket and the extra weight off your hips. The next time you're hungry and on the go, remember that the days of grabbing a burger and fries have changed considerably. You have options and you have choices -- make a healthier one.
Cynthia Vespia is a published author, creative design specialist, award-winning video editor, and certified personal trainer through the National Federation of Personal Trainers (NFPT) and National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF). Vespia is the author of several novels including "Life, Death and Back" and the Best in Series nominated fantasy e-book "Demon Hunter." Read her blog on Red Room.