Kez Tabelisma, takes a quick tour around some of Nashville’s fast food outlets to see if they have something healthy on the menu. Here’s what she found:
When you think of fast food, what usually comes to mind? Burgers. Fries.
A slew of high-caloric and deep-fried goodness. People in America eat fast food almost every day. For some, that’s all they care to eat. But why is this the case? Simple. It’s fast, and it’s cheap. In this rapid-paced world we live in, people are looking for the quickest and easiest ways to get food. But this sometimes isn’t the healthiest, and the problem that many people face is that a lot of the food they consume from these places is just full of sugar and empty calories.
Thankfully, however, many fast food joints are catching on to the healthy eating craze and are starting to offer other healthier items on their menus. Here are some healthier options from three local fast food joints that Nashvillians have come to know and love.
Five Guys is known to serve some of the best burgers in town with the perk of letting customers choose as many toppings as they’d like. From adding grilled onions to dousing it in A1 sauce, you can imagine how big these burgers can get. Some healthier options include:
The Veggie Sandwich
This is a neat little menu item that most people overlook but it’s probably a healthier choice. This is pretty much a burger without the patty and cheese. You have the option of choosing the veggies you’d like, or you can go with the original which includes grilled onions, mushrooms, green peppers, lettuce and tomatoes.
Nutritional info: 440 calories, 60g carbs, 15g fat, 1,040mg sodium
The Bunless Hamburger
For you meat lovers who just can’t imagine a burger without the meat but still want to eat healthy, you can try this option instead. It’s just like Five Guys regular hamburger but without the bun. This lowers the calories in your meal yet still maintains a burger-like taste.
Nutritional info: 406 calories, 11g carbs, 30g fat, 196mg sodium
Chipotle has established their brand as having “food with integrity,” so from the get-go, they have set the bar pretty high in terms of serving high-quality food that is nutritious yet affordable. However, it’s still considered fast food, so it would be wise to watch yourself when you go up to order a big, fat burrito. Here are some healthy choices you can lean towards:
Veggie or Sofritas Burrito Bowl
The tortilla is the main culprit in heightening up your calorie intake, so getting rid of that and ordering a bowl instead definitely lowers the carbs and calories in your meal. Choosing veggies or sofritas (seasoned tofu) instead of a type of meat is also a healthier choice. A sofritas burrito bowl that contains brown rice, fajita vegetables, mild tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa, cheese and Romaine lettuce comes out to only 600 calories but is a little high in the sodium range. A veggie burrito bowl with the same content has a lower calorie count of 450 and lower sodium as well.
Nutritional info (sofritas): 600 calories, 69g carbs, 25.5g fat, 1,970mg sodium
Nutritional info (veggies): 450 calories, 60g carbs, 15.5g fat, 1,410mg sodium
Cost (both): $6.50
Chipotle’s salad option is also another great choice with low calories while still keeping that Chipotle flavor. A chicken salad with Romaine lettuce, black beans, fajita vegetables, mild tomato salsa, roasted chili-corn salsa and cheese comes out to 555 calories. Cutting out the salad vinaigrette can be a wise choice as it contains 220 calories and 850mg sodium alone.
Nutritional info: 555 calories, 47g carbs, 18g fat, 1,745mg sodium
So many people love Chick-Fil-A’s famous chicken and their well-known slogan promoted by lovable cows: “Eat Mor Chikin.” It’s become an American staple, and many people flock to their stores to literally “eat more chicken.” Another great thing about Chick-Fil-A is the great array of healthy options they offer on their menu. Some of these options include:
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love the Original Chick-Fil-A Chicken Sandwich as much as the next person. But their Grilled Chicken Sandwich is just as flavorful as the original, it’s hard to imagine that you’re eating a healthier option. This sandwich includes a seasoned and grilled chicken breast, lettuce and tomato inside of a toasted multigrain bun and served with honey roasted BBQ sauce.
Nutritional info: 310 calories, 36g carbs, 6g fat, 820mg sodium
Grilled Market Salad
Chick-Fil-A does a great job in creating delicious salads that bring people back wanting more. Their classic grilled market salad contains that distinct Chick-Fil-A chicken taste yet provides a low calorie meal. It includes sliced grilled chicken breast, chopped Romaine lettuce and baby greens, shredded red cabbage and carrots, blue cheese, red and green apples, strawberries and blueberries with your choice of dressing (it normally comes with their Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette).
Nutritional info: 220 calories, 15g carbs, 6g fat, 650mg sodium
Nutritional info (with dressing): 450 calories, 31g carbs, 25g fat, 1,110mg sodium
So, the next time you head over to your favorite fast food joint, keep a close eye out for those healthier options you can substitute into your meal. You’ll feel a lot better when you do, and your body will thank you for it too.