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Healthy Choices on the Run

Fast food has become a way of life for many Americans. It's easy, tasty and cheap. But much of it is also high in fat, calories and sodium.

Fortunately most fast food companies have made healthier options available in the last few years, and not just salads. (Actually many of the salads come with dressings that are high in fats and sodium. If you like salad, order it but check out the "lite" or "fat free" dressings that are available.)

In order to help you make choices that won't sabotage your fitness goals, I went looking for healthier meals. I started with the burger places, and made a list with the restaurant name, meal choice and caloric breakdown. I also offer this advice; be careful of the sauces, avoid fries and don't supersize anything.

Logo and Link to McDonald's Website
McDonalds - Chicken McGrill (without mayo), Snack Size Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the McDonalds Website.)
Calories (460), Fat (8 grams), Saturated Fat (2.5 grams), Protein (28 grams), Carbs (67 grams) and Sodium (835 milligrams).

Logo and Link to Wendy's Website
Wendy's - Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Plain Baked Potato and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Wendy's Website.)
Calories (610), Fat (7 grams), Saturated Fat (2 grams), Protein (31 grams), Carbs (108 grams) and Sodium (820 milligrams).

Logo and Link to Burger King's Website
Burger King - Veggie Burger (with reduced fat mayo), Baked Potato with Chives and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Burger King Website.)
Calories (646), Fat (10 grams), Saturated Fat (2 grams), Protein (20 grams), Carbs (120 grams) and Sodium (1025 milligrams).

 

The Mexican places offered much more of a challenge. Most meals were high or extremely high in sodium and fats. There are few healthy options. But if you're going to eat there, try these menu items.

Logo and Link to Taco Bell's Website
Taco Bell - Two Chicken Soft Tacos, Cinnamon Twists and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Taco Bell Website.)
Calories (540), Fat (17 grams), Saturated Fat (6 grams), Protein (28 grams), Carbs (66 grams) and Sodium (1290 milligrams).

Logo and Link to Taco Time's Website
Taco Time - 1/2 lb. Chicken Soft Taco, Mexi-Rice and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Taco Time Website.)
Calories (546), Fat (18 grams), Saturated Fat (7 grams), Protein (24 grams), Carbs (71 grams) and Sodium (1463 milligrams).

For chicken lovers, there is good news. Chicken is a healthy food, it's just the way it's cooked that can make it bad for us. At most restaurants you can now order skinless chicken that's not fried, plus side dishes that are a welcome change from fries. Remember though, if you order the corn, don't cover it in butter and salt, or you risk turning something relatively healthy, into a fat and sodium nightmare.

Logo and Link to Kentucky Fried Chicken's Website
Kentucky Fried Chicken - Tender Roast Sandwich without sauce, Green Beans, 3 inch Corn on the Cob and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Kentucky Fried Chicken Website.)
Calories (380), Fat (8 grams), Saturated Fat (2.5 grams), Protein (38 grams), Carbs (41 grams) and Sodium (1195 milligrams).

Logo and Link to Church's Chicken's Website
Church's Chicken - Chicken Wing, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Corn on the Cob a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Church's Chicken Website.)
Calories (479), Fat (22 grams), Saturated Fat (3.5 grams), Protein (24 grams), Carbs (46 grams) and Sodium (1075 milligrams).

If you watch TV, you've probably seen commercials featuring Jared and his incredible weight loss. So it wasn't a big surprise to me that of all the fast food places I looked into, Subway had the widest variety of healthy selections. As long as you remember all the nutritional information is for six inch subs, not the foot longs. If you must order the foot long, eat only half, and save the other half for another meal.

Logo and Link to Subway's Website
Subway - Six inch Roast Beef Sub (Part of the 7 under 6 sandwiches), Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and a Diet Cola.
(Click on logo to visit the Subway Website.)
Calories (490), Fat (13 grams), Saturated Fat (4.5 grams), Protein (22 grams), Carbs (75 grams) and Sodium (1090 milligrams).

There you go, at least one healthier option from several local fast food places. Now that you know, are you going to make the smart choices?

Note: Checkers and Popeye's do not list any nutritional information on their website, so we did not compare them.

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beginning any diet or exercise program.

9/18/2003