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Fast-Food Healthy Lunches
By Marni Rakes
You start your day with coffee and a filling, nutritious breakfast. Your body is thanking you as you start your day in a healthy way. A few hours later you nibble on a small, mid-morning protein snack and before you know it you are ready for lunch. Maybe you forgot your lunch today or your friends/co-workers decided to eat out for casual Friday. As much as you try to control it, there comes a day at work when you are faced with a bit of a dilemma as you head out to the closest fast-food facility.
You are trying to drop weight, improve your nutrition habits and focus on better performance fuel. Unfortunately, eating out will not make your weight loss endeavor any easier. Perhaps you go for a free-for-all and tell yourself, "it's only this one time" and you are ready to order something fried or high in calories. Or, are you the type of person who hates spending $5 on a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and a side of fat-free dressing because your meal doesn't fill your stomach and you end up indulging in the post-lunch candy jar?
During your fast-food outing, as much as you are determined to order a healthy lunch, misleading "healthy" options are actually on the not-so-healthy food list.
*All nutritional information below can be found on each fast-food company Website.
Blimpie 6" Chicken Caesar wrap - 607 calories, 29 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 1586 mg sodium.
Quiznos Turkey and Cheese Sub (regular size) - 770 calories, 41 grams fat, 9.5 grams saturated fat, 2185 mg sodium.
Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad w/ Homestyle Chicken Fillet - 660 calories, 34 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 1430 mg sodium
Panera Full Mediterranean Veggie on Tomato Basil Bread - 610 calories, 13 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 1450 mg sodium.
Arby's Roasted Turkey and Swiss Sandwich - 708 calories, 29 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 1952 mg sodium.
For a healthier alternative to your not-so-healthy, fast-food meal:
Blimpie BLT 6" - 346 calories, 11 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 872 mg sodium.
Quiznos Roadhouse Steak Sammie - 205 calories, 4 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 565 mg sodium.
Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad w/ Grilled Chicken Fillet w/ fat-free French dressing - 440 calories, 16 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 1070 mg sodium.
Panera Half Orchard Harvest Salad with Chicken w/ Fat-Free Raspberry Dressing - 285 calories, 16 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 515 mg sodium and Whole grain baguette - 140 calories, 1 gram fat, 320 mg sodium.
Arby's Sante Fe Salad w/ Grilled Chicken - 279 calories, 10 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 679 mg sodium and Arby's Southwestern Grilled Chicken Wrap (no sauce) - 433 calories, 17 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 1308 mg sodium (save ½ of the wrap for tomorrow's lunch).
TIP: Fast-food must be preserved through artificial means. Not only should you recognize your intake of sodium and preservatives in your daily diet, but you should also be aware of the sodium and additives in food consumed inside and outside of the home. There are usually healthy options at fast-food facilities, but you must be aware of what you are eating and how much of it you need to consume to feel satisfied. Check Online to choose the best option to make a healthy and satisfying meal.
My suggestion, prepare your own lunch to know exactly what you are eating! Do not be afraid of starting a trend at work by motivating others to enjoy a wholesome and healthy lunch-time meal that is prepared at home.