It might be surprising to some of you that a holistic nutritionist would recommend a fast food place at all. But let’s be realistic, sometimes life is hectic and you didn’t make dinner and you’re starving and you just need to quickly grab something to eat. I’ve been there. Hell, I’m there weekly.
Yesterday I wrote an article on the surprisingly unhealthiest fast food restaurants. In doing research for these articles, I found that those restaurants were at the top of “healthy” list because they offer low-calorie and low-fat options. This does not make them healthy. Just because you can eat a 1,200 calorie burrito at Chipotle does not make it unhealthy. People, stop counting calories. Start looking at ingredients and start avoiding chemicals.
The Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants
You’ve likely heard that Chipotle has officially removed genetically modified organisms from their restaurants. This is huge. The landscape of our food is changing as consumers demand non-GMO options. Which is especially great for Chipotle, considering that GMOs have been shown to negatively affect the heart, liver, and kidneys and cause renal toxicity. They also alter immune function in the gut. Even the World Health Organization and Environmental Protection Agenhavehas listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen. From Chipotle,
One reason customers love Chipotle is that we use great ingredients. For us this means great taste, but it also means that the food we serve should be made with ingredients raised with care for animals, farmers, and the environment. We’re doubtful that the GMO ingredients that used to be in our food meet these criteria. Here are the three key reasons.
Chipotle strives to serve grass-fed beef, pastured pork, local produce and GMO and rBGH-free dairy. With food this healthy – calories schmalories. Most Chipotle restaurants cook with either rice bran or sunflower oil – much healthier than soy, corn or canola.
They offer whole ingredients – beef, tomatoes, onion, rice, cilantro, corn, beans, etc. It’s not difficult, people. Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Avoid low-fat bullshit. Get yourself some Chipotle!
Zpizza is my absolute favorite pizza place, ever. They make the best gluten-free crust I’ve ever had. They offer organic wheat for their regular crusts and several non-GMO options. Their sauce is organic and their dairy comes from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones. Several of their toppings are also organic.
I love a good pizza, but I can’t stand pizzas made with cheap ingredients that are greasy, bland and have a bad sauce. Zpizza’s sauce is not only organic, it’s the best pizza sauce I’ve ever had. When we order from them, I opt for a gluten-free pizza with mushrooms and caramelized onions, along with a side salad. They make great salads too!
Elevation Burger isn’t a super popular chain, but they serve grass-fed beef! Not to mention that the burgers are completely amazing. Grass-fed beef is obviously healthier and has a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio than conventional beef, making it anti-inflammatory. It’s also rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vitamins A, E, D and K. Not to mention that it’s more environmentally friendly.
The burgers are amazing and they even cook their fries in olive oil. Much, much healthier than genetically modified vegetable oils that most fries are cooked in.
Jason’s deli isn’t my favorite, but they do have healthy options. They do offer organic products. And their salads ain’t half bad. But! You must ask for olive oil instead of dressing. I was unable to find ingredient lists on their website, so I definitely think there’s room for improvement in terms of transparency.
Jason’s Deli has some great options, like salads with organic greens, organic apples, and wild salmon. It’s incredibly important to buy wild over farmed seafood, so I really appreciate that Jason’s offers a wild option.
I really appreciate that they’re trying, especially when it comes to using organic ingredients. They even offer gluten-free bread, which is really nice when you just want a sandwich!
Back in the day, I loved Noodles & Co. I’d always get the penne rosa and couldn’t figure out why it gave me the biggest stomach ache (bowl of gluten). But now they offer gluten-free pasta and a variety of salads. Again, ask for olive oil!
Noodles & Co is great because you can customize your bowl. Gluten-free pasta isn’t exactly the healthiest option ever, but it’s nowhere near the worst. You can also add veggies to your bowl, which I of course recommend.
They’re not certified GMO-free and I’m not positive what kind of oils they cook their food in but when you’re in a pinch, Noodles isn’t a bad option. It’s not Chik-fil-A.
There are definitely other healthy fast food options, a lot of which probably aren’t on a national scale. For example, in DC we have two really great salad shops – Chop’t and SweetGreen. Unfortunately, at Chop’t they use canola oil in the dressing and I haven’t been able to determine what they use at SweetGreen, so I usually just order olive oil and vinegar. Always ask questions and when in doubt, stick with what you know.
Image via here.