Sunday, October 28, 2012

Looking for healthy options in the chain restaurant minefield

Being on the road there is just no way to stick to routine. Eating out becomes the norm, and even with all the choices of where to eat, there are surprisingly few healthy options. Sure, you can make do at any old place. But wouldn't it be nice if there were more restaurants that had more healthy options than unhealthy ones for a change?

Why can't fast food look more like this?
I've tried all the chains, and the only one where I can consistently eat what I would like to eat if I were making it myself is Panera Bread Company. The caveat with Panera is that as a side you get a choice of bread, chips or an apple. I would normally choose the apple, but the ones they have are usually gross looking - and besides, when I choose apples I always go organic since it's on that dirty dozen list. So I opt either for whole wheat bread at lunchtime, or nothing. (Choosing nothing is counter-intuitive for me, so it's a tough option, but do-able when I realize I don't need the extra calories from the bread.)

Panera's sister company, Paradise, is another decent option menu-wise. But the default side at Paradise is a cookie - a very delicious cookie I find it hard to say no to. As a result, I avoid Paradise these days.

Here in the Palm Springs area where I live I have found a few local, organic and vegetarian places I like, but I'm looking for chains to step up so eating out isn't like treading through a minefield of unhealthy options every time I'm on the road. If you have had success with chain restaurants serving up healthy options, please let me know! Leave a comment below or contact me through my splash page.

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