Chain restaurants can get a bad rap, but you can eat healthy if you know where to look. Use this handy guide to survive the chain restaurant jungle.
Soup & Salad: Panera
If you’re in the soup and salad mood, Panera is a good bet. Their menu is loaded with healthy options, and you can opt for an apple on the side instead of chips.
Menu Pick: You Pick Two, Fuji Apple Chicken Salad and Low Fat Garden Vegetable Soup: 380 kcal | 20g fat | 36g carbs |19g protein
With the tagline “Food with Integrity,” Chipotle focuses on local, sustainable, organic food in the form of delicious burritos that are fully customizable. Go easy on the sour cream and cheese!
Menu Pick: Grilled Chicken Burrito Bowl with cilantro lime rice, black beans, and salsa: 460 kcal | 10.5g fat |27g carbs | 41g protein
Italian: Olive Garden
Can Italian food be healthy? The Olive Garden’s Tuscan-inspired menu with a variety of low-fat options proves that it can.
Menu Pick: Venetian Apricot Chicken (lunch portion): 290 kcal | 4.5g fat | 34g carbs | 29g protein
Pizza: Naked Pizza
Delivering pizza with “no freaky chemicals,” Naked Pizza is built on the idea that fast food can actually be good for you, and has with hormone/antibiotic free meat, all-natural tomato sauce, and 10-grain crust.
Menu Pick: Mediterranean Pizza (small thin crust): 649 kcal | 49g fat | 67g carbs | 38g protein
Sandwiches & Wraps: Au Bon Pain
This tasty cafe/bakery style restaurant has a Cafe Smart Menu and nutrition kiosks to help you choose wisely.
Menu Pick: Grilled Chicken on Ciabatta: 470g cal | 4g fat | 67g carbs | 39g protein
Pasta: Noodles & Company
With a global menu, Noodles & Company has an option for every craving. There are hundreds of healthy combinations for 400 calories or less.
Menu Pick: Penne Rosa: 410 kcal | 1.8g fat | 49g carbs | 13g protein
Asian: P.F. Chang’s China Bistro
This Chinese American chain offers a variety of delicious, wok-seared entrees with fresh vegetables and protein choices. Opt for the whole-grain brown rice as a healthy alternative to steamed white rice.
Menu Pick: Beef with Broccoli served on Brown Rice (lunch portion): 420 kcal | 3g fat| 52g carbs | 23g protein
Smoothies: Jamba Juice
This smoothie chain uses uses whole fruit and all-natural fruit juices with no added preservatives to make delicious, good-for-you smoothies. Add a protein boost and you’ll have a tasty meal replacement.
Menu Pick: Berry Fulfilling (16 oz): 140 kcal | 0g fat | 29g carbs | 6g protein
An atypical chicken joint that prepares everything fresh at the restaurant. A balanced menu includes good a variety of low-carb, low-cal options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Menu Pick: Southwest Chargrilled Salad: 240 kcal | 9g fat | 18g carbs | 26g protein
What’s your favorite chain for healthy eating?
Image via: Knox News
4/10/2012 at 9:45 AM