It’s a common enough scenario. You pick up the kids from their gym, dance or cheer class and they’re hungry. And it’s getting late. And everyone, you included is a little tired and hangry. So, a stop to pick up fast food is certainly a tempting idea for a busy parent. But is that ever a good idea, especially for the athletic child who usually maintains a reasonably good diet?
Healthy food and fast food restaurants does not actually sound like a combination that goes together at all. However, perhaps because of all the criticisms they get about how unhealthy their food can be, most of the big fast food chains are making some quite serious efforts to add at least some healthier fare to their menus.
If your kids are fans of fast food, but also you know that you should be paying a little more attention to their diet in terms of just how nutritious – and how calorie laden – the meals they consume are, here are some of the healthier choices being offered by the large chains now that it is OK to treat them to occasionally, or to opt for when drive thru versus an hour in the kitchen really is the most appealing option.
McDonalds Egg White McMuffin with Canadian Bacon
If you really like of a breakfast that is a little heartier and filling than a bowl of granola, then you may be surprised to learn that this classic Egg McMuffin with a twist, the twist being the egg whites that replace the standard ‘egg patty, even with the bacon, is actually a reasonably good choice. And as it is now served all day at most locations, it can make a great supper as well.
At 260 calories, it has fewer than the average breakfast muffin (by quite a long way) and packs 18 grams of protein, providing a nice energy boost, great for kids who have just spent the last few hours giving it their all at the gym.
McDonald’s Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
You may be surprised to learn that not all the salads offered at the big chain restaurants – McDonald’s included – are as healthy as you think. This one however, even with the tasty balsamic vinaigrette dressing, adds just 230 calories to your daily total and is large enough that it makes a rather nice light dinner.
This is a particularly tasty choice, as the lettuces used are not just iceberg, which has very little nutritional value at all. Instead a fresh spring mix of baby romaine, baby red leaf, baby green leaf, baby red swiss chard, baby red oak, baby green oak, parella, lolla rosa, tango, totsoi, arugula, mizuna, radicchio and frisee is used, all of which have a nice, crisp bite that is rather refreshing. The baby cherry tomatoes make a nice change from withered tomato slices as well.
Subway’s Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki
There are in fact several sandwiches available at Subway that offer fewer than 400 calories and 6g of fat in a six-inch sub. This one however is a favorite of ours, because it is simply so tasty and offers a real change from the standard turkey or tuna sandwich. Even with all the fixings, it is only 380 calories and has only 4g of fat. The tangy chicken is beautifully tender and has just enough of a ‘kick’ to wake up the taste buds without overwhelming them.
The other nice thing about Subway sandwiches is the fact that you get a choice of artisan breads, all of which have the same number of calories. The newer Monterrey Cheddar bread is deliciously savory, so that is the one we’d recommend.
Panera’s Power Mediterranean Roast Turkey Dinner Salad
This is a tasty salad that packs quite a nutritional punch. In addition to just containing 320 calories it also offers 50% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C and 22 grams of energy boosting protein. All that is thanks to the fresh baby spinach, which, when mixed with romaine and a nice blend of fresh peppers is extremely tasty.
To shave off an additional 110 calories, ask for this salad without the virgin olive oil dressing, it’s tasty enough without it, thanks to the nice, tender turkey and the kicky peppers and onions.
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