I have a confession. I’m a fast food junkie.
Growing up, I remember getting some kind of take out probably about once a week. And there were just some things we never made at home. So if we wanted some fried chicken, it was the colonel’s recipe.
As I got older, it became increasingly easy to hit up the drive thru for a burger on the way somewhere. And as a “grown-up” I find the occasional stop such a comforting relief from cooking, dishes, and the ever-present responsibility that is adulthood.
I’m not going to say this is a healthy lifestyle. But eating out seems to be kind of a fact of life in our current On-the-Go society. So if you must stop, here is a list of some of the best options that keep your health in mind.
I love Qdoba because they have an extensive selection of real foods like tortillas, beans, meats, and fresh toppings so it’s easy to find a combination that fits your diet. They even have multiple options for dieters, vegetarians, and food allergies including GFers. Plus my kid (and my colon) loves beans.
For more than half of my life, I HATED Wendy’s. But these days, their menu has evolved to contain an extensive selection of different foods. From fancy salads, to chili, to baked potatoes. There are numerous healthy options for various diets and allergies. And if you aren’t worried about the calories, go ahead and get frosty, too.
Panera (or as we call it, St. Louis Bread Co)
Bread Co has a great menu filled with real food options, although not all totally diet-conscious. (Hello, mac ‘n cheese, I’m talking to you. But don’t worry, I still love you.) I also wouldn’t call this a haven for GFers… I mean, it IS a bakery, but there are soups and salads in addition to their plethora of sandwich options for a quick meal.
Crazy Bowls and Wraps
I recently discovered Crazy Bowls a couple of months ago when I was seriously jones’n for some stir-fry. Their menu is completely customizable with choices of proteins, veg, and grains that can suit pretty much any diet. And I have to say I was pretty excited that they offered quinoa.
Noodles & Company
Noodles & Co really has your health in mind and pride themselves on being able to accommodate any type of diet. Even gluten-free. Which for a noodle restaurant is unexpected. Another unexpected bonus? They also sell beer and wine.
I know what you’re gonna say… How can a fried chicken sandwich be good for us?? Well, it’s not. But the inventors of the chicken sandwich are also looking out for our health. Namely our kids’ health. They recently introduced a grilled chicken nugget option for the kiddos with even more nutritious sides. This is also a great option for those GFers out there. Although I’ll still be getting me some waffle fries if I’m at CFA.
Lion’s Choice offers a wider variety of options than most fast food chains. While their sandwiches may not be low in calories, they are real food and that counts for something. And instead of fries, you can get a baked potato or even veggie sticks. Plus if you’re looking for a little treat, you can get a $0.10 ice cream cone that is just the perfect size.
I don’t think I need to tell you that Subway paved the way for the healthy fast food movement. I’m pretty sure Jared has that covered. While not my favorite sandwich shop, they do have a ton of calorie conscious options to choose from, but do be careful on what you choose as some lunch meats can be a little questionable on the “meat.” I still don’t know what bologna is.
Obviously, restaurant options are going to vary by region, but these are my top picks for the St. Louis region.
Where do you like to stop for a meal on the go?