More advice on what’s healthiest to order at McDonald’s

Salads were on the list, but one tip I didn’t know about was asking for the Southwest salad, my usual, without the cilantro-lime glaze can cut the sugar in it substantially.

McDonald’s is everywhere across the United States, so chance are you’ll find yourself in one for a meal from time to time even if you’re on a low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. I actually go to a local McDonald’s once a week, getting a salad and bringing my own oil and vinegar packets so I don’t use the high-salt Paul Newman dressings.

A McDonald's breakfast platter my mother once loved.
A McDonald’s breakfast platter my mother once loved.It didn’t make the healthy breakfast list on MyFitnessPal.com

And I’ve written before about what nutritionists recommend there. So I was interested to see a story from Myfitnesspal.com headlined What’s the Healthiest Thing to Eat at McDonald’s? Continue reading “More advice on what’s healthiest to order at McDonald’s”

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McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich — a salt bomb to avoid

McDonald’s has been working hard to improve the image of its food offerings, wanting to get away from seeming processed or simply bad fast food and I give it credit for those efforts. But sadly I think it’s still missing the point, at least for someone like me worried about salt, fat and sugar in my diet.

One of McDonald's new grilled artisan chicken sandwiches.
One of McDonald’s new grilled artisan chicken sandwiches.

The McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich is its latest attempt. artisan conveys a sense that this chicken is somehow more special than its regular chicken sandwich. So I was really hoping to see that in its nutrition information. What I saw instead though was a mountain of salt.

The regular variety has 1110 mgs of sodium, half a day’s worth for a healthy person, almost a full day;s worth for someone like me dealing with heart disease. It also sports 7 grams of fat, not all that bad, and 11 grams of sugar. Continue reading “McDonald’s Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich — a salt bomb to avoid”

Say it ain’t so Naf Naf Grill. Did you add salt and fat?

So what has happened? Has there been a drastic reformulation of Naf Naf food for the worse, or is something wrong with it’s nutrition info on-site?

I wrote an enthusiastic post about the relatively new fast food chain Naf Naf Grill back in 2014 when I discovered the low-salt content of its pita bread and the low-fat content of its beef in a pita offering. I’ve been touting it to friends and family ever since.

The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.
The menu board from a Naf Naf Grill location in Niles, Ill. Other outlets have slightly different offerings.

So I was shocked and dismayed recently when I checked it’s site and found the numbers have changed drastically for the worse. I’ve written Naf Naf and posted on its Facebook page to get answers but haven’t heard a word yet, very poor customer relations. Continue reading “Say it ain’t so Naf Naf Grill. Did you add salt and fat?”

A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.

The atmosphere is very casual and the staff was very helpful and friendly. And the menu had several other offerings I hope to try on future visits.

Highwood, a far northern Chicago suburb, has been known traditionally for its Italian restaurants but the foodscape there is becoming much more diverse these days. Lucky Fish Deli is just one example, a fun seafood shack that can make you feel like you’re in some sleepy East coast fishing town. Indeed, the decor was inspired by a trip the owner took to Maine, according to one story I’ve read.

Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.
Grilled octopus and asparagus at Lucky Fish, loved it.

The seafood was excellent. I went with a half-dozen oysters, which came out clean, fresh and cold as they should be served. I think the waiter said they were bluepoints. I was a little surprised there weren’t several varieties to choose from, but was very happy with what was available. Continue reading “A fun seafood restaurant in food-heavy Highwood, Il.”

Taco Nano, a different sort of taco place

Taco Nano won’t become a regular stop for me because I don’t know how much salt and fat are in its offerings. But it’s obviously gained a following and is worth a try if you’re looking for a different approach to Mexican food.

Charity auctions are a favorite activity of mine. In fact our theater company, the 2nd Act Players, is planning our first-ever charity auction this September. Check our website for more details as we get closer to the Sept. 10 date. But getting back to food, I recently won a gift card to Taco Nano, which bills itself as a fresh Mexican-style place in the Chicago northern suburb of Northfield.TacoNanoLogo

Going there for dinner on a Friday night, my wife and I were surprised by the crowds. It’s obviously a popular place but is it healthy? As a small place, it isn’t required to post nutrition information on its offerings and doesn’t. So eating there was a shot-in-the-dark nutrition-wise. Continue reading “Taco Nano, a different sort of taco place”

Hospital food is inhospitable to healthy eating

Scanning the menu I saw burgers and other items I assume will be too high in fat and salt for me, so I wanted a salad. Unfortunately the salad only comes with two prepared dressings

As I write this today I unfortunately find myself in a hospital. A routine surgery I had last week has produced a massive infection in my ear (where the surgery wad done). The infection got so bad, I came to the emergency room at roughly 5 a.m. and am now being kept overnight here in Evanston Hospital.

My Evanston Hospital lunch, stripped of all salty dressings and sauces.
My Evanston Hospital lunch, stripped of all salty dressings and sauces.

After spending about four hours getting some excruciating treatments done in the ER, I was moved to a room and hoped to be able to eat since I’ve been up since 4 a.m. I quickly learned words mean something different here, unfortunately. I spoke to the only nurse who has visited me for the last five hours and she said she ordered me food. Continue reading “Hospital food is inhospitable to healthy eating”

The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad

The atmosphere was fresh and exceedingly clean with a bit of offbeat humor in a sign I really enjoyed.

Sometimes, you just want a great salad for lunch, one that isn’t loaded up with a lot of the unhealthy items most restaurants put on them so they can think they’re being creative and charge you more in the process.

Portland's Garden Bar, one of its five locations.
Portland’s Garden Bar, one of its five locations.

That’s why I prefer make-your-own salad bars, I can pick — and pay for — only the ingredients I want, avoiding any high in salt or fat. Knowing my salad bar preference, my daughter found a really good one for us to have lunch at during my recent Portland, Ore., trip — the Garden Bar.

The Garden Bar isn’t exactly make your own. Ingredients are under glass and a staffer makes the salad to your specifications. Or you can choose one fo their pre-planed salads. Both the people I was eating with went with pre-planned house salads, I made my own since the menu salads often have one or more items, like nuts, that I don’t eat. Continue reading “The Garden Bar in Portland — a great spot for a salad”