Healthy fast food alternatives — not exactly but better than some choices

Lists of healthy, or at least the least unhealthy, offerings at fast-food restaurants seem to pop up every year. That’s because those places are ubiquitous. If you’re out and about, it’s hard to avoid them. Plus, if you’re on a restricted diet like I am, every once and a whole you want to feel normal again by eating where the masses eat.

My new tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.
My tiny oil and vinegar bottles for eating out.

This year’s list comes from Good Housekeeping, The 35 Healthiest Fast Food Orders You Can Get at Every Chain. A lot of salads make the list, beware of salt in those and in dressings though. I usually carry my own oil and vinegar in small plastic bottles to avoid salt-laden dressings.

It’s fun to see the classic White Castle slider on this list. “You don’t have to feel bad about enjoying a couple Original Sliders from White Castle — it scores better on the “healthy” scale than even the chicken or fish sliders. But here’s a surprise: if you’re looking for a vegetarian option, go with the Veggie Slider over the Impossible Slider to consume less overall calories and fat,” the article states. It doesn’t;t say anything about having six sliders at a meal as I sometimes do.

Oh well, happy eating.

WebMD offers a fast food quiz you should try

WebMD recently sent me an e-newsletter that focused on eating out and trying to find the least unhealthy options at a variety of fast food outlets. I blogged about one story in it looking at fast food alternatives. You can read my post by clicking here.

The Quizno's meatball sub, a salt bomb if ever there was one.
The Quizno’s meatball sub, a salt bomb if ever there was one.

This post provides a link to a fast food quiz in that same newsletter. Take it by clicking here. 

The quiz will likely surprise you, it certainly surprised me. I study fast food options intensely, so thought I knew all about that realm. This quiz is a good reminder that there are hidden calories and hidden fat everywhere, often in items where you least expect it.  Continue reading “WebMD offers a fast food quiz you should try”

Fast food warnings from WedMD

WedMD recently sent out a newsletter devoted to eating away from home. Regular readers know I write extensively about the dilemma of trying to find anything that isn’t loaded with fat, salt and sugar on restaurant and fast-food menus. check my eating out page for some tips on how to survive eating away from home.

The Quizno's meatball sub, a salt bomb if ever there was one.
The Quizno’s meatball sub, a salt bomb if ever there was one.

So I was glad to see WebMD weigh in on the topic. My favorite item in the newsletter was this one on the worst sandwiches to get away from home.


The Quiznos meatball sub is a former favorite of mine, a favorite from before my angioplasty that is. Seeing it on the worst list was no surprise. It packs 3,580 mgs of salt, basically two days worth on my current diet.

Continue reading “Fast food warnings from WedMD”

Another knock on processed meats, this one from WHO

Processed meats, such as hot dogs and cold cuts, are full of sodium and other things that have led me and many others to avoid them in recent years. I’m always amused by Subway calling its sandwiches healthy when they’re filled with high-sodium processed meats, for example.

Nathan's hot dogs and waffle fries, wondrous stuff.
Nathan’s hot dogs and waffle fries, wondrous stuff.

Another knock on processed meats came from the World Health Organization (WHO) recently. It pointed to a link between an increased likelihood of cancer and the consumption of processed meats. The report also threw in red meat as a possible cancer causer. Continue reading “Another knock on processed meats, this one from WHO”

Lose It! weighs in on fast food menus

Lose It! is a calorie-tracking, weight-loss app I’ve been using since long before my angioplasty in 2012. I love it’s versatility and ease of use, especially when I’m offline but still want to find food in a database it offers that stores on my phone.

My Almost healthy burger creation for McDonald's
My Almost healthy burger creation for McDonald’s. Lose It! says get the smallest burger possible at fast food places.

I’ve written about the badges it sends out to encourage healthy eating. Now it apparently has started an e-newsletter with eating tips as well. I received one last week that gives some fast food tips, along with other articles. Continue reading “Lose It! weighs in on fast food menus”

McDonald’s burger buildoff could use more tools

McDonald’s, which has been trying a variety of ways to better connect with potential customers of late, has a new sales aid it’s trying in the Chicago area called the Burger Buildoff. If you click through to the site, you can construct your own customized McDonald’s burger.

My Almost healthy burger creation for McDonald's
My Almost healthy burger creation for McDonald’s.

It’s a fun exercise, but it has it limits. I would have liked to start with leaner beef, for example. The only choices are burgers McDonald’s already sells. If I could, I would have started with 96% lean ground beef.

The same is true for choice of buns. There is a whole grain bun, kudos for that. But I would have opted for salt-free whole wheat bread to cut the salt content. The cheeses do not include any fat-free cheese, not to mention any low-sodium cheeses (which are much harder to find). Continue reading “McDonald’s burger buildoff could use more tools”

McDonald’s healthy eating? Here’s what nutrition pros buy there

McDonald’s menu, changing as it may be, is not exactly friendly to my post-angioplasty low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet. I’ve written about how I will order a salad there but bring my own oil and vinegar in packets I purchase via Amazon to avoid the high-salt Newman’s Own dressings.

McDonald's planned artisan chicken sandwich, with fewer harmful ingredients.
Want a chicken sandwich at McDonald’s? Hold the mayo and don’t eat the bun, one healthy eating expert recommends.

So I was interested in reading a recent article I saw headlined “What Diet Experts Eat at McDonald’s.” The piece speaks with nine people who call themselves nutrition and health eating experts to see what they buy at McDonald’s.

I was amused by one who gets a kid’s meal to get a taste of a hamburger in that tiny serving. I had been buying a double McDonald’s burger once a week to do the same thing before my 2012 surgery but have dropped that since. Now I buy 96% lean ground beef at a local supermarket and make my burgers at home.

Another gets a salad and leaves off the cheese and tortilla strips and uses less of the high-salt dressing to cut sodium. I too take off the tortilla strips but leave the little bit of cheese, opting to cut salt by using oil and vinegar instead of the prepared dressings. Continue reading “McDonald’s healthy eating? Here’s what nutrition pros buy there”

Who sells America’s saltiest fast foods?

I’ve written before that fast food is loaded with salt, you might as well go to a salt mine and start licking the walls as eat anything at McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and even Subway which positions itself as healthier but still has much too much salt in its offerings.

Subway's spicy Italian, avoid it like a salt plague!
Subway’s spicy Italian, avoid it like a salt plague!

So I wasn’t surprised by this latest list of America’s saltiest foods compiled by and reported by Fox News, among others. Continue reading “Who sells America’s saltiest fast foods?”

How much fat and salt is in McDonald’s new sirloin burger?

McDonald’s has a major advertising blitz going on for its new third-pound sirloin burger. Emphasizing the use of sirloin positions the burger as better somehow, at least that’s what McDonald’s must be hoping.

McDonald's third-pound sirloin burger has too much salt and fat for me to eat it.
McDonald’s third-pound sirloin burger has too much salt and fat for me to eat it.

But a quick check of its nutrition information on the McDonald’s website shows it’s not something anyone worried about salt and fat intake can eat, unfortunately.

I say unfortunately because I miss hamburgers dearly. The ones I eat now I make at home with either 96% lean ground beef or ground white-meat turkey and they’re just not the same because fat tastes good and so fattier beef tastes better than lean beef. Continue reading “How much fat and salt is in McDonald’s new sirloin burger?”

McDonald’s chicken recipe is getting simplified; Bravo!

McDoanld’s is a difficult place to get anything low-salt, low-fat or low-sugar. These days all I eat there are salads and yogurt parfaits. The parfaits have come in for criticism for being high in sugar. The salads have a lot of salt, and an impossible amount if you add any of the dressing supplied, so I usually bring my own vinegar and oil packets instead.

I’m not the only one eating there less, Millennials who grew up with Ronald are turning away in droves. The Big Mac seems to be getting the message and is moving as fast as a major company can to change some things. I applaud the changes and say do more, more quickly, now.

McDonald's planned artisan chicken sandwich, with fewer harmful ingredients.
McDonald’s planned artisan chicken sandwich, with fewer harmful ingredients.

A major recent change was announced for its chicken. “The biggest change is the removal of sodium phosphates, which it said was used to keep the chicken moist, in favor of vegetable starch. The new recipe also does not use maltodextrin, which McDonald’s said is generally used as a sugar to increase browning or as a carrier for seasoning,” reported Fox News, and other outlets, recently.

Anything to cut sodium is great for me. A McChicken sandwich at the moment has 650 mgs of sodium, about half what I can eat a day, which is why I never buy one.

McDonald’s new Artisan chicken also will be cooked in an olive oil blend instead of margarine, according to another report. That can only help as well.

“McDonald’s new grilled chicken sandwich recipe has been introduced in response to consumer demands for simple ingredients, the company said. By removing artificial ingredients consumers are not familiar with, the company is making an effort to simplify their recipes and respond to increasing demands for natural foods,” reported Olive Oil Times.

Keep it up McDonald’s keep it up.


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