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Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Fast Food?

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Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Fast Food - www.ohlardy.com

There are many, many fast food restaurants out there these days.  Obviously, if you are following a Real Food lifestyle, fast food is usually off limits!  But, there are many fast food type restaurants that are marketed as being ‘healthy fast food'…or at least ‘healthier'.  Is this true?

Do you follow The Food Babe?  She is an awesome blogger and  has written some pretty amazing exposes on some of the popular ‘healthy' fast food chains.  I have learned a lot from reading her articles, I thought I would share the links with you!

I thought of this round up style post recently when I was having a conversation with someone about fast food and eating on the go.  It is hard when you have kids, lots of activities and are out and about all day.  She made a comment about how Moe's Southwest Grill (a southwestern quick service restaurant chain) is ‘healthier' because they use ‘grass fed beef'.  I knew this wasn't totally true from reading Food Babe's posts over the years.  Moe's does have some pretty good ‘greenwashing' marketing however, as do many of these other restaurants.

I will confess, I sometimes eat at the restaurants listed below also.  In fact, I probably eat at 2 or 3 of them each month.  I think several of these restaurants offer good alternatives for those evenings when you are on the go and haven't planned ahead for your meals.  However, a few of them have pretty slick marketing campaigns that cause the average consumer to think they are healthier than they are.

Here's the round up of Food Babe's posts.  Once you check them out, you can decide for yourself how to make a healthy choice at one of these restaurants!

Jason's Deli

Do you eat at Jason's Deli?  I will admit that this is one I have not eaten at very often.  Here's what Food Babe had to say about What's Healthy and What's Not at Jason's Deli.

Chick Fil A

I will admit that this was one of my favorites back before my Real Food days. The chicken sandwich with the polynesian sauce still makes me drool 😉  I was surprised recently to find out that some people think that Chick Fil A is a ‘healthier' option.  I never thought that, just thought it was tasty.  Food Babe almost started a riot when she wrote about Chick Fil A.  But the cool thing is she was invited down to the headquarters to talk about making it improvements to their menu.

I will say I like their lemonade.  It is made with real sugar and fresh squeezed lemons.  Something that is hard to come by these days!

Here are her posts about children eating at Chick Fil A and another on the chemical content in Chick Fil A foods.

Whole Foods

What?  Whole Foods is fast food?  Well, not exactly.  However, you can pop in and grab plenty of prepared items both hot and cold.  Oftentimes, my family even eats dinner there if we are out and about and my husband regularly grabs his lunch there during the week.  While, clearly, Whole Foods is a healthier option than most, I think many people are surprised that not everything at Whole Foods is ‘clean' or ‘real'.  Personally, I get so tired of the prepared foods containing GMO canola oil.

Here's the look at What to Watch out for at Whole Foods.

Chipotle and Moe's Southwestern Grill

This one really got me.  While I do not eat at Moe's (we don't have one near us), we do eat at Chipotle on occasion.  I will say I still choose to do so.  Something to mention is recently Chipotle came out and labeled GMOs on their menu, which is a huge step toward giving the consumer the ability to decide if they want to eat GMOs or not.

Here's Food Babe's look at Chipotle vs. Moe's.  (When she wrote this, Chipotle refused to list their ingredients….now they do!  Pretty sure she had something to do with that!)


This is another one that surprises many people.  With Starbucks on almost every corner, it seems that many of us are popping in to grab a coffee and a snack quite often.  There are a surprisingly large number of chemicals and additives at Starbucks.


I have never been a fan of Subway.  Their meats always looked so slimy and gross, to me.  If I did ever eat there, I would usually get the veggie sub or tuna salad.  Now that I know more about the quality of their products, I would choose to eat elsewhere.  “Eat Fresh” at Subway is pretty much a joke.

Here's Food Babe's take on Subway.


This one was disappointing and surprising to me.  Although, really, who is surprised anymore by what is in our food?  I meet friends and clients often at Panera.  I generally just get an iced tea or a coffee.

Many people would think this was the ‘healthiest' fast food restaurant.  Is it?  Here's her take on Panera.

What are your thoughts?  Are you surprised by any of this?  Do you eat at any of these restaurants?  Will you continue to do so?

I will admit that I eat at all of these (with the exception of Jason's Deli and Moe's) and probably will continue to do so.  But, I think an educated consumer is an empowered consumer.  I feel more empowered to make my decision on what food to put into my body.

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Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Fast Food - www.ohlardy.com

This post shared at these awesome blog carnivals:  Real Food Wednesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Whole Foods Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Thank Your Body ThursdayTasty Traditions, Fresh Bites Friday, Link Love, Simple Meals Friday, Fight Back Friday, Natural Living Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Weekend Whatever, Sunday School, Make Your Own Monday, More the Merrier Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Fat Tuesday,  Slightly Indulgent TuesdayTraditional Tuesdays, Family Table Tuesdays, Tuned In Tuesdays


  1. The horror stories I have heard about Subway! SO disgusting. Not only is the food unhealthy, but so unsanitary! My husband had an employee who once worked there. She said there were many times something would spill on the floor and they would just scoop it back into the bucket to use. Nasty.

    1. So disgusting! But “Eat Fresh” is their slogan so many people think it is the ‘healthiest’ option. I was at a mall food court a couple years ago with my daughter and we were going to eat (I know…not exactly best choice but that was the way our day was going). I looked at Subway (thinking that would be the best choice) but knowing what I know, I figured everything was pretty much the same so we got Sbarro pizza and a salad instead 😉

  2. I do eat at Chipotle and I shop at WF, but I don’t usually buy prepared foods there. Yesterday, I was traveling and trying to find something moderately healthy to eat for lunch in a strange city. I went to WF, but after wandering around and reading the ingredients lists, I didn’t buy anything. I know most of their prepared foods contain items I prefer not to eat (gmo’s, canola, soy, gluten, etc), but i was surprised that I couldn’t find even one thing that met my requirements. I decided I could buy processed chemical garbage much cheaper elsewhere and eventually ended up eating a burger at a fast food place claiming to serve grassfed beef for a cheaper price than anything at WF.

  3. Chik Fil A is run by hate mongers who support hate groups in this country. Beyond that, their chicken is soaked in sugar and breaded with sugar (ever noticed how sweet it tastes?) to keep people addicted to their chicken. I would NEVER eat their food or give them my money.

  4. I love Chick Fil A. It’s the only fast food I can eat that never makes me sick, so therefore, pretty much the only fast food I ever eat. Though we don’t go often, I appreciate the good customer service and the cleanliness of the restaurant. Don’t have a Whole Foods nearby, but hubby visits Chipotle near his work sometimes (his fav).

  5. Most of these places are a no-go for me and I stopped eating them before I had ever heard about real food. Tried Jason’s Deli at a work function and thought it was terrible so I never go there. Subway I just thought was a waste of money- lots of bread and not much to fill it. Chik Fil A I wouldn’t eat because of how much sodium is in one sandwich. I do eat at Chipotle maybe 4 times a year, and if I do eat out, Panera is one of my go-tos. I used to get hot cocoa at Starbucks quite often in the winter but I’ve pretty much cut them out- only in desperate times…

  6. Thanks for this lovely tips!
    Taking care of health is something that must be done since young, they are food habits that change a whole life.
    I love the post!

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