One in three kids eats fast food every day. That’s a lot of burgers, chicken nuggets and French fries. It may also be a lot of harmful trans fats being consumed. When I appeared on Fox and Friends, I told the nationwide audience about healthier fast food options. Unlike 20 years ago, restaurants today now offer reduced calorie and high-fiber options. I am pleased that it’s getting easier to find wholesome ingredients such as quinoa, apples and Malaysian sustainable palm oil in fast food. It makes it that much simpler to grab better choices in a quick and tasty meal.
Panera Bread offers healthy options such as its ancient grains salad and cinnamon raisin swirl bread. Eating whole grains such as quinoa, farro and black barley helps lower your blood cholesterol and reduces the risk of certain cancers. Panera Bread’s products also contain no trans fats, known to increase cardiovascular disease risk. I appreciate that Panera Bread has even pledged to use ‘clean ingredients’ – high-quality items without artificial additives – and source sustainable ingredients. Malaysian sustainable palm oil is a natural substitute for partially hydrogenated oils, our primary source of trans fats. More than 80 percent of all palm oil imported into the United States comes from Malaysia. Its palm oil industry is a model for sustainable agriculture. Experts have even said that the U.S. may be the first country to use only sustainable palm oil.
Subway is another healthy option because you can load up on vegetables. Several of its bread choices are also high in fiber. Adults and kids can also choose apples as a side, instead of salty chips.
Bypassing the fancy options and eating simply is often healthier. For example, a McDonald’s single cheeseburger is under 400 calories. A Wendy’s plain baked potato, bowl of chili or simple salad can make a nutritious lunch.
As restaurants increase the number of healthy options, you may see Malaysian sustainable palm oil appear more often on ingredient list. This wholesome, non-GMO oil is helping fast food restaurants deliver more natural and nutritious foods to people on the run.
Dr. Felicia D. Stoler is a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist and expert consultant in nutrition and healthful living. She was the host for the reality show, Honey We’re Killing the Kids on TLC. She is the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes™: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great (Pegasus 2011). She specializes in integrating behavior modification to influence positive health outcomes. Stoler is the published author of numerous articles on nutrition, exercise, health and wellness.