Is it possible to eat healthy when going through the fast food lane? MyDietExercise.com's Cathy Hamilton attempts to do just that and lets us know which fast food restaurants are "in" and which are "out" when it comes to eating healthy. Read on!
This is the first of many blogs to come in which I comb fast food joints and national chain restaurants in search of a healthy meal. Mission impossible? Not quite. But as I discovered very quickly, it takes persistence and a good bit of research.
Yesterday at lunchtime, I found myself hankering for fish. I love fish of all kinds and try to eat it at least three times a week for the beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids. The problem is, most fish available at fast food restaurants comes in the form of fried fish sandwiches, and that's bad news for people like me who are watching their calorie intake (there's nothing like a greasy fish filet on a white bread bun dolloped with a heaping glob of tartar sauce to tip the scales the next day).
I did find one place, however, that provides a kinder, leaner alternative: Long John Silver's. After checking the nutritional information on their Web site, I found one item on their menu that is not breaded, battered or deep-fried: baked cod. Who knew? I was thrilled to see each piece of cod weighed in at only 120 calories per, with only 4.5 grams of fat. I could order a pair of filets, plus a Corn Cobette (at 90 calories) and an iced tea. Sans tartar sauce, my grand total for lunch would be a respectable 330 calories. Not bad!
It was an easy jaunt to the only Long John Silver's in town and I was alone at the drive-thru window. Scanning the menu board I didn't see anything resembling baked cod. The voice came over the speaker, "Welcome to Long John Silvers. Would you like to try our Lobster Bites platter today?"
"No, thanks," I replied, "But I would like a two pieces of baked cod and a Corn Cobette."
"I'm sorry, ma'am," said the voice. "We don't have baked cod at this store."
"But it was on the menu on your Web site," I answered.
"Well, not all stores have every menu item. We're a smaller store."
Disappointed and now panicked, I asked about the calorie counts in the lobster bites.
"I have no idea, ma'am." the voice told me. "But they're little."
"Okay," I sighed. "Give me the bites. A snack box, not a platter. And a Corn Cobette and an iced tea."
I pulled around to the window, paid my money, and took my would-be healthy fast food meal back to the office. Quickly I looked up my order and calculated the calories. A snack box of Lobster Bites tallied 250 calories - about the same as two pieces of baked cod - but with twice as much fat and 27 times more carbs!! Not exactly health eating.
What is the moral of this story, you ask? Well, first of all, never assume what you find on a chain restaurant's Web site will be consistent from location to location. Secondly, if you're looking for baked cod at a Long John Silver's near you, be sure to call before you go.