We always hear about how unhealthy restaurants are with their giant portion sizes and fat-laden meals, but what about shedding some positive light on restaurants? After all, many restaurants go to great lengths to ensure they’re serving delicious food that let you make healthy dining choices.
David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding, of Men’s Health magazine and co-creators of the Eat This, Not That series, have researched the country’s healthiest restaurants and rated them on a number of different factors. They looked at the calories contained in an average restaurant entree, which is also an indicator of portion size as well as whether or not the restaurant served a fruit or veggie side dish, if they offered whole grains and whether they cooked with trans fats.
Here are their top picks for healthy restaurants:
1) Chick-Fil-A: This Atlanta-based fast-food chain gets top marks for serving calorie-controlled dishes, sides and kids eats. Score: A-
2) Subway: With many low-fat and low-cal options to choose from, as well as whole grain bread, fresh veggies, and healthy soups, Subway is a healthy dining-out hit. Score: A-
3) Jamba Juice: A cold and creamy way to get in your fruit (and veggies), but just make sure your smoothie only contains fresh ingredients and no added sugar. Score: A-
4) Au Bon Pain: With an in-store nutritional kiosk that helps you find a meal that fits your nutrition goals and with many healthy options to choose from, Au Bon Pain is a smart dining choice. Bonus, they can often be found in airports for hungry travelers! Score: A-
5) Boston Market: Skip the mac and cheese and creamed spinach and instead opt for Boston Market’s enormous array of healthy vegetable sides and lean meats. Score: B+
6) Cici’s Pizza Buffet: A thin crust pizza with plenty of low-fat and healthy pizza toppings makes Cici’s a smart choice for pizza lovers. Score: B+
7) McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s: No. Your eyes are not deceiving you. These fast-food giants have made tremendous strides in bringing you healthy fresh fare like salads, yogurt, grilled chicken breast sandwiches and tacos. Score: B+