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How Healthy is Hardee’s Alternative Menu?

Last week, I posted an article on a few menu options at Hardee’s that were - um, how should we say - less than healthy? (See the Fried Bologna Biscuit for yourself.) So in order to give this fast-food chain a fair shake, we took a closer look at their alternative menu, which is touted as being healthier and able to meet the specific dietary needs of its customers.hardees gluten free burger

Rather than creating a menu of low-cal fast-food options, Hardee’s instead takes its traditional menu of burgers and sandwiches and gives you the option to reduce carbs, lower the fat, eliminate the gluten, trim the calories or lose the meat for a vegetarian option.

But is this alternative menu all that healthy? At closer inspection, it resembles a sneaky marketing ploy that slaps on catchy healthy lingo to high-fat and high-calorie fast-food eats.

While we give Hardee’s a pat on the back for reaching out to the vegetarian and gluten-intolerant populations, we’ve decoded their alternative menu to give you the straight-up facts minus any deceptive marketing buzz.

Vegetarian: You can order a Hardee’s burger, sans meat but with all the fixings, or have a breakfast cheese and egg biscuit but hold the bacon. Both options even without meat will save on calories and saturated fat but the cheese, eggs, buttery biscuits, mayonnaise and carb-heavy white bread are a far cry from a low-fat, low-cal meal.

Gluten-Free or Low-Carb: You can order any sandwich or burger without a bun and instead use lettuce leaves in place of bread. We’re all in favor of swapping out nutrient-void white foods for green, leafy ones. But once again, you’re still left with high-fat burgers and cheese. Hardee’s also has a Low Carb Breakfast Bowl loaded with sausage, cheese, eggs and bacon. Yikes! This is a 650 calorie and 50 fat gram start to your day!

Low-fat/Low-cal: You can make this work if you order the following, on occasion:

  • Order a signature Big Hot Ham N’ Cheese with no cheese (380 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber)
  • A Frisco Breakfast Sandwich minus the cheese and butter (280 calories, 8 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber)
  • A 1/4 pound Little Thick Burger with no bun, no mayo and no cheese (220 calories, 15 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber).

Our advice: Do your own nutrition research to discover just how healthy your favorite foods are, no matter if you’re eating at a restaurant or at home.

August 31st, 2009

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