The Healthiest Chain Restaurants Where You Can Dine in America

With over 60% of the total Americans suffering from overweight problems or obesity, you would think that people would watch more what they’re eating. However, this is not always possible, especially for those who live under the poverty line or those who struggle with hectic lifestyles, low incomes, and more than one job.

For decades now, prestigious scientists and psychologists have been linking poverty to poor eating habits and obesity, especially in the past 50 years where the chain restaurant market has developed massively.

But you cannot always control what you eat or cook your own meals, using organic and farm-sourced ingredients. You don’t always get to protect your crops, seeds & more from pests with salt guns instead or herbicides and pesticides. So, what can you eat and, most importantly, where can you eat?

Luckily, there are still several affordable chain restaurants all across America that provide healthier food choices to cater to the needs of people with diabetes, gluten intolerance, allergies or special diets. So, next time you’re looking for a place to dine downtown without having to choose from menus with 3,000+ calories, here are some healthy restaurant suggestions.

Subway

Subway has worked hard lately to promote healthy eating for reasonable prices. Although the quality of some of the ingredients used is questionable and it rarely uses organic fresh produce, Subway remains a more trustworthy restaurant chain than others.

It offers nine-grain bread and flatbread and plenty of low-calorie options for its sandwiches. If you’re on a diet, you can choose roast beef or grilled chicken instead of Teriyaki chicken or other types of meat covered with sweet sauces.

The Kids’ menu section includes sliced apples and milk for dessert. What we liked is the fact that the company’s website provides full nutrition data, including a full ingredient list and allergy warnings.

Chipotle

Raise your hand if you had Taco Tuesdays at least once at Chipotle! Yes, tacos and burritos may not be entirely healthy but this restaurant chain knows how to play its cards well.

What we liked the most about Chipotle is that it recently switched to serving only food made with non-GMO ingredients, which is a huge plus for everyone watching their weight and health in general. In other words, you won’t find any hydrogenated oil in the flour tortillas or tasteless fresh veggies.

The company is doing its best to source all the ingredients from farms and is only using meat from animals pasture-raised, without any hormones or antibiotics. And did we mention Taco Tuesdays?

Just Salad

If you’re looking for a low-calorie menu and a place where salad is the main (and only) course, welcome to Just Salad. The chain takes its mission to sell high-quality and healthy food seriously, without taking too much money out of your pocket.

Most of the chain’s produce is fresh and seasonal, harvested from organic, non-GMO cultures, meaning it will taste better and will help you keep a healthy diet. The meat and fish choices are also free of antibiotics, grass-fed, and sustainable.

And, if you’re not completely convinced to toss that biscuit and gravy for a delicious salad, the restaurant allows you to create your own from a variety of ingredients, including pumpkin seeds, chicken, beef, fish, quinoa, cabbage, Romaine lettuce, corn, tomatoes, onions, and even tortilla strips.

Tender Greens

If you’re living on the West Coast, you have probably heard about Tender Greens so far. The restaurant has recently opened its 23rd location, serving Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and the Bay Area.

All of the ingredients used in preparing the dishes are sourced from local farmers, ranchers, coffee roasters or wineries so that most of them are certified organic. We also like that it only uses freshly-picked ingredients from the Scarborough Farms in Oxnard. The menu includes something for everyone, whether you like barbeque, grilled steaks, chicken, tuna or fruits, veggies, and seeds.

Panera Bread

Panera Bread has been voted by various publications as the healthiest choice when it comes to foods from restaurant chains. It sells a wide selection of bakery, soups, salads, and sandwiches, so it’s the perfect place for brunch and snacks.

It only uses fresh and nutritious ingredients and is amongst the only restaurants that also offer healthy menu options with dishes low in sodium or gluten-free.



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