My Fast Food Gripes and Praises. Links to Healthy Eating

 This little article was first published to my personal blog at Talkmarkets: http://www.talkmarkets.com/contributor/gary-anderson/blog/consumer-goods/my-fast-food-gripes-and-praises-links-to-healthy-eating?post=91303&uid=4798

At my age I probably should not eat too much fast food. I try not to. I run my dogs and try to stay healthy. But going into fast food restaurants has definitely been an eye opener lately. I have a few gripes and praises. This is not an exhaustive study, as I included only 10 franchises. For example, I don't cover Five Guys or Smashburger, both tasty but pretty rich.

I didn't cover a nice fast food franchise, Chick fil A which will finally locate in Las Vegas. The founder, Mr Cathy, passed on and had a thing against Nevada because of gambling. Las Vegas is a regular place, except for the strip. Well, that is unless you have taken Abilify, which makes some people gamble uncontrollably. I kid you not. 

Do not think that fast food restaurants are all bad. In fact, you can bust your diet at formal restaurants even faster than at fast food restaurants because of large portions. You can get a little portion control at the fast food restaurant and pick healthy choices too.

So, here are the 10 places for my gripes and praises:

1. The soda machine at Jack in the Box is really cool, with lots of flavors and lots of diet soda flavors, as well as flavored waters and other healthy alternatives. Kudos to Jack in the Box for the soda machine and for being one of the first fast food places to offer a full breakfast menu 24/7. There are a few healthy choices at the restaurant though not many.

2. McDonald's, I have concluded, has two things saving it. Breakfast and coffee are saving McDonald's. McDonald's has the best sausage, and that is crucial. McDonald's has the best coffee among fast food joints, and that is crucial. The hash browns taste like industrial cleaner.

The biscuits at the most popular fast food franchise are so salty and they also lack fluffiness. You just can't have biscuits that lack fluffiness. Maybe I got a bad one. They need to cook the scrambled eggs a little longer. I am not a fan of shiny eggs. That could be a personal preference. At least McDonald's has a few breakfast items served throughout the day.

3. In-N-Out has the crunchiest burger out there. It literally has no competition. It is fresh, and really good. Business Insider did a taste test for burgers, putting Shake Shake first and In-N-Out second. But they guy took them home. You have to eat an In-N-Out burger quickly to take advantage of the fresh crispiness of the ingredients. He blew it. 

4.  Shake Shack has a great tasting patty in the burger. I tried one in the new and beautiful Downtown Mall in Summerlin, Nevada (close to Las Vegas). But it is way overpriced, and I dislike limp burgers. The limpest burgers definitely come from Shake Shack and Dairy Queen. Caramelize your buns, people! Truth is, you can haul Shake Shack around and it would still taste pretty good because of the meat but the burger will stay limp. Once a burger is limp it is forever limp. 

5. Dairy Queen has nice deserts. Otherwise it has no reason to exist. Limp burgers with unspectacular beef makes DQ a poor choice, unless you want desert. 'Nuff said.

6. Burger King has the best hot dog. Business Insider concluded that and so did I when I tried them. They have the classic and the chili dogs. You need to ask for them right off the grill, and not settle for the excess they microwave. Don't be settlers if you want this really great, inexpensive hot dog. Burger King has healthy choices as well and flame broiled meat is just better, be it for burgers or for hot dogs.

7. Taco Bell must be the King of Salt. I don't know if others just conceal their salt better and it is just my opinion, of course. Nutritional guides are provided upon request at most fast food restaurants if you want to pursue the subject more deeply.

I just know everything I eat at Taco Bell tastes massively salty. I may as well splurge on saltiness and get the tasty Enchirito, which is not on the menu but will be made for you at most Taco Bell locations. But anyone wanting to limit salt would do well to be careful at all fast food places, including Taco Bell.

I found a recipe online for the Enchirito. It is a copycat recipe and may not reflect the Taco Bell recipe. But for shoots and giggles let's just assume it does. Well, it uses an entire teaspoon of salt. That translates to about 2300 mgs of salt! Wow.

The USDA recommends no more than 2300 mg's of sodium per day. Since salt is made up of 40 percent sodium, you can eat 2.5 times the amount of sodium in the form of salt. The recommended intake of salt, then, is around 5750 grams per day. Since one Enchirito has 2300 mgs of salt, one can see that it doesn't take too much Taco Bell food to bust through the USDA recommendation.

So, 2.5 Enchiritos complete your salt intake for an entire day. Wow, again.

8. Del Taco has about 750 mgs of salt for the tasty rollers. That isn't too bad, but if you go for steak and potato you will have about a teaspoon of salt. So, while Del Taco is good ( I really like the original in Barstow, Ca.), it has salt, but maybe not so much as Taco Bell. I am just going by taste. 

9. El Pollo Loco is probably the healthiest fast food place, in my view. And there are healthy selections according to a diet website. The restaurant costs a little more than some, but there are 5 dollar deals.

10. Last but not least is Wendy's. The company has quite a few items deemed healthy by Dr Gourmet. Wendy's has chili and salads, not bad for fast food. The burgers are grilled as McDonald's burgers are, but they seem pretty fresh.

If you are on the road, or have a limited budget, you can destroy your diet with fast food choices, or you can be a little careful and do your research, and eat more healthy while experiencing the fast food world. Study the links I provided and others on the net, to determine healthy options for any fast food restaurant.





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