Restaurant Lunches: Healthy Choices (cont.)

All the suggestions above for buying a healthy lunch at Mexican restaurants apply to Taco Bell too. Here are your best lunch bets there:

  • Two Fresco Style Ranchero Chicken Soft Tacos with a total of 340 calories, 8 grams fat (21% calories from fat), 44 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber.
  • Two Fresco Style Grilled Steak Soft Tacos with a total of 340 calories, 10 grams fat (26% calories from fat), 42 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber.
  • One Fresco Style Bean Burrito with 350 calories, 8 grams of fat (21% calories from fat), 56 grams of carbohydrate, 9 grams of fiber.
  • One Fresco Style Chicken Burrito Supreme with 350 calories, 8 grams fat (21% calories from fat), 50 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber.
  • OneFresco Style Chicken Fiesta Burrito with 340 calories, 8 grams fat (21% calories from fat), 50 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber.
  • One Bean Burrito with 370 calories, 10 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 50 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber.
  • One Fiesta Chicken Burrito with 370 calories, 11 grams fat (27% calories from fat), 49 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber.
  • One Steak Fiesta Burrito with 370 calories, 12 grams fat (29% calories from fat), 49 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber.

  • Baja Fresh

    Freshly grilled meat and fish and sizzling veggies are the magic ingredients in the entrees at Baja Fresh, a chain found in assorted states across the U.S. Just keep in mind that the grams of fat in a serving of the complimentary chips are about the same amount you'll find in two chicken or shrimp Baja tacos.

    Speaking of Baja tacos, of all the meat options, the lowest in fat, saturated fat, and calories are the shrimp and chicken tacos, with 5 grams of fat each.

    • One chicken taco contains 210 calories, 5 grams fat (21% calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, and 2 grams fiber.
    • One shrimp taco contains 200 calories, 5 grams fat (23% calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, and 2 grams fiber.


    1. Wendy's

      Wendy's is a typical fast-food chain offering hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and more. Your better choices for lunch include:

      • Junior Hamburger with 280 calories, 9 grams fat (29% calories from fat), 34 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber.
      • Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich with 370 calories, 8 grams fat (19% calories from fat), 44 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber.
      • Crispy Chicken Sandwich (ordered without mayonnaise) with around 350 calories, 11 grams of fat (28% calories from fat), 44 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber.
      • Roasted Turkey & Basil Pesto Frescata with 420 calories, 15 grams of fat (32% calories from fat), 50 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber.
      • Sour Cream & Chives Baked Potato with 320 calories, 4 grams fat (11% calories from fat), 63 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber.
      • Mandarin Chicken Salad with half of a packet of Oriental Sesame Dressing (no crispy noodles and almonds) with 265 calories, 7.5 grams fat (25% calories from fat), 28.5 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber.

    2. Jamba Juice

      Jamba Juice has made a huge business out of blending smoothies. A cold smoothie can be a welcome change from the usual lunchtime sandwich, especially during those hot summer months.

      Strawberry-based smoothies continue to be among the most popular offered at Jamba Juice, according to Kara Burke, spokesperson for Jamba Juice. An original size of their light strawberry smoothie (Strawberry Nirvana), for example, contains 250 calories, 8 grams protein, 0.5 grams fat, 55 grams of carbohydrate, and 6 grams of fiber.

      A smoothie can be part of a healthy lunch if it has enough protein and fiber to sustain you for more than a couple of hours. It's also helpful if you eat the smoothie with a food that will contribute some healthful fat, since most of the smoothies at Jamba are virtually fat-free.

      Jamba Juice does offer some bakery items, the most popular of which are the Sourdough Parmesan Pretzel, the Apple Cinnamon Pretzel, and the Pizza Protein Stick.

      The Pizza Protein Stick will work well partnered with a smoothie. It contains:

      • 230 calories
      • 9 grams protein
      • 6 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat)
      • 33 grams carbohydrate
      • 2 grams fiber

      By comparison, the more indulgent Sourdough Parmesan Pretzel contains:

      • 460 calories
      • 15 grams protein
      • 11 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat)
      • 75 grams carbohydrate
      • 3 grams fiber

    3. Round Table Pizza.

      I'm not much for carrying coupons or frequent-buyer cards around, but there is one lunch special card in my wallet -- Round Table Pizza's Lunch Club card.

      The lunch special (you don't need a card for this) gives you a free drink, be it iced tea or diet soda. Then, after eight lunches, your ninth one is free! It's hard to argue with free. The lunch special includes a personal pizza (just the right size for most hungry grownups).

      Want to know which personal pizza (with their original crust) is lowest in calories and fat? I would guess the cheese pizza (no topping), but it's actually the Guinevere's Garden Delight (regular vegetarian) that wins this contest, with 560 calories and 19 grams of fat. The personal cheese pizza has 620 calories and 23 grams of fat.

      These numbers are a bit on the high side, so consider this lunch a bit of a splurge — or share your personal pizza with a friend.

    Published March 17, 2007.


    SOURCES: Kara Burke, spokesperson, Jamba Juice, Grown Marketing, San Francisco. Subway web site. Quiznos web site. Wendy's web site. Jamba Juice web site. Taco Bell web site. Baja Fresh web site. Round Table Pizza web site.

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