Photos by Shayla Girardin
As a junior living off campus with no meal plan, fast food has become a close friend and comrade over the past semester. You’re correct in assuming that some fast food is better than others, but don’t sweat it if you find yourself eating out more than you’d like. While making your own homemade meal is definitely ideal, here are some ways to make these local fast food restaurants a little more nutritious.
You’re not a Wave if you don’t enjoy Chipotle at least once a week. You may be surprised to know that this fast food chain goes above and beyond to ensure high-quality, healthy meals. All of the food at Chipotle is prepared without shortcuts. Chipotle uses high quality USDA select beef and naturally raised pork for their recipes. Nothing is injected, plumped, processed or frozen, according to Chipotle’s website.
If you’re looking to cut back, consider getting a bowl instead of the burrito and go easy on the guacamole, cheese and sour cream. While great in moderation, these sides have a higher fat content.
With high quality and locally grown ingredients you really can’t go wrong with any Chipotle dish.
– Salad/Burrito Bowl – Chicken or steak, romaine lettuce, black beans, fajita vegetables and fresh tomato salsa (extra hungry? Grab a double portion of chicken or steak!)
If you’re willing to make the drive through the canyon, this Mexican restaurant is one I highly recommend. Sharky’s only uses organic, natural and local ingredients. Everything is made fresh to order with no added hormones, preservatives or phosphates. They use all natural meats, wild caught fish, GMO-Free corn and rBGH- free dairy, according to the Sharky’s website — they even have an extensive gluten free menu.
– Sharky’s Power Plate – salmon, grilled chicken or fresh fish
– Superfood Salad-Sharky’s Quinoa (this is a great gluten-free option)
– Naked Chicken Fajita Bowl (go without rice and cheese)
– Naked Sharky’s Chicken Salad
This local hotspot has more to offer than just coffee. Starbucks also includes an extensive lunch menu. If you’re looking for some healthy dishes to accompany your beverage, Starbucks offers a wide variety of options. But first you’ll need to look past the selection of pastries, bagels, cookies and crumpets. Consider grabbing one of the hot breakfast or lunch sandwiches and not eating the bread. Better yet, enjoy a specialty salad.
– Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich
– Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap
– Chicken & Greens Caesar Salad Bowl
– Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl
– Turkey Pesto Panini (I like to eat this without the bread).
Jack in the Box:
Jack in the Box, Crack in the Box, J-Bo — whatever you choose to call it, Jack in the Box is not known for its healthy menu options, but whether you want to admit it or not we’ve all enjoyed a meal at this 24-hour establishment at one point (most likely some time past 1:00 a.m.). Most items on the menu should be a treat. If you’re really craving a burger, consider eating just the burger patty without the bun and added condiments. That way you’re getting some protein without the added carbs and fats found in the bun, cheese and sauces.
– Chicken Fajita Pita
– Chicken Strips
– Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
– Egg White and Turkey Breakfast Sandwich
Follow Shayla Girardin on Twitter: @shaylagthatsme