Want to avoid the ‘fattiest’ fast food in America but can’t quite give up your favorite chain restaurant? You have options.
Gym chain Gold’s Gym, begun in Venice, California, in 1965, has partnered with well-known British chef Robert Irvine to create the first-ever “Golden Plate Awards,” which selects the 10 healthiest dishes from fast food and casual dining restaurants across the country.
The selection is based on hundreds of nominations from Gold’s Gym members and consumers, as well as on input from nutrition experts and Irvine himself. The criteria include how healthy as well as how tasty the dishes are.
An American adult consumes a meal or snack bought from a restaurant 5.8 times a week on average, according to the National Restaurant Association. Now that we’re dining out more than any other time in history, it’s increasingly important to make wise choices when we order.
“The 10 Golden Plate Award winners provide a plethora of options for enjoying a delicious meal without the guilt you can experience when you cheat on your diet,” said Irvine. “It’s all about making healthy choices, and knowing what works for your individual health and fitness goals.”
The winners include dishes from Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, Olive Garden, California Pizza Kitchen and Chipotle Mexican Grill.
While most of the dishes are relatively low in calories, there are important caveats to keep in mind. Eating out almost always increases your sodium intake, for example, compared to eating meals prepared at home – and some of the winners selected by Irvine contain levels of sodium higher than the 1,500 milligrams a day recommended by the American Heart Association.
Also, many of these selections may not be suitable for those who follow a gluten-free diet or have gluten sensitivities. Checking the items carefully for their nutritional information is of course critical. Many restaurant websites have more information.
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