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Fast-Food Nation

Check out these options for healthier meals at top restaurant chains.

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Despite continued warnings about health and waistline repercussions, our appetite for fast food remains strong. In surveys conducted between 2013 and 2016 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37% of adults said they’d eaten fast food at least once in the past 24 hours. Americans with higher incomes were more likely to choose food-in-a-hurry than their lower-paid peers.

To be fair, the report’s broad definition of fast-food venues included coffee shops and fast-casual places like salad-heavy Sweetgreen, where healthier choices are easier to order. Still, it’s clear that fast-food-style restaurants keep finding a way to conveniently fit into our busy lifestyles in lieu of home cooking. Perhaps the best course of action is not to tell people to stop eating fast food—that’s not working out well—but to encourage companies to add a greater variety of healthy choices that are lower in calories, saturated fat and sodium, and to educate the public on the best options.

These choices from popular eateries serve up less nutritional doom and gloom:

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Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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