Even Fast Food Salads Can Be Unhealthy


Many think that if you go organic, clean, and natural, that you are eating the healthiest foods you can consume. This is true, to an extent. Many restauranteurs have begun to cash in on this trend by opening “fast food” restaurants that tout healthy, organic, vegetarian, and vegan cuisine. However, one must always be diligent in minding the nutritional value of such claims.

For those wishing to eat clean, healthy, and organic meals, there are “fast food” restaurants opening that are seeking to fill this niche. Native Foods, Sweetgreen, Laughing Planet, and Lyfe Kitchen are all making a splash by offering plant-based meals fast. They also claim to offer lower prices and tout that their models promote animal welfare and environmental sustainability.

Those supporting such chains claim that they may be a solution to obesity, factory farming, and global warming.

But you know the old adage. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

One major problem is that whole foods are unfit for a fast-food market. This is because vegetables require more labor, are more expensive to ship, store, and prepare than a simple hamburger. Growing vegetables is resource intensive, and according to one study done by Carnegie-Mellon, lettuce generates more greenhouse gases per calorie than bacon.

As far as cost goes, the average check at McDonald’s is $4.75. At Lyfe Kitchen, it’s around $15. Native Foods and Veggie Grill come in at about $9 each. Per calorie, Sweetgreen’s salads, at $9.50-$14, are more expensive than a McDouble from the dollar menu.

On to nutrition. Though these chains do offer more vegetables, whole grains, fruit and beans than the cheaper fast food venues, in order to make their food tasty, they rely on sugar, salt, and fat. In fact, Lyfe Kitchen, which claims a menu of “very little fat” only has one salad that comes in at less than 70% fat.

At Laughing Planet, the large “Highway to Kale” has more fat than a bacon-and-cheese Whopper from Burger King. And at Veggie Grill, the Savory Kale Caesar contains the amount of fat most adults should consume in one day.

If you truly want to eat clean, healthy, organic foods, experts agree. Prepare it at home.

Whatever your fitness goals, personal trainer Frank Tortorici can help you reach them. Contact him today for an appointment.

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