Sunday, January 22, 2012

Healthy Fast Food Restaurant... Would You Eat Here?

Why do 99% of American fast food restaurants offer french fries as a side item?  Because people BUY them.  In recent years some of the more popular fast food chains have begun offering apple slices or a fruit cup in exchange for the fries, but only when you buy a kids meal.  If I want fruit instead of fries I would have to bring my own because it's just not an option at most restaurants.

Below is my ideal menu for a healthy fast food restaurant.  (Note: This restaurant does not exist, yet.  Perhaps you the reader will be interested in opening one?)

I'll start with the side items.  You may be wondering why.... well because these are the items that need to change the MOST to make fast food healthier. 

Roasted Chickpeas
photo courtesy of Maggie Hoffman
Healthy side items:

sweet potato fries
apple slices
mandarin oranges
raw baby carrots
yogurt cup
lime seasoned roasted chickpeas
chili seasoned roasted chickpeas

Healthier dessert choices:

pumpkin chocolate chip cookie
Healthy entree choices:

Turkey burger on whole wheat bun
Garden burger on whole wheat bun
Grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bun
Vegetarian pita sandwich - hummus, lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper, feta cheese and provolone cheese on toasted pita bread
Grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread 

Healthy topping choices for burgers and sandwiches:

Fresh Spinach
photo courtesy of Clearly Ambiguous
turkey bacon
fresh spinach leaves
fresh romaine or red top lettuce (no iceberg lettuce found here)
fresh green bell pepper strips
fresh purple onion strips
fresh diced tomato
organic ketchup (no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial
colors or flavors)
lite mayonnaise
lite ranch dressing
low fat white American cheese
low fat provolone cheese
low fat pepper jack cheese

So, would you or your family eat here?  Would you even miss the french fries with so many healthy choices?  I know our family would love these foods and would likely eat here several times a month if it were available at a reasonable cost.

In addition to the above, I would love to find a family friendly restaurant that not only offers healthy, wholesome foods, but offers food without any artificial food colorings, artificial flavorings and no high-fructose corn syrup.  Think it's not possible?  Well I think it IS possible.  We the consumers just have to demand these types of foods.  The stores track what we purchase and therefore stock more of what we purchase.  Restaurants do the same.  Items that don't sell very well won't remain on the menu.

Choose to eat healthier foods.  You and your family will be happier and healthier for it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Best Friend Conversation In Darci's Apartment

Darci's balcony
As soon as they were both sitting Darci turned to Verdin and asked, “Okay, what’s going on?”  Seeing that Verdin wore a surprised look, she decided he might need more explanation for her question.   “You have always been super polite and courteous when in my home, but you’ve also been relaxed around me as well.” She paused to see if he was following along before she continued.  “Just now you practically forced me inside from the balcony and said it was too windy for me.  Then you stood and waited for me to ask you to sit, while normally you would have been already lounging on the couch before I came back from the other room.”  Darci looked at him intensely and saw that his clear gray eyes looked a bit taken aback.  “I want you to tell me what you are thinking,” she said softly.  “Why are you acting this way?”  

Verdin looked away from Darci and closed his eyes for a brief second before looking back at her again.  She was so astute at what he was feeling, he thought.  Apparently he gave away too much information with his actions.  Taking a deep breath he began to try to explain.   “I’m sorry if I have made you uncomfortable in your own home.  I realized today that I am perhaps the best friend that you have.”  Verdin paused to see if Darci would object to this comment, but she didn’t so he continued.  “After realizing that I was indeed your friend I figured I needed to do a better job and make sure that you were taken care of.  I didn’t mean to almost ‘force’ you inside; I merely wanted to get you out of the wind so you wouldn’t become ill.”  Verdin gave her his best abashed look and hoped she would understand.  “Please,” Darci burst out with a laugh. “I’m not a fragile flower and a little cold wind is really nothing.”   He saw her look down at her lap before looking up at him again. “But I do appreciate your concern,” she added quietly as she gave him a smile.

This is an excerpt from a book I've been writing.  Comments welcome.