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Surprising Fast Food Restaurants with Healthy Meals

dairy queen

By Dana Leigh Smith

If you want to lose weight fast and still dine out, you’ve got to stick to salad joints and juice shops, right? Wrong.

Here at Eat This, Not That!, we believe that a healthy meal can be found just about anywhere—even the drive-thru—and according to a new survey from a consumer perception research firm, YouGov BrandIndex, we aren’t the only ones. YouGov asked 15,000 adults who consider eating healthy meals to be "important" or "very important" questions about 130 fast-food restaurants and sit-down chains to discover which were the most popular among the crowd. The results were all over the map.

Taking first place with a score of 47.9, was Subway. That Jared guy has maintained his weight loss for 15 years eating the chain’s sandwiches, so we can’t say we’re surprised. Another not-so-shocking chain stealing a top spot is Panera. The fast-casual salad and sandwich joint ranked third with a score of 45. However, the other chains that made the list may raise a few eyebrows: Dairy Queen (#2), Outback Steakhouse (#4), Olive Garden (#5), Wendy’s (#6), Applebee’s (#7), Dunkin Donuts (#8), Baskin Robbins (#9) and IHOP (#10). Though these restaurants serve up some sensible entrées (and even some low-cal mini desserts), they also offer waist-widening dishes with more than half a day’s calories.

To make sure you’re staying on track at these fast-food restaurants (and others that didn’t make the list), be sure to to consult your 2015 Eat This, Not That! book for the best picks for your waistline. We’ve navigated the menus for you, so all you have to do is place your order and enjoy your meal. Don’t have the book? A good rule of thumb would be to avoid anything labeled as “crispy,” “fried” or “battered,” and opt for something that comes with a serving of steamed or raw veggies or fruit.


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