Although many restaurants are serving more soups, salads, and grilled-rather-than-fried items, and cutting down on ingredients such as sodium, most diners aren’t concerned about dieting when they eat out.
Only 20 percent of survey respondents to Consumer Reports’ latest fast-food survey‚ covering 96,208 meals at 65 chains, consider the availability of healthful menu options when choosing a restaurant. And just 19 percent of readers say they ordered a healthful meal during their most recent dining experience. Women were more conscientious than men. Forty-two percent (vs. 28 percent of men surveyed) were swayed to order lower-calorie fare from restaurants that conspicuously displayed nutritional information on the menu. But when we asked respondents whether their menus displayed calorie and fat counts, 51 percent said they were unsure.
The chains in the "Healthful Choices" list here topped the list for diners who said there were ample healthy alternatives from which to choose.
Another healthful consideration: Chipotle, Culver’s, and Panera are serving poultry raised without antibiotics, and Chick-fil-A is moving in that direction. Ans Subway says it has reduced the sodium content of its core menu items an average 28 percent in its low-fat sandwiches and an average 15 percent in all lunch and dinner subs over the last three years.
If healthy eating is a priority, steer clear of pizza and burger chains. Learn about the foods to fear, below.