The next time you’re thinking of giving out gift cards as perks or rewards, you may want to consider getting them from these establishments. Reason: These eateries won’t set back your workers’ health — or your wellness efforts.
Health magazine recently took a look at the nation’s 100 largest fast food chains in an effort to find out which were the healthiest. The criteria upon which each restaurant was scored:
- use of healthy fats
- sodium counts
- the availability of nutritional info, and
- the use of organic produce.
The biggest surprise (although it didn’t crack the top five): McDonald’s ranked eighth. Sure, this mega chain has some ridiculously unhealthy choices on it’s menu (we’re looking at you, Big Mac). But this chain’s undergone a bit of a health revolution in recent years — by offering things like grilled chicken wraps, salads with low-fat dressings and parfaits with granola and low-fat yogurt.
The healthiest lunchtime hubs
Since it may seem strange to tell workers to hit Mickey D’s for a healthy lunch, here are some other places you may want to consider steering workers toward on their lunch breaks.
And the healthiest fast food restaurant in America is … Panera Bread
What did the judges at Health love about this chain that boasts 1,230 locations nationwide? Whole-grain bread options, half-size soups, salads and sandwiches, and the ability to grab an apple instead of chips for a side.
The rest of the top five:
- Jason’s Deli — its salads are made from numerous organic food options.
- Au Bon Pain — this year it added a 14-item menu of nutritious small plates.
- Noodles and Company — Asian fare, low grease quotient.
- Corner Bakery Cafe — offers portion-controlled combos that made it easy to limit calories.
The honorable mentions: Chipotle, Atlanta Bread, McDonald’s, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Taco Del Mar.