It's kind of funny how when something isn't right, everyone talks about it. However, the second people actually step up their game, it goes unrecognized. So that's what I'm here to do: congratulate America for finally stepping up their game. Fast food is basically a part of our culture. It's not even that it's a bad thing— every country has their own food customs. Take Italy for example. They have the exact opposite of fast food. I sat down for dinner at 9 p.m. on a weeknight in the beautiful beach town of Pescara, and seven courses later, my family walked out of the restaurant at around 1:30 a.m. And the best part about it? They do that regularly. It's a custom for them.
The world suffers from a love/hate relationship with the several corporations who are making strides to transform the shitty, greasy fast food culture. While there is without a doubt always room for improvement, here are a list of fast food favorites that have begun to pave the way to a healthier America, one chain at a time.
The walk-thru burrito/quesadilla/taco/bowl/salad station has officially gone non-GMO, meaning that not a single product, from their meat to their tortilla wraps, contains genetically modified organisms. GMOs have been linked to being the cause of several food allergies and their production is harmful to the environment.
The chicken sandwich inventors announced in 2014 that they are leaning away from feeding antibiotics to their chickens through water, feed, and injections, which in turn makes for a healthier, natural meal on the table. They are aiming for 100% antibiotic-free by 2019.
The home to the Pumpkin Spice Latte has changed their pumpkin ingredient to being made with real pumpkin, removing the caramel colored dye from the the drinks, as well as added almond milk to their menu, making it the second dairy-free milk option next to soy. Also, instead of only offering breakfast sandwiches and pastries, they now have salads, healthy lunch/dinner wraps and protein boxes that contain basic ingredients like bread, honey, peanut butter, grapes, apples, a hard-boiled egg and a piece of cheese.
McDonald's efforts aren't so much about changing the menu, though they are adding leafy greens such as kale to their salads, but are more geared towards informing their customers by placing calorie counts right on the menu for every single item listed.
5. sweet green
This healthy "fast casual" chain with locations in CA, DC, IL, MA, MD, NY, PA and VA has the slogan "inspiring healthy communities." While not everyone has access to the warm bowl and salad-building restaurant, they are setting a standard and precedence for being a successful chain with a variety of quality, quick healthy meals.
6. Taco Bell
The crowd favorite added an important member to their team, registered dietitian Missy Nelson, to assist with developing a healthier menu, including a vegetarian menu and a cantina fresca power menu. They still have their usual cheesy burritos and cinnamon twists, and while I don't believe they plan on getting rid of that anytime soon, it's always nice to have options!
I believe we really are heading in the right direction by jumping onto the healthy bandwagon that is sweeping the country. People used to only look for fast food but now more than ever, there is a demand for quality fast food. America—the country where you can get both a deep-fried stick of butter and a gluten-free cauliflower vegan cashew cheese pizza. I see you, America. Keep doing you.