By: Matt Weik
Do you live a hectic lifestyle? Do you find yourself always on the go? You, like millions of others, probably find themselves hitting a fast-food restaurant for a quick bite to eat when on the run and short on time. And while there are several ways to make fast-food restaurants healthier, hitting up a made-to-order restaurant is a much better (and healthier) idea.
Now, what do we mean when we say, "made-to-order restaurant?" Couldn't ANY fast-food restaurant be a "made-to-order" restaurant? Sure, but there is a very clear and decisive line drawn in the sand between fast-food restaurants and what is described in this article.
A made-to-order restaurant is precisely what the name implies – a place where you can go to eat and order your food exactly how you want it prepared but be in and out in record time (think along the same line as to how quick you are at a fast-food restaurant). In addition, the food tends to be much healthier and fresher than its fat-laden counterparts.
So which restaurants are we talking about? Below are some of the most commonly found made-to-order restaurants across the nation. They are in no particular order.
When it comes to the places you can grab a quick and healthy bite to eat, Chipotle is one of the best. This made-to-order restaurant prepares your meals fresh and directly in front of you. You can ask for a little more of this, a little less of that, and hold the [enter an item or sauce here]. Their protein sources are grilled to perfection, and the flavors they use to season the food are unbelievably good.
The "bowl" would be one of your best options to choose from as you can have your meal over a bed of white or brown rice (and even lettuce if you prefer a lower carbohydrate meal). As for protein, you get to choose from a wide variety of meat and poultry, as well as vegetarian options.
Choose the vegetables you'd like on top, as well as all of your other fixings, and then add your stamp of approval with a nice spoonful of pico de gallo and/or guacamole.
Moe's, similar to Chipotle, is all about fresh ingredients with bold flavors. Just like with Chipotle, you can order a bowl and add all of the ingredients you wish, without all of the added fat, carbohydrates, sugars, and junk. Items are grilled, and you have the ability to add any toppings you wish on your meal.
If you like Chipotle, more than likely, you'll also like Moe's Southwest Grill (and vice versa).
While many consider Panda Express to be a restaurant that has a ton of calories due to the various sauces and heavy presence of rice and even fried items, it's really no different than the other restaurants mentioned above in which you can order your food exactly how you prefer to have it prepared. Also, they have "better-for-you" options that you can order as well.
One of their best meals is the Wok Smart beef and broccoli with brown rice. Rich in fiber, micronutrients, and protein, you can skip all the added calories by holding off on any sauce (or ask for it on the side so you can drizzle it on top of your meal).
Wait? A restaurant that serves noodles is on our list of healthy places to eat? You bet! As mentioned earlier, you can make just about any place you visit healthy, but this made-to-order restaurant provides you with the best of both worlds – assuming you have some self-control.
Here's the interesting part. One of the best meals (and healthiest) on the menu doesn't actually contain "noodles" at all. How so? You should try the zucchini pesto with grilled chicken. The zucchini noodles eliminate a bunch of the carbs you'd consume if you went with actual noodles, and the dish is packed with protein and full of flavor.
If you travel a lot, you're probably more than aware of what Au Bon Pain is known for… baked goods. Just about every airport seems to have this made-to-order restaurant where you can create a dish the way you prefer or pick up a tempting muffin or croissant (which we'd recommend you refrain from doing).
One of the quick meals you can order at Au Bon Pain is their egg white sandwich on a whole-wheat skinny bagel. While most would assume this is "unhealthy," it's actually not bad as the whole grains are acceptable (assuming you aren't eating multiple bagels or sandwiches every day).
On the bagel sandwich, you can toss in a little cheese for added flavor and then have them spread on a nice layer of avocado for healthy fats, added texture, and taste.
This is a very short list of made-to-order restaurants as there are many more out there. I'm sure some places popped into your head as you've been reading this article. Utilize those ideas and make them work for you and your dietary needs and preferences.
The whole reason behind a made-to-order restaurant is because of the quality of food you get every time you walk through their doors and the ability to make changes and substitutions to the menu however you see fit to match your preferences. Unlike many of the unhealthy fast-food restaurants, the restaurants listed above have food made fresh each day versus tossing frozen patties in the microwaves and tossing them on a bun or scooping out a pile of French fries and putting them in a carton or baggie for you.
When you have the ability to stand in front of the server and watch them make your food right in front of you, it takes out the guesswork and even frustration of not getting what you wanted. In many of the places, you can even ask to double the protein (with an upcharge, of course).
There are endless possibilities to suit your dietary wants and needs – all you need to do is be on the lookout for a made-to-order restaurant that serves freshly prepared food, and you're set while on the go. Just because you live a crazy life does not mean you need to settle for unhealthy fast food and sacrifice your health.
Do you wake up in the morning and need to be out the door as quickly as possible? You probably end up skipping breakfast or grabbing a carb-filled breakfast option as you rush out the door. Now, you can have a protein-rich breakfast that you can eat on the way to work.
MPA Iso Poofs Cereal is a fantastic breakfast option when you are short on time. Sure, the usual way of eating cereal would be to sit down at a table and eat the cereal in a bowl with milk. Well, you need something on the go, right? Try this!
Now, I'm not saying I've done this in the past, but I've done this in the past. Grab a shaker bottle (leave the strainer or whisk ball out). Pour yourself a serving of MPA Iso Poofs Cereal into your shaker bottle – you can add some milk to it if you prefer or eat it dry. It should be noted that if you leave your Iso Poofs in the milk for a long time, they will start to get soft (like a typical cereal in a bowl of milk).
You're probably asking why a shaker bottle? It's actually brilliant when you think about it. You can pop the top and pour the Iso Poofs directly into your mouth – NO MESS! Each serving of Iso Poofs Cereals will provide you with 17-19g of protein, 3g of carbs, 1g of fat, and less than 100 calories. Available in three delicious flavors (Apple Cinnamon, French Toast, and Chocolate), you'll always have time for a healthy breakfast in the morning.