MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - On the go and on the run, Americans are in a hurry these days. That fast paced lifestyle is taking a toll on our waistlines and our health. Is there a way to eat healthy in a hurry? WSFA 12 News investigates the drive-thru diet.
"I want to be healthy and lose weight so I don't get diabetes," says 10-year-old Amber Curry.
While we all aim to lead a healthy lifestyle, the fast-paced "hurry up and get there" society that we live in often turns to fast food, and it's killing us.
"I get upset because my clothes don't fit," Amber says. She and her mother, Donna, are just one of many families struggling to balance a busy schedule while eating right. Their weekly routine often includes a few trips through the drive-thru window. "We're always on the go...we try to find something healthy," Donna says.
But there's hope. More and more fast food restaurants are offering healthier options, " You just have to look at your choices," nutrition expert Dr. Sondra Jean Weese says.
So we did. WSFA 12 News brought Dr. Weese along to show us how to eat a drive-thru diet. We picked three items off the menus of three popular restaurants: Chick-fil-a, Arby's and Wendy's.
First, we stopped at Chick-fil-a and our menu choices were 1.) the chicken strip salad with ranch dressing 2.) the eight piece nuggets with a medium fruit cup and 3.) the chicken sandwich and fries. You're best bet: The nuggets and fruit.
"It's great nutritional value," said Weese. We put Amber's mom and two other parents to the test with the same items. "Chicken nuggets with the fruit..." they said, and each was correct!
The calorie breakdown: The nutrition information on Chick-fil-a's web site says the nuggets and fruit have 330 calories. The salad and ranch dressing have 610 calories while the chicken sandwich and fries have a whopping 690 calories. "You have that fried sandwich; you could get it grilled," said Weese.
Next in our drive-thru test was Arby's with a favorite, the roast beef sandwich and curly fries. Our second choice was the Market Fresh turkey and swiss sandwich and finally, the chicken salad sandwich. You may be surprise by the winner here: "Shockingly over here it's with your fries," Weese said, "Your fries and your small sandwich."
That answer threw a couple of our parents off, too. "No, I don't thinks so! Is it?," questioned Curry. The roast beef and curly fries had 660 calories, falling under the turkey and swiss with 708 calories and the chicken salad sandwich packed with 769 calories. "Portion control," Weese explains.
And finally, we headed to Wendy's where the menu offered a classic single with fries, two grilled chicken wraps and the chili bowl.
The small chili carries just 190 calories while the wrap had 260 for one and 520 for two! The hamburger combo topped out at 770 calories. Weese says, "With you're chili you're also getting some beans nutritional density."
Our test parents scored well in our fast food test. A confidence booster knowing they're helping their children make the right decisions.