HEALTH NAMES THE HEALTHIEST RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA
Magazine Picks Top 10 Healthiest Sit-Down Chain Restaurants,
Top Five Fast Food, and Best Independents
New York, NY – HEALTH magazine names America’s healthiest restaurants in its April issue. All the restaurants were judged on criteria including healthy food preparation, whole grains on the menu, limited or no trans-fats in all dishes, low-sodium options, portion control, and how easily the costumer can access nutritional information. The panel of experts sifted through hundreds of eateries to come up with the best in three different categories; Top 10 sit-down chain restaurants, top five fast food spots, and the best independents. Plus, we tell you what our experts loved on each menu, what to stay away from and on www.health.com we list some of the unhealthiest places. The April issue is on newsstands now.
TOP 10 SIT-DOWN CHAIN RESTAURANTS
1. UNO Chicago Grill – Though its famous deep-dish pizza is high in fat, Uno’s restaurants have plenty of healthy choices on their menu which is completely trans fat free. From grilled entrées (including antibiotic-free chicken), whole-grain pasta and brown rice, to flatbread pizzas with half the calories of deep-dish ones, Uno’s is taking nutrition seriously. Plus, in the lobbies of most locations there are Nutrition Information Centers.
2. Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes – This salad-soup-and-bakery eatery uses produce so fresh that it’s been guaranteed to have been “in the ground” 24 hours before it’s in a refrigerated truck on its way to the restaurant. At the salad bar you’ll find seasonal veggies, great salads and a range of non-fat dressings.
3. Mimi’s Café – This cozy café-style restaurant transforms normally less-than-healthy foods into better (and still tasty) potions. They also keep their portions small so you can occasionally get away with having one of their more indulgent entrees.
4. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro – Healthy dining here comes in the form of whole-grain brown rice, sustainable Alaskan salmon, all-natural chicken, wok-based cooking (which requires less oil), and less sodium in the sauces.
5. Bob Evans – A surprising entry on the list, Bob Evans scores on its dinner menu which has plenty of low-carb, low-fat entrees and alternatives for children and adults (chicken tenders are grilled instead of fried).
6. Ruby Tuesday – It’s easy to find good stuff on this menu like organic greens, trans fat-free frying oil, and better-for-you beverages like organic teas and all natural lemonade.
7. Romano’s Macaroni Grill – What pushed Macaroni Grill onto the top 10 list is its “Sensible Fare” menu, being able to substitute whole-wheat penne in any dish and including a grilled skinless chicken breast with steamed broccoli and pasta on the kid’s menu.
8. Chevy’s Fresh Mex – Chevy’s makes a big deal out of the “fresh” in its name and with good reason including: no cans in the restaurant, fresh salsa blended every hour, and fresh avocados smashed daily for guacamole. All oils are trans fat-free, and the Mexican-style fare has lots of healthy options.
9. Olive Garden – Like Macaroni Grill, this Italian eatery has great-for-you options, as long as you keep your wits about you. Use the olive-branch icon to find low-fat garden fare. You can grab whole-grain goodness too by substituting whole-wheat linguine for any pasta.
10. Denny’s – Another surprising addition to the list, Denny’s offers lots of skinny options to counter its fatty mainstays. “Fit-Fare” dishes all have less than 15 grams of fat each. Their use of trans fats to cook its French fries kept it from landing higher on the list, but the rest of the fried food is trans fat-free.
TOP FIVE FAST-FOOD SPOTS
1. Noodles & Company – This restaurant combines 19 fresh vegetables with seven types of pastas in Asian, Mediterranean, or American entrees.
2. Chipotle Mexican Grill – They use naturally raised, antibiotic-free meats, organic beans, and even hormone-free sour cream. The Corn tortillas give you a whole-grain option, and the tortilla-less Burrito Bowl lets you ramp up the protein and veggies.
3. Cosi – Cosi’s central theme, the hearth, yields tasty hearth-baked entrees like Alpine Chicken and Grilled Wild Alaskan Salmon. High marks for baby carrots as substitute for chips to go with their sandwiches.
4. Panera – Look to Panera’s soups for low-calorie and low-sodium options. Fresh fruit cups and apples make for healthy sides.
5. Au Bon Pain – This chain boasts hormone and antibiotic-free chicken. Plus, it provides computerized kiosks, available in most locations, with nutrition information.
THE BEST INDEPENDENTS
• Blue Hill – New York City: Since 2000 this Greenwich Village restaurant has been using produce and animals from Stone Barns Center, a four-season farm and educational center.
• M Café – Los Angeles: This café makes macrobiotic cuisine incredibly tasty fare.
• Chez Panisse – Berkeley, CA: A longtime leader in the movement to showcase organic ingredients, cooked in simple, healthy, and delicious ways, Chez Panisse offers a daily menu that includes vegetables fresh from the garden, fruit right off the branch and fish straight from the sea.
• Green Zebra – Chicago: This vegetarian-oriented menu stands out with its creative and flavorful pairings.
• Inn Season Café – Detroit: Whole-grain burgers and lasagnas with veggies rule in this eatery.
• Bacchanalia – Atlanta: The husband-and-wife team and co-owners supply much of the restaurant’s organic offerings from their own farm.
Health (www.Health.com) is America’s most-trusted health-and-wellness magazine, giving women credible, useful, and up-to-date information and inspiration on how to live healthier, happier lives. Health covers well-being, fitness, nutrition, and beauty with intelligence and flair, showing that healthy living isn’t just important — it’s fun, too. The magazine is published 10 times a year, reaching 7 million readers with each issue.A leader in lifestyle information, Birmingham, Ala.-based Southern Progress Corporation A leader in lifestyle information, Birmingham, Ala.-based Southern Progress Corporation (www.southernprogress.com) publishes Southern Living, Cooking Light, Health, Coastal Living, Southern Accents, Cottage Living, and Sunset magazines, and books through Oxmoor House. It also operates a direct-selling division, Southern Living At HOME, and has a strong Web presence through branded portals, including MyRecipes.com and MyHomeIdeas.com, as well as 10 individual Web sites. Southern Progress is a subsidiary of Time Inc.