Let’s be honest: fast food is notorious for its excessive fat, sugar, and salt levels.Or that’s how we know it.
However, the industry has been changing in recent years. In 2023, many brands offer healthier alternatives, especially for elderly individuals like you and I!
Metabolic and physiological changes occur beyond 50. Metabolic rates fall, making weight gain easier, while muscle mass decreases, limiting strength and mobility. The body also needs more nutrition. Older folks may need additional calcium, vitamin D, or B vitamins for bone and brain health. These alterations need a nutrient-dense diet.
Today, we’ll explore the top fast food options that combine taste and nutrients for a delicious, affordable treat. Let’s check them out!
Subway, a fast food giant, revolutionized sandwiches. Subway began as “Pete’s Super Submarines” in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1965 by 17-year-old Fred DeLuca and his family friend Dr. Peter Buck. DeLuca’s medical school tuition was the modest objective. Their expectations were exceeded.
By 2018, Subway has 44,834 outlets in 110 countries. Subway’s emphasis on customization and healthier fast food options transformed fast food, making sandwiches ubiquitous globally.
Subway’s menu has always offered a wide selection of ingredients. For healthy eaters over 50, the Veggie Delite and Turkey Breast sandwiches are best. The Veggie Delite is a low-calorie, high-fiber sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and onions on whole-grain bread. However, the lean protein in the turkey breast sandwich helps older individuals retain muscular mass. It’s low in saturated fat and pairs well with veggies.
In certain places, Subway provides senior discounts. For example, over-60s get a 10% discount, making healthy meals more affordable. It’s worth asking individual franchisees as this might differ by area.
My husband loves Chipotle, so I was curious enough to do some research on this one too! Chipotle Mexican Grill’s healthy fast food has been a welcome change in an industry overloaded with burgers, fries, and pizzas. Chipotle was founded in 1993 by classically trained chef Steve Ells as a burrito business in Denver, Colorado.
“Food with Integrity” drives Chipotle’s operations. They buy hormone-free dairy, organic and local fruit, and organically-grown meat. Chipotle also opposed GMOs and artificial additives. Chipotle grew from a little restaurant to a business with over 2,500 outlets using high-quality products.
The Sofritas Bowl and Chicken Salad are nutritional standouts among the burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, especially for consumers over 50. The Sofritas Bowl, with organic tofu cooked with peppers and spices, brown rice, black beans, and various veggies, is a plant-based powerhouse. Antibiotic-free chicken, fresh greens, fajita veggies, and black beans make the Chicken Salad a protein-rich, low-carb solution for weight management and muscle maintenance.
Many Chipotle locations provide senior discounts at management’s discretion. Thus, older Chipotle customers should ask about senior discounts.
Chipotle is available nationwide, providing a handy and healthy alternative for on-the-go meals. Urban and college communities seek quick, healthy, and ethical food.
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Panera Bread combines fast-food quickness with the heartiness of freshly baked products and healthy meals. Panera Bread, founded as the St. Louis Bread Company in 1987, is famous for its welcoming atmosphere, excellent ingredients, and mindful eating.
Panera Bread prides itself on its transparent sourcing and clean food philosophy, which forbids artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors. The brand has earned millions of health-conscious consumers by focusing on freshness and wellness.
Panera Bread serves healthy food. The Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich and Ten Vegetable Soup are great for health-conscious people over 50. The Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich is a nutritional feast with its bright veggies, hummus, and feta on Tomato Basil bread. Panera’s healthy Ten Vegetable Soup has tomatoes, red and yellow peppers, onions, corn, carrots, spinach, poblano peppers, celery, garlic, chickpeas, sprouted brown rice and red fife, and dried Aleppo chili in vegetable broth.
Panera Bread’s senior-specific offerings aren’t widespread. Some franchise owners may provide discounts to senior customers. Seniors should ask for discounts at Panera Bread.
This amazing brand has made its mark on American cuisine from California’s sunny vistas to New York’s bustling metropolis and Georgia’s southern charm. For quick, fresh, and healthy food, this fast-casual brand has nearly 2,000 outlets.
Starbucks has transformed the coffee business and become a global brand since its 1971 founding in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Starbucks has expanded beyond coffee into health-conscious cuisine and fast food.
Starbucks has transformed the “coffee shop” from a single establishment selling high-quality, dark-roasted coffee beans into a worldwide brand providing a variety of drinks, pastries, and healthy meal alternatives. Starbucks’ dedication to diversity reflects the changing customer taste, which prioritizes nutrition and well-being.
Two of Starbucks’ meals are especially nutritious for those over 50. A hard-boiled egg, apple slices, grapes, white cheddar cheese, multigrain muesli toast, and honey peanut butter make up the Protein Bistro Box, a healthy powerhouse. The fiber-rich Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl has roasted butternut squash, beets, kale, red cabbage, steamed broccoli florets, garden peas, and a lemon-tahini sauce.
Some Starbucks locations offer senior discounts. It’s worth asking at your local Starbucks as shop owners decide these.
Starbucks’ green mermaid logo is recognized across. Starbucks represents America’s love of coffee and healthy fast food in California, New York, and Alaska.
The Jamba story is one of nutritious fast food innovation from a single juice business in San Luis Obispo, California, to a worldwide brand. Jamba (formerly Jamba Juice until 2019) was started by Kirk Perron in 1990 as the “Juice Club” and promotes a healthy, active lifestyle with smoothies, juices, and bowls.
Jamba has grown into a vast company that has transformed fast food. Its original goal was to provide a tasty option for health-conscious customers. Jamba’s refreshing, nutrient-dense drinks changed fast food’s reputation from deep-fried, high-calorie goods.
Jamba’s Açaí Primo Bowl and Greens & Ginger Smoothie are great options for healthy, quick, and convenient meals for those over 50. Açaí juice, soymilk, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, coconut, and honey top the Açaí Primo Bowl. This antioxidant-packed dish has fiber. However, the Greens & Ginger Smoothie is packed with vitamins and minerals from mangos, peaches, kale, lemon, and ginger.
Jamba doesn’t give senior discounts. Seniors may check with their local Jamba for store-specific discounts.
Jamba has approximately 800 shops from west coast beaches to east coast cities. Jamba’s wide geographic reach makes healthy, blended drinks accessible to many.
Sweetgreen, a fast-food pioneer with creative and nutritious salads, has captivated the culinary world. Sweetgreen was founded in 2007 by three Georgetown University students—Nathaniel Ru, Jonathan Neman, and Nicolas Jammet—who wanted to develop a fast-food restaurant with healthy, tasty, and eco-friendly alternatives.
Sweetgreen’s philosophy is that “real food” may nourish and unite. Sweetgreen’s purpose is to promote healthy communities via authentic food. Sweetgreen uses local and organic foods from trusted farmers and suppliers.
Sweetgreen’s Guacamole Greens Salad and Hummus Tahina Salad are excellent choices for over-50s who value taste and nutrition. The Guacamole Greens Salad has organic mesclun, avocado, roasted chicken, red onion, tomatoes, tortilla chips, and cilantro-jalapeno vinaigrette. For instance, the Hummus Tahina Salad is also delicious with organic wild rice, shredded kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, feta, and homemade hummus.
Sweetgreen does not provide a senior discount, however, shop managers may give specials. Ask about similar incentives at Sweetgreen for seniors.
Since its start, Sweetgreen has expanded to over 120 outlets in major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston. The brand’s popularity and successful fast food rebranding explain its extensive presence.
Fast food is essential to modern life, whether we like it or not. It’s just part of our culture – but we shouldn’t compromise on health just because of that!
Consumer health awareness has led to menus that satisfy our taste senses and improve our health. So, Í recommend you investigate these alternatives with excitement, not compromise. Fast food is becoming healthier with each bite.
Do you have any other tips on healthy fast-food menus or brands? If so, make sure to drop a comment below and tell us all about it!