It doesn't seem like you should be able to put the word healthy and the words restaurant chain in the same sentence unless you're making a joke. This is no joke. Many of the fast food places that we all know and love in Lafayette and surrounding communities can be healthy places to eat. Now let's be clear about eating healthy. A lot of people think healthy eating means tasteless bland rabbit food served on a side of dry rice cakes with no mention of flavor. That really isn't the case. Healthy eating can certainly mean a salad or a sandwich or even a burger or po-boy. It's all about portions, condiments and sides. Let's take a look a some places that we know offer good food fast, at least as far as the national chains go.

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    There is a reason why traffic always gets backed up on Ambassador Caffery near Robley around meal time. There is also a reason there are so many minivans and S.U.V.'s driven by women blocking the road. Women know that Chik-Fil-A offers some very healthy meals fast. In fact only two of their entrees break the 500 calorie barrier. That is certainly a good thing for someone wanting to watch their waistline and count calories. You have to remember when you add the sauce and condiments that's where things start to go wrong.
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    Another obvious choice, based upon their marketing strategy is Subway. Subway is a favorite of mine because they have a lot of locations in the Lafayette area. The food is always fresh and I can make sure what I want on my sandwich is what actually goes on my sandwich. I must remind you that even though Subway features about half of their sandwiches as being under 300 calories you can still get caught in the whirlpool of despair if too many meatball marinara's or buffalo chickens call your name. Jared was right, you can eat at Subway and lose weight.
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    Olive Garden

    The next restaurant on my choice of national chains will probably make some of you fall out of your chair and into your high calorie coffee. Olive Garden, that's right Olive Garden has some great choices that not only lean light, they lean light in a delicious way. The thing you have to watch at Olive Garden is to not be seduced by their delicious creamy sauces. The key to getting all the good out of a stop at Olive Garden, at least to me, is asking for a substitution of whole wheat pasta and ordering a lunch sized portion. The lunch portion is plenty of food, even for a big boy like me and the whole wheat pasta will make your inner self happy too.
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    Jason's Deli

    Jason's Deli may have the best darn salad bar in the world. At least in my world of eating it's the best. The choices on the salad bar at Jason's are incredible but I promised you this wasn't going to be about rabbit food. Have you tried the Mediterranean Wrap or the Turkey Wrap? They are both momma slapping good and good for you. How does under 400 calories sound? That is a lot of food for that small amount of calories especially when you compare it to the 100 calorie snack packs of cookies you can buy. Jason's Deli should be on your list of places to eat healthy.
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    My final addition to my list of healthiest restaurant chains is one that you didn't think about at all.That restaurant is McDonald's. I love McDonald's for a lot of reasons. Some people will tell you McDonald's is the reason kids are getting fat in America. If you say that you are wrong. It's parents that aren't strong enough to actually be the adult that causes that. It is true that McDonald's has some high calorie items on their menu but there is no other national chain that has invested more time, money, energy and effort in providing healthy alternatives for those that choose to eat a healthier diet. McDonald's grilled chicken, the addition of apples to the happy meal and the delightful salads are indications that they are trying hard to deliver great food at a fair price that fits into anyone's life style.