10 Fast Food Chains That Are Making Their Menus Healthier

Fast food chains respond to our increasing health concerns by making changes to portion size and ingredients
Taco Bell

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería / CC BY-SA 4.0

10 Fast Food Chains That Are Making Their Menus Healthier

taco bell

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería / CC BY-SA 4.0

If you don't want to spend a lot of money on lunch or dinner, fast food chains are definitely the cheapest option, but they’re often not terribly nutritious. Now that more people are aware of the ingredients in their food, fast food chains have responded by adding healthier options and improving their menus.

Burger King

burger king

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The kids menu at Burger King just got whole lot healthier. Following in the footsteps of Wendy’s and McDonald’s, Burger King removed soda from their kid’s menu completely. For kids meals, the options are milk, chocolate milk, and apple juice. You can get a kid-sized soda a la carte, but you’re kids do not have the option when it comes to the meal.

Chick-fil-A

chick-fil-a

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Chick-fil-A markets itself with the slogan, “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” About 20 percent of its chicken is antibiotic-free and the company has made a promise that by 2019, all of it will be.

Chipotle

Chipotle

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In April, Chipotle upped their menu by making it 100 percent GMO-free. Chipotle, which is considered one of the healthier chains, does not stop there. They are currently working on a way to develop a new system of tortilla-making that will eliminate the need for artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts

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There’s a reason your powdered doughnuts are so tasty. Dunkin’ Donuts uses titanium dioxide, a whitening agent to give its powdery donuts a certain appearance. This chemical is used in everything from sunscreen to paint, so Dunkin’ Donuts announced it will no longer use it in its doughnuts.

McDonald’s

McDonald’s

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McDonald’s first improved its menu in 2011 by adding apples to their Happy Meals. Although McDonald’s has salads on its menu, the salads are made with iceberg lettuce, which does not have as many nutritional benefits as spinach or arugula. A report announced that McDonald’s plans to add kale to its salads, in addition to putting a kale smoothie on the new menu. McDonald’s also announced that their milk will no longer be from cows treated with artificial growth hormones. Since 2013, McDonald’s successfully removed soda from the kids menu, which caused a decrease in soda consumption.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

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Pizza Hut announced that by the end of 2015, it will no longer use artificial ingredients in its food. Pizza Hut’s big push was to first remove artificial colors and preservatives by the end of July. According to Marion Nestle, taking out artificial ingredients is a positive move because they are unnecessary in our food products.

Starbucks

Starbucks

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Starbucks continues to improve its menu with whole-grain, fruit, and vegetable-based food options in addition to their drinks. One of its most popular drinks when the weather starts to get cold is the pumpkin spiced latte, which used to contain artificial ingredients. This year, Starbucks recreated its famed PSL by changing the ingredients. Now, the holiday drink is made with real pumpkin and without caramel coloring.

Subway

Subway

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In 2014, Subway announced that it would no longer use the whitening agent and dough conditioner, azodicarbonamide in its bread. Even though this chemical improves the volume and texture of the bread, it is also used to make yoga mats.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell

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Similar to Pizza Hut, Taco Bell plans to say goodbye to artificial ingredients by the end of 2015. This covers everything from artificial flavors, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and palm oil.

Wendy’s

Wendy’s

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Although there are some calorie-loaded items on the menu, Wendy’s started making its menu items at a normal portion size and a reasonable cost in 2013. These "Right Price, Right Size" items” are low in fat and calories, but provide enough protein to keep you satisfied. Early this year, Wendy’s also removed soda from the kid’s menu. In addition, its menu would include "whole grain rolls, offer more fruit and vegetable options, reduce sodium across the menu, and drop Frostys from the children's menu."