Not all the chains we looked at got into our ‘best’ list, but most do have some better choices available.
Here’s the best of the rest
KFC's Original Fillet Salad (with dressing) that only has two teaspoons of fat — but it packs in the salt: over 40% of the daily maximum. KFC is also trialling a new product called Boneless Chicken, a coated chicken fillet product using breast, thigh and drum fillets that has less than half the fat of a serve of Original Recipe chicken.
SUBWAY has eight subs on offer with no more than six grams of fat (a little over a teaspoon or less). No SUBWAY lower-fat offering made it into our worst list, and one made the best list. The other seven missed out because they have about 30% or more of the maximum recommended salt for a day in one sub. Take care when ordering other subs or wraps on its menu — many have one or even one-and-a-half tablespoons of fat, and plenty of salt too.
Here’s a fast-food giant that’s really been trying to reinvent itself and deflect criticism about the nutritional quality of its food. All the items on the Salads Plus menu are a better choice than a Big Mac — they have less than two teaspoons of fat per serve, but all but one missed our best list because of the salt content. But watch out for some of the new healthy-sounding Deli Choices. Most have salad ingredients, but they’re not necessarily lower in fat or salt — a few made it into our worst list. McDONALD’S new warm salad range — Crispy Cut and Herb Fusion salads — aren’t part of the Salads Plus range. Herb Fusion is low in fat — less than one teaspoon — but it’s still high in salt. And Crispy Cut made it into our worst list when teamed with the higher-fat Spicy Avocado Dressing.
What can you say about a chain that tells us its baguettes are its healthy option, but manages to cram seven teaspoons of fat and nearly 60% of the daily salt limit into its Country Chicken Baguette? All is not completely lost, however. HUNGRY JACK’S Steak Sandwich Baguette and Spicy Chicken Baguette would have made it into our best list if it weren’t for the large whack of salt they provide. With only two teaspoons of fat, both are a better choice than a Whopper.
A pie shop with pies that the National Heart Foundation will tick? Yes, though only one sweet and three savoury pies (listed in the table) make the grade, so don’t assume all their pies get the tick. However, the ticked pies are not all that magically different gram for gram from some of the other pies on the menu — they’re just smaller (175 g vs 200 g).
PURE & NATURAL
This is a chain with a healthy image — its catch-cry is “fast fresh 100% healthy food”. In general most of the offerings we looked at were better than average, and all but the Chicken Satay Filo were heading for the best but the salt content knocked most of them out.
HEALTHY HABITS claims to be “a cut above the rest”, and given how big their wraps and rolls are (400–500 g), it’s impressive that all those we looked at just barely topped the two-teaspoons-of-fat mark. What kept most of them off our best list was the salt content: one teaspoon of fat in a huge roll is impressive, but when it comes with 40% or even 60% of the maximum recommended daily salt, not so good.
With its funky packaging, complete with New-York-style Chinese takeaway containers and chopsticks, you feel cool and healthy just buying something from SUMO SALAD. Five of its offerings made it into our best list, but the two wraps only get there if you buy the smaller half-serve size, and the salads only with the small dressing option. More of the salads and wraps would have made it in if it weren’t for the salt content, although a couple are pretty heavy on the fat and one made it into the worst list for that reason. They’re packed with vegies, though, and that’s a good thing.