Fast Food = Real Food? We're Getting There.

May 17, 2015


When you’re a dancer, running from school to class to rehearsal to performance means you might very well be eating three meals away from home. And it takes a lot of time—and a lot of Tupperware—to constantly eat home-cooked meals on the go.

It’s a big struggle to eat healthy while eating out. But we’re slowly on our way to being able to find “real food” on roadsides everywhere. Last month, Chipotle announced that all of its stores are now GMO-free. And while that doesn’t necessarily keep you from packing on the calories—those who are weight-conscious probably want to get a burrito bowl, choose brown rice and stay away from all the dairy—it will help you eat clean ingredients that haven’t been touched by quite as many food scientists. (In food speak, GMOs are DNA-altered crops, usually changed so they can withstand drought, pesticides, temperature resistence, and more. And like most big health trends, GMOs are controversial. Many believe that they are bad for consumers and the environment, while plenty of scientists say they’re perfectly harmless.)

Here are five chains where you can make real food choices. We’re not saying that if you eat at one of these places you’re guaranteed a healthy meal. But sometimes, you just gotta pick the lesser of all the evils.


 is now GMO-free—even the corn, which is typically a big offender. And this year the company launched sofritas, a tofu option for those of us not so enthusiastic about meat.

 has long been touted the healthy option for fast food diners. Last week, it announced that it will remove all artificial ingredients by 2016.




Pret a Manger
 is known for being an all-organic option and all food is prepared every morning in-house.

Whole Foods
 is free of high fructose corn syrup and aspartame, plus at least 75 other chemicals. Still, many products there contain GMOs, which are fairly unavoidable if you’re shopping in the middle of the store, where all the packaged foods are.

Noodles and Company
 uses hormone- and antibiotic-free meats.