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Fast Food goes healthy

March 21st, 2013

t sounds, these may soon be the choices you see in chain restaurants around the country.

Recently, various fast food chains have introduced both vegetarian and vegan options to their menus. Chipotle has begun to offer tofu at a few of their San Francisco locations. Although they won’t release specific data, it appears the feedback to the new option has been positive.

Chipotle’s tofu-stuffed burritos, called “sofritas,” have received praise not only from vegetarians but from so-called carnivores as well. What was originally targeted toward those with dietary restrictions seem to be appealing to a wider range of consumers.

Even McDonald’s appears to be embracing the health-food trend. Starting in April, the fast food chain will add egg-white McMuffins to their breakfast menu. McDonald’s Chief Executive Don Thompson said, “We think we do have a menu that is fairly balanced; we can continue to do more, and we will.”

Also adding healthier items to its kitchen is California Pizza Kitchen. CPK is now serving Brussels sprouts-topped pizza as well as a salad with roasted beets.

Along with well-known national chains, smaller restaurants may start offering healthy fast food. Roushan Christofellis, a resident of Arizona, opened a drive-thru called “Salad and Go” this past February. Christofellis and her husband were motivated to start a restaurant that offered healthy food after witnessing their own parents’ health struggles.

Their restaurant joins the ranks of pre-existing healthy fast food places such as Saladworks and Pita Pit. These changes to stereotypically unhealthy fast food restaurants could prove to be beneficial for both the chains and the consumers.

In theory, the chains will make more profit by appealing to a larger population of customers. Vegans and vegetarians will benefit from more restaurants providing options that match their limited diets. Meat-eaters will have even more selections to choose from.

If this trend continues, healthy food could become easily accessible even to those with busy schedules that only allow for a quick stop at a drive-thru. As Christofellis says, “Food matters.”

Information in this article was taken from The East Valley Tribune, Yahoo! and NASDAQ.