By Alex Zakrzewski, Online Editor
IHOP: Turkey Bacon Omelet with Fresh Fruit
With over 1,500 locations across North America, IHOP is a favorite among travelers looking for a quick, familiar and incredibly varied breakfast menu. Their turkey bacon omelet offers a generous 38 grams of protein that your body sorely needs in the morning to help stave off nighttime catabolism. A complement of fresh fruit will further provide some much needed vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps to reinforce your immune system and aid in fat burning. While packing a surprisingly modest 420 calories, the turkey bacon omelet also comes with 20 grams of fat, almost half of which is of the unhealthy saturated variety.
Subway: 6-inch Oven Roasted Chicken Sub
Subway has made a name for itself among health and fitness enthusiasts thanks to its low fat meal choices. A 6-inch oven roasted chicken sub packs a respectable 5 grams of fat while providing 23 grams of muscle-building protein. It also contains 30% of your recommended daily value of both vitamin C and calcium. Opting for the footlong will of course double these nutritional values but it will also mean double the fat and calories (320 per 6-inch sub). Keep in mind that going crazy with the condiments and dressings will also significantly increase the fat and calorie content.
Starbucks: Chocolate Smoothie (non-fat milk)
Those in need of a quick protein fix need look no further than the world’s most famous coffee house. While the designer coffee drinks (lattes, cappuccinos, frappuccinos) are packed with unneeded fats and calories with little to no nutritional benefit, a non-fat chocolate smoothie offers 20 grams of protein. After a workout your body is starving for both protein and fast-digesting sugars in order to fuel the muscle-building process. This smoothie provides both in generous quantities and for an extra buck or two the barista will add another scoop of protein.
Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen: Naked Chicken Tenders (3 pcs)
Three naked chicken tenders will give you 26 grams of protein with only 2 grams of fat (none of it trans or saturated) for a total of 170 calories. If you’re absolutely set on a dipping sauce, choose either the cocktail or barbecue selections as both contain 0 grams of fat and only 30 and 45 calories respectively. Just remember that put together the sauces and tenders account for roughly two-thirds of your recommended daily intake of sodium!
Wendy’s: Ultimate Chicken Grill
At Wendy’s you can eat great even after a workout – especially if you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks and be a little creative. The ultimate chicken grill provides 31 grams of protein while packing 10 grams of fat and 380 calories. You can easily double the muscle-building value of this sandwich by buying two, tossing away the bun from the second and essentially making yourself a double-decker chicken sandwich. Declining any processed cheese, bacon strips and condiments will also ensure that you double your protein value while negligibly increasing your fat and calorie content. Be sure to keep the lettuce and tomato as both are good sources of dietary fibers.