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Business Travelers: Avoid Fast Food Traps with Smart Choices

Eating fast food is inevitable if you are a frequent traveler. Fortunately, restauranteurs have responded with better choices, if you know what to look for. Our article provides hints and tips for making smart selections when you place your next order.

Over the last dozen years, restaurateurs have opened many great alternatives to the usual burger and fries joint. But don't let the seemingly healthy menus of these newcomers trick you into thinking that it's all good for you. Many of their items provide a taste alternative to burgers, but aren't any better on the nutrition scale. Armed with our examples and alternatives, you can still enjoy these establishments and make healthier choices.

One of the best sandwich choices that you can make at Panera is the Smoked Turkey Breast on Sourdough: 430 calories, 14g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 44g carbs, 29g protein). You can reduce it further by skipping the mayo. Contrast the turkey sandwich with Panera's Tuna Salad on Artisan Multigrain: 810 calories, 42g fat, 6g saturated fat, 75g carbs, and 31g protein. Lesson learned: Skip mayo-based salads and spreads, unless they are specifically designated as low-fat.

Au Bon Pain
Au Bon Pain has a number of great salad options. Your best bet is the Thai Chicken salad: 16g protein with only 140 calories and 2.5g fat. All of Au Bon Pain salad's are fairly reasonable (the Tuna Garden Salad is the most caloric with 400 calories and 24g of fat), but watch out for the salad dressings. Pour on the Blue Cheese dressing and you'll add 370 calories and 39g of fat. A much better choice: the Fat-free Raspberry Vinaigrette which is only 80 calories and zero grams of fat.

Note that we're not trying to single out these two establishments; they have many good menu items. We selected them because of their prevalence and popularity. These are a just a few examples of the many options-both good and bad-that you'll find in your travels. Choose wisely and you can avoid the fast food trap.

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Karen is the owner and founder of Healthy Travel Network (, the only company focused exclusively on helping business travelers stay fit. Healthy Travel Network provides portable fitness equipment, diet and nutrition tips, and exercise guides for business travelers. Free newsletter, free hotel gym listings, and other tools for keeping business travelers fit.

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