Healthy spots to eat range from obvious to unexpected

John Hult

John Hult

The munchies can be a bitch. Especially if you’re even remotely concerned about what’s in your food.

In our culture of over-packaged, over-processed, big corporate food, the health-marketing gurus are convinced that people buy big grabs of potato chips and only eat ten chips. “About ten chips” is about a handful. “About ten chips” usually equals between 10-15 grams of fat and between 110-180 calories. “About ten chips” is about a half or a third of what most of us end up eating.

At least store-bought, packaged food tells you what you’re getting. Restaurants are a different story. Restaurants in the U.S. aren’t required to tell you anything about what’s in the brown paper sack or what’s on the stylish glassware. Most fast food restaurants keep their information posted or at least let you take a look at a nutrition information chart before you order. Burger King, for example, posts its info on a poster just behind the counter-kid. It’s tough to see, but it is there.

Most restaurants in Brookings can’t tell you much about the caloric and fat content of their products. Ask for nutritional information at Bagel Works. Chances are you’ll get a list of ingredients and a smile. For health-conscious hungry students, however, there are a few restaurants willing to help you out.


This is the big one just about anywhere. Subway’s selling point as a national franchise is its healthfulness, so this is no surprise. Jared the Subway porpoise touts the store’s “7 Sandwiches with 6 Grams of Fat or Less” catchphrase on television, in radio spots and in magazines. Jared’s story is featured in the health info brochure at the cash register of both Subway stores in Brookings, along with a complete chart of nutritional info on sandwiches, healthy eating tips and tips on how to get the most out of exercise.

It’s almost too much, actually. Those seven skinny sandwiches are listed on the napkins and the soda cups, for god’s sake.

Burger King

Who would’ve guessed this one? Of all the fast food restaurants in Brookings, though, Burger King is the most open with the info and offers the largest number of healthy choices. The info is available if you ask for it, and it is posted (even if it takes a strain to see it).

Burger King also offers the option of a “healthy” value meal. This means instead of fries and a soda, you get salad and a bottle of purified water. Some of BK’s baguette sandwiches have less than ten grams of fat, and they offer a veggie burger made of soy and various veggies.

And the winner is:

Mad Jack’s

Mad Jack’s is easily the best place to go if you’re watching the calorie intake. Even though they’re not required to by governmental or corporate directive, the folks at Mad Jack’s offer the nutritional information for all of their menu items in brochure form on the counter. Beyond the nutrition info, Mad Jack’s has another brochure which details the number of Weight Watcher’s points