Panera (not exactly fast food) had two salads I LOVED, and they changed both formulas. The Asian chicken salad is now full of high-calorie cashews and has a funky dressing I didn't like and mandarin oranges which I REALLY don't want in a salad. The shaved parmesan in the Caesar was replaced by that nasty dry powdered stuff that comes in a green shaker. I used to eat there 3 times a week as there was one close to work, but that's been a year ago.
So I've not had a salad out for a while.
Potbelly logo shamelessly stolen from the internet so you all will recognize that THIS is the place to eat lunch.
But now that I have had to ditch gluten (or face the gastric consequences), I had to get something today at my favorite Sandwich place -
that was gluten free. I found Potbellys when I was an airline pilot. They had one in the terminal at Midway, and you've never seen two pilots RUN so fast to grab a couple of those hot babies when you had a 30-minute turn (I generally could outrun the co-pilot). It's against regulations to eat while the airplane is under movement, so after a few years of that, I probably could have won a food eating contest with all the practice getting them scarfed down before "Turning Number 2" but it was SO worth it.
But no more sandwiches for me. (though I have a plan to try to craft a gluten free french bread this weekend to make my own).
I DO have a new favorite salad.
It was the Potbelly Chicken Salad Salad (they also have two yummy vegetarian salads for my readers I know are vegetarian, in addition to other salads). It had fresh chicken salad with mayo and celery on top of a ton of romaine and iceberg (but mostly the healthier romaine) topped with dried cranberries and just a bit of fresh shaved Provolone, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I took the tomatoes off (I don't like tomatoes raw) but I asked and found out they make the salads to order - so I can leave them off next time as I did the croutons.
It was SO good, served with their Potbelly Vinaigrette (gluten free and lower in calories than most Vinaigrettes and it tasted freshly made), and using just half of the generous serving of the dressing it was less than 600 calories for a lunch that filled me up the rest of the day (seriously, I could have eaten half and saved the rest for lunch tomorrow). I was still so full that dinner was just an apple and a glass of white wine (to get in two more fruit servings for the day :-)
Potbelly's has locations in 39 states, including Utah, Washington, Illinois, and Indiana, so there is likely one near my readers here. If you like sandwiches, they have some "skinny" sandwiches that use less thick bread to make a really tasty hot toasted sandwich (including an incredible mushroom/cheese one) for less than 400 calories and you can pair one of those with a frozen yogurt/fruit smoothie if you want to splurge a little.
And if you are not gluten sensitive - seriously - get their chocolate brownie cookie. You will thank me or leave me in your Will.