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Eating Healthier at Fast Food and Chain Restaurants

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The Health of It All

Eating Healthier at Fast Food Restaurants : Noodles & Company

Noodles and Company Logo

Noodles and Company is one of those fast casual restaurants that you will find across the country, mostly in suburbs and many of them in small or medium sized strip shopping centers. They have a modern feel and their marketing materials claim that they use only fresh ingredients and a lot of veggies along with their noodles.

You can build a bowl of noodles almost any way you want, and they have specials at different restaurants. Recently, they have introduced spiralized zucchini noodles instead of rice or wheat noodles as an option, saving you some calories but also ramping up your vegetable options.

They have one of the better calorie and nutrition calculators that can help you build a dish that is just right.

https://noodles.mymenuhd.com/Restaurant

Sadly, it will return very few choices if you select a reasonable meal of no more than 500 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, 600 milligrams of sodium and less than 20 grams of sugar. Much of this is because of the sodium content, which is quite high – often well over 1,000 milligrams in a serving. For example, they offer this information on their limited reasonable sodium offerings:

We know sodium is an important issue, and we're working to reduce it in dishes where it doesn't change the overall flavor. These small dishes have 460mg of sodium or less:

small Penne Rosa
small Pasta Cavatappi
small Spaghetti
small Caesar Salad

As with a lot of fast casual restaurants, they have a number of dishes with outrageous amounts of added salt. For example, the Buffalo Chicken Mac (not on our list) comes in at 1,980 milligrams of sodium – for the small version!

Below is a list of the meals that are on offer at most of their restaurants. Note that the first thing you should do is order a small version unless you are splitting the dish with someone else. This is not just because of the amount of calories, but also the added salt. All in all, for a fast casual restaurant there are actually some reasonable choices.

I have eaten in their restaurants in the past when I was traveling, and they have been consistently fresh and tasty. The key is to check the nutrition facts before ordering.

  Calories Fat
grams
Sodium
mg
Fiber
grams
NOODLES & PASTA REG SM REG SM REG SM REG SM
Penne Rosa with parmesan 720 360 25 13 820 440 5 3
Penne Rosa with feta 720 360 25 13 820 440 5  
Pesto Cavatappi with parmesan 750 380 32 16 870 440 6 3
Pesto Cavatappi with feta 750 380 32 16 870 440 6 3
Spaghetti 620 310 17 9 810 400 3 2
Thai Green Curry 770 390 23 11 1530 760 6 3
SOUPS & SALADS
Grilled Chicken Caesar 390 240 24 13 990 630 2 1
Caesar Salad 300 150 22 11 720 360 2 1
Chicken Veracruz Salad 630 360 49 26 1170 770 6 3
The Med Salad 280 140 13 6 1150 580 3 2
EXTRAS
Side Wisconsin Mac & Cheese 270 12 550 1
Green Side Salad w/Balsamic 60 6 120 1
Green Side Salad w/Med 30 1.5 220 1
 Green Side Salad w/Jalapeño Ranch 110 11 270 1
Tossed Green Side Salad w/Caesar 90 8 160 1
Side Caesar Salad 80 6 180 1
Side Thai Chicken Soup 120 7 550 0
Side Tomato Basil Bisque 140 9 480 1
Side Chicken Noodle Soup 110 3 770 0

Kids Menu

  Calories Fat
grams
Sodium
mg
Dietary Fiber
grams
Chicken Breast w/ Dipping Marinara 110 3 370 0
Broccoli 15 0 15 1
Applesauce 60 0 0 1
Pineapple 45 0 10 1