Can you watch your weight at Wawa...and other fast food joints?
There is no place quite like Wawa. Originally a milk plant company based out of, you guessed it, Wawa, Pennsylvania, this food funhouse has evolved into a must-stop shop for east coasters.
Popular for its convenience, fast service (unless you’re stuck behind the one guy on earth who’s never used a computerized ordering system before) and fatty Philly favorites like hefty hoagies, soft pretzels and family-size bags of bloating Herr’s potato chips. It’s no wonder Philadelphians were crowned the portliest porkers in the US by Men’s Fitness magazine in 1999, and within the top 100 since.
Regardless of our rotund reputation, healthy eating has become super trendy, motivating most of us to stay fit, not fat. So is it possible to still enjoy a local favorite chain like Wawa without tipping the scale?
The good news is, all restaurants, even fast food chains, have healthy options - you just need to know where to find them!
Here is your guide to getting a healthy helping at Wawa:
Rule #1: Avoid sugary sips. Sure that soda looks mighty refreshing, but did you know that one bottle of bubbly cola is caloric suicide? Artificial flavors, sugar and even sugar-free substitutes like aspartame found in diet sodas, cause disease-related inflammation in the body. Always opt for water, seltzer or flavored water. If you’re going for a gallon of coffee, limit those mocha frappa lappa bullshit flavored creamers. A generous pour of creamer can be as calorically catastrophic to the body as chowing down on a candy bar.
Rule #2: Moderation. Balance is the key to life, and that includes our eating habits. Hoagies, or sandwiches if you’re reading this from anywhere outside of the east coast, are bloating because they are stacked high with button bursting ingredients. Doughy bread, mountains of mayonnaise, processed meat, cholesterol-filled cheese - but at least it has a few tomato slices and lettuce right? For a healthy lifestyle to be successful moderation is a must. Don’t eliminate sandwiches from your menu entirely, instead choose the smallest option like a 4 inch Junior hoagie. When possible, always avoid cheese slices. Also, if you don’t mind dodging a few dirty looks, ask the sandwich builder behind the counter to scoop out the extra dough. Oh, and one more thing, wraps are not a healthier alternative to hoagies - sorry, Charlie.
And of course, there is always salad. If you are brave and disciplined enough to enter a Wawa and avoid ordering a delicious sandwich, kudos to you! Just remember to nix that dressing, cheese and dried fruit, loading up on veggies instead.
Always practice safe sauce by using your condiments wisely. Pass on sugary ketchup and your heart’s mortal enemy mayo, picking healthier options like spicy or regular mustard.
As far as deli meat goes, oven roasted turkey, light ham, low-sodium chicken breast and mayo-free tuna are the top picks. Though many stores already have tuna and mayo pre-mixed and pre-made.
Rule #3: Choose Chips Wisely. If you’re going to grab a bag of chips, look for the ones with the least amount of ingredients, lowest calories and sodium. I like to look for a bag that has the biggest bang for your belly, too. Cape Cod Reduced-Fat Kettle Chips allow for 23 chips at 130 calories, which is drastically better than other brands which offer around 13 chips at 150 calories. Pop Chips are another excellent choice since they are baked, not fried.
As long as you’re a smart snacker, Wawa is a wonderful one-stop-shop.