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Historically, one of the primary misconceptions of eating plant-based in the western world is cost. Some believe it to be difficult to ensure you are eating well without burning through your bank account, since non-meat sources of protein are perceived to be expensive. However, our market is shifting towards plant-based proteins, which is making non-meat meals cheaper than ever before. Fast food chains are offering an increasing number of vegan and vegetarian options at low prices, making more environmentally friendly and humane diets accessible to a greater population. Because of these new options, those with limited access to plant-based alternatives are able to make more conscious food choices, a small step towards equity within the food system. Although there is still much progress to make, the following dining options around the nation combat the sometimes overwhelming issue of cost for plant-based meals.
The FFAC community has commented on their favorite fast food orders from all over the country and is excited to share their suggestions with vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, and all of the in-between eaters!
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Chipotle’s Sofritas Bowl: The Chipotle Sofritas option seems to be a fan favorite amongst the FFAC crew. Sofritas is a plant-based protein adding up to 150 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates, and 5 grams of sugar per serving. Key ingredients include bell pepper, onion, soy beans, tomato paste, and chipotle chili. By pairing the $6.50 sofritas protein bowl with lettuce, your choice of beans, rice, salsa, and other ingredients, a beautiful vegan Chiptole bowl is created with loads of flavor and protein.
Del Taco’s Beyond Avocado Tacos: Del Taco has at least four vegan and vegetarian options that are presented without a necessary alteration to the recipes. Although, FFAC members argue that the New Beyond Guacamole Taco is the way to go. Per serving, the Beyond Avocado Taco has 240 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein. The main ingredients for these yummy $2.59 tacos are the taco shells made of mostly flour and vegetable oil, seasoned Beyond Meat, lettuce, avocados, and tomatoes. And if tacos aren’t your thing, Del Taco has tasty bean-based burritos and burrito bowls.
Taco Bell’s Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme: Taco Bell tends to be a go-to muchie regardless of where you live, and there are ways to get a good meal while still eating vegetarian at this popular food chain. The Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme is a prime example of this, with its main ingredient being black beans, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. You can remove the dairy products for a fully vegan meal, or add ingredients like rice, onion and jalapeno peppers. This 520 calorie meal is selling for $3.89, and sits amongst other vegetarian and potentially vegan meals like the veggie Power Menu Bowl on the Taco Bell menu.
Burger King’s Impossible Whopper and French Toast Sticks: Burger King is one of the most well-known fast food joints across the nation, and the company has recently embraced the plant-based lifestyle. Burger King now sells a $5.59 Impossible Meat burger, topped with onions, pickles, lettuce, mayo, tomatoes, and ketchup. This burger is 628 calories, 11.8 grams of sugar, and 25.3 grams of protein. Although it is technically meat-free, one has to request for their burger be prepared in a separate broiler without other meat products. Additionally, the very sugary French Toast Sticks at Burger King are indeed a vegan snack. The 227.4 calorie tasty treat is bought by the threes and at a starting rate of $1.99. Burger King also has a few snacks that are vegetarian, like the french fries, onion rings, oatmeal, and hashbrowns.
The healthiness of these fast food options are not always optimal, but they are cheap options for people on a budget who want to eat more consciously. Furthermore, with a changing market and growing plant-based eating population, the selection of sustainable food choices is likely to grow even more with time.
Paige Millham is an FFAC Intern.