Fresh goals and a fresh fast-food experiment

Hello my friends, and a very happy Tuesday going out to you and yours.

As you can gather from the disclaimer above, today we’re going to talk a little bit about a recent trip I made to Wendy’s for a delicious salad (thanks for supporting a sponsor that helps the lights stay on here at A Lady Goes West), and we’re also going to talk about some fresh goals.

I mean, it’s mid-April, and we’re well into spring. So I wonder, are you in need of a re-fresh too?

Here’s my story: I may write a healthy-living blog and work in fitness, but that doesn’t mean I have it all together when it comes to my health. Nope, not quite. In fact, over the past couple of months, positive changes in my life have actually brought about some negative consequences. Therefore, in the spirit of the spring season, I’m refocusing on a couple of small goals to “freshen” up my life …

A couple of fresh goals

  • Move more — go on a daily walk. True story, my life has changed now that I have a car and am no longer walking around the City of San Francisco on foot — every single day on hills — to get everywhere I need to be. I noticed it just a few weeks after we moved into our new place outside the City, that my steps have seriously decreased, and I’ve had to make a conscious effort to get them up to feel more active throughout the day. Before, I was walking more than 10,000 steps just to get places, but now I have to actively make myself do more walking during other times. Although I get nearly my daily allotment during my workouts, sitting all day and then getting in a car is not good, folks. I’ve preached about it before, and now I need to heed my own advice. From here on out, you’ll find me taking a daily walk, in addition to my sweat sessions.
  • Drink more — up the water intake. So the tap water in the City of San Francisco is the best tasting tap water you’ll ever come across. I had no problem downing it by the cup-load for the last two-and-a-half years. However, just a few minutes outside of the City, my water here in the East Bay is not quite as tasty — like not at all. I don’t know what it is, but I have to force myself to drink it (even the filtered version from the fridge), and that means I slack on water consumption. That needs to change. I find that I drink faster out of a straw, so I’m using a cup with a straw and forcing myself to finish a glass before every meal, with a few more in-between. Hydration is so important, and I’ve felt the effects of not drinking enough. But starting now, I’m making a commitment to turn this around.

While I love the newer and bigger place that Dave and I have moved into, it does mean I have to try harder in a few areas of my life to be at my best, because city living sure kept me on my toes. The ‘burb lifestyle is a little more comfortable, but with these two little tweaks to my routine, I’m hoping to feel back on the ball here very soon. And now …

A fast food experiment at Wendy’s

Throughout my move and life changes, something that I’ve still been very good about most days is healthy and fresh eating. While I love my weekend indulgences, I stick to a fairly clean diet during the week. So what does a fast-food joint like Wendy’s have to do with all of this? Well, my friends, in case you didn’t know, you can find some pretty healthy stuff at Wendy’s, if you make the right choices. And this past weekend, I did just that.

Let me preface this by saying, I grew up eating a ton of fast food, and perhaps that’s why I don’t crave it much now. If I want to eat something bad for me, it’s probably going to be a massive slice of cheesecake rather than a tub of fries. That being said, I also advise clients, class members (and myself) to eat or prepare the majority of meals at home, to be able to control the ingredients. Yet, when it comes to Wendy’s line of fresh and made-when-ordered salads, you have the ability to know exactly what you’re getting into, as well as to control the portions of some of the extra toppings.

On Saturday, after our respective workouts, Dave and I headed out to our local Wendy’s for lunch. Dave knew about this blog project for a couple of weeks and was incredibly excited at his chance to eat somewhere that we normally don’t go. Yes, he had his order, which was not a salad, planned out in advance and was super happy with his meal.

We popped in the bright restaurant, stood in line for a couple of minutes and then brought a tray over to a sunny table by the window, where we dined. Dave dug into his Spicy Chicken Sandwich, small fry and soda, while I admired my meal a bit …

Ashley at Wendy'sYes, somebody had to put down his sandwich to take this picture.

For this experiment, I was directed to order any of Wendy’s fresh salads. I ended up selecting the Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, a sweet and savory little number, which included the following yummy details:

  • Crisp red and green apples, hand-picked from Michigan and Washington orchards
  • Roasted pecans, seasoned with sea salt
  • Dried cranberries
  • Blue-cheese crumbles made with locally-sourced Wisconsin milk (oh how I love cheese)
  • Marzetti® Simply Dressed® Pomegranate Vinaigrette
  • Topped with 100% premium, all-white meat chicken breast, hand-chopped in Wendy’s kitchens and served warm (mmmm yes, delicious)

Sounds good, right?

My favorite part about the salad was definitely the warm chicken, which is grilled right when you order it. It was incredibly moist and tender, and there was a lot of it on there.

And as you can see below, the dressing and nuts come on the side, so you can control the amount you use of each, to save on a few extra calories.

Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

Topping the Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken SaladYour choice on how much dressing you use, as two packets are provided with your salad.

Of course, I loaded it all on there and tried to get a little bit of everything in each bite. With everything all included, the full-sized Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad has just under 600 calories and nearly 40 grams of protein — which are stats I can definitely support for a hearty mid-day meal.

And I will say, it was one darn good salad. I was full and totally pleased after I licked the bowl clean. It felt good to eat a meal full of lean meat, greens, fruit and healthy fats, that I didn’t have to make at home myself, nor spend a small-fortune on at a sit-down restaurant. Not to mention, Wendy’s has these cool beverage dispensers, and you can get sparkling Dasani water as an option. I just so happen to love me some sparkling water and was very excited about that discovery.

This little experiment goes to show that you don’t have to go to a vegan, co-op, local, gluten-free, juice shop to find something fresh and healthy to eat on-the-go. In fact, you can just go through the drive-through (or dine in, as we chose to do) at Wendy’s for a really good salad. Who would’ve thought?

Wendy’s has a commitment to fresh

Did you know that Wendy’s restaurants have been around for more than 45 years? Well they have, and the company has always been committed to using fresh ingredients, which is why you’ll find Wendy’s employees chopping up the ingredients for use in the salads every day on the spot, rather than relying on pre-packaged or frozen produce like many other chains.

If you’re wondering what goes into making the fresh salads at Wendy’s every day, just check out this short video they’ve created, “How We Make Our Salads.”

Ashley eating Wendy's saladI pretty much always smile when I eat, because I love food, but the shot above shows that this fresh and tasty salad was a-okay in my book. 

Wendy’s came through for us, and if you’re in a pinch for time or just need to grab a quick and healthy meal from the car, head on over your local restaurant and grab a fresh salad. 

A goal re-fresh and some fresh food, I think that’s about all I’ve got for you today, folks. Come on back tomorrow for some more talk about eating and my weekly “What I Ate Wednesday” food and drink recap diary. Have a good one!

Disclaimer: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Questions of the day

Do you have any goals you need to re-fresh for the spring?

What’s your favorite salad topping?

Dine in or drive through?

Ashley signature



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    1. Hi Stacie! Yes, or a stand-up desk? In which you have to keep jostling around when standing? hehehe. Oh man, it’s tough when you’re glued to the computer. Take a walk every hour! You have my permission:) heheh

  1. Hi Ashley! Have you tried adding fruit or anything to your water? I try to drink a lot every day, and when I don’t feel like it I’ll add some strawberry and mint, or cucumbers. I have a ton of varieties I try and it always does the trick 🙂

    1. Hi Gretchen! Yes! I used to be so much better about adding cucumber to my water, and I need to get back to that. Mint? That’s a good one too! 🙂 Thanks!

  2. I love the apple pecan salad from Wendy’s. I was pretty excited when I discovered it a few years ago. Sometimes when you’re in a rush or travelling fast food is one of the only options so it’s nice to know that I have a fall back salad that I can order while my hubby can order a burger.

    I make a similar salad at home so now you’ve got me craving it. Guess I’ll have to make one this week for lunch 🙂

    1. Hi Catherine! So true! It’s a really tasty salad, and of course, the husbands are happy getting whatever they can off the menu, right? 🙂 hehehe Yes, I bet it would be easy to make a similar version at home when you have the time and ingredients. Sending a big happy Tuesday to you, my friend. Hope you’re doing well! 🙂

  3. We don’t do much fast food around here, but there’s always moments that we’re in a pinch and need something quick (and preferrably on the healthier side). I usually resort to Subway or Chipotle, but Wendy’s has made it in there every once in awhile too, and I agree – their salads are pretty darn good! Much better than some of the other major fast food salads I’ve tried.

    1. Hi Ash — Yes, I’d totally agree! Definitely fresher than some of the others. And there’s nothing wrong with picking up fast-ish food every once in a while. 🙂 Happy Tuesday!

  4. I’m trying really hard to work out every day, since it does such wonders for my mood and energy.

    I stopped at Wendy’s for lunch a couple weeks ago and am pretty impressed with their salad selections!

    1. Hi Emily! Working out is so good for the mood – but always get a rest day in each week, I hope! 🙂 Yay for convenient salads! Happy Tuesday to you!

  5. This was a cool post, interesting to hear how you made fast food work! I am so happy that Burger King, McDonalds, and Wendy’s offer salads now. With all my work travel, I’ve been the master at eating clean creatively in any situation, but it’s nice not to have to perform gymnastics with substitutions to make it work!

    xx Jill

    1. Hi Jill! hahah so true — we don’t want to have to do gymnastics with substitutions. And I totally enjoyed my Wendy’s salad. Happy Tuesday to ya! 🙂

    1. Hi Megan, I know! It’s good that you don’t have to go somewhere super expensive to find healthy foods. Happy Tuesday! Hope all is well overseas:)

  6. I feel like you can find something relatively healthy to eat at ANY fast food place… You just have to order accordingly. Of course the meat is tainted with weird ingredients but grilled chicken is FAR BETTER than fried ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!

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