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When it comes to quick, convenient and tasty drive-thru meal options that aren’t composed solely of meat and cheese well, in the past, there haven’t really been a whole lot of choices out there. We all know that eating fast food is not the best option for our health or for the planet, but when you’re in a pinch or have no other option – sometimes you just have to settle. Or at least sometimes you HAD to settle.

Increasingly, fast food chains that we know and “love,” are adding more healthy plant-based options to their menus. Wendy’s has begun to experiment with the wonderful world of plant-based dining by offering a new black bean burger in select restaurants. White Castle just announced a 100 percent plant-based burger and Amy’s Kitchen debuted a 95 percent organic vegetarian drive-thru restaurant, that boasts tons of vegan options!

And now, Taco Bell has stepped up to the challenge of helping their customers to enjoy a more healthy, meat-free dining experience, by becoming the first ever Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) to offer menu items certified by the American Vegetarian Association (AVA)! The newly certified menu includes thirteen ready-made meal options, as well as thirty-five à la carte ingredients. Twenty-six of these ingredients are vegan!

The majority of the ready-made options are not vegan, but can be made that way through customization. Some of the possibilities include: 7-Layer Burrito, Bean Burrito, Black Bean Burrito, Black Beans and Rice, and Cantina Power Veggie Bowl (umm, hello yum!).  This should leave the long-neglected plant-based eater with more than enough delicious options to play around with!

Responding to questions from Latest Vegan News, a Taco Bell spokesperson said, “We’re continuing our tradition of rolling out food-firsts as the first QSR to be certified by the AVA – something we’re extremely proud of. We know that our customers are more engaged and more curious about their food than ever before, wand with AVA certification – the recognized standard of vegetarian assurance – those looking for meat-free options can be confident in their choices.” When asked whether Taco Bell would be expanding on their vegan menu items in future, the spokesperson added, “As a leader in the vegetarian space, we will continue to explore other options.”

Seems like a complete 180 for the fast food space, but in reality, this change is happening in response to consumer demand. Americans are eating less meat and actively searching out plant-based protein options. While some may think this spells the end for drive-thrus and low-priced convenient food offerings, this news from Taco Bell shows that this is hardly the case.

In fact, this emerging trend is making more plant-based, healthy options available in a fast food setting which not only increases the accessibility for people on the go – but it shows that low-cost, healthy food is possible. This is incredibly important considering that many places in the U.S. are food deserts and unhealthy fast food chains are the only options some people have. By bringing more vegetable-based options to Taco Bell, more people will be able to make better choices for the sake of their health and the planet, every time they eat out.

So there you have it, Green Monsters! Next time you feel the urge to indulge in a fast-food treat, Taco Bell might well be your first port of call.

Lead Image Source: Fast Food Favorites Made With Whole, Plant-Based Foods

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