'Eating healthy doesn't have to mean punishment'

PORTLAND, Ore. - Even when we are exercising and trying to eat healthy, the drive-through beckons us.

Carlene Jackson knows the problem well. For years, she worked as deputy director for the state's employment department and found that dieting was nearly impossible with her busy schedule.

"I couldn't certainly take a brown bag into a meeting and you didn't have time to go and get something healthy," she said.

"And whenever I was trying to watch my diet or watch what I was eating or try to eat healthier and stay healthy, I could do it at home," she added. "I was fine at home but the minute I got to work, I lost that control."

Jackson said she had always wished there was a healthy fast food joint just around the corner and once she retired, she decided to open one up.

Jackon's Lite-N-Tasty on Southwest 4th Avenue in downtown Portland serves up burgers, fries and shakes with less fat, sodium and calories than your average fast food joint.

We stopped by recently to try out the place.

Chef Ron Mitchell made us a burger, fries and milkshake combo that totaled just 600 to 650 calories.

How did he do that?

The burger was very lean and hormone free, the cheese was low fat and the bun was made fresh.

Then there were the 'un-fries' - baked crispy instead of deep fried. And in lieu of salt, a special mixture of herbs was used to give them a nice flavor.

And finally, the milkshake was made with low-fat ice cream and low-fat milk.

"Eating healthy doesn't have to mean punishment," said Jackson, who wants to show people that eating on the run doesn't have to be unhealthy.

"I feel like I have a tiger by the tail at this point," she said. "So I'm riding it through. I feel like I can do it and we'll make it and do fine."