1. Healthy fast food at Chipotle
Burrito Bowl with steak, fajita vegetables, lettuce, and tomato salsa: 200 calories, 6 grams fat, 4 grams fiber, 22 grams protein
The beauty of Chipotle is that they have so many healthy fast food options. They make it so easy to create your own meal. To keep both calories and carbohydrates in check, skip the burritos and go for a burrito bowl. A steak burrito bowl with minimal toppings will still provide a balanced meal that keeps calories in check. However, beware of adding rice, guac, and cheese—these fat-laden options will make your calorie count soar. “Guacamole is an excellent heart-healthy fat source but can still add up in calories quickly,” says Kristen Smith, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “If you must go for the rice, choose the brown rice option and limit to a one-half cup serving.”
2. Healthy fast food at Burger King
Grilled chicken sandwich without mayo: 360 calories, 7 grams total fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 6 grams fiber, 36 grams protein
Contrary to popular belief, Burger King actually offers healthy fast food options that are non-burger entrees—and the grilled chicken sandwich is always a good alternative for healthy fare. However, nutritionists stress ordering this one without mayo. Maegan White, RD, urges omitting mayo and cheese to save calories and asking for salad dressing on the side. If you want to be even healthier, choose vinaigrettes in place of creamy dressings.
3. Healthy fast food at McDonald’s
Regular hamburger: 250 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram fiber, 13 grams protein
Sorry to all you cheese lovers out there, but an extra slice of cheese can make quite a difference in your calorie and fat intake. While the cheeseburger has 12 grams fat and 300 calories, eliminating the saturated fats from the cheese portion gives the burger 250 calories and only 8 grams fat in comparison. There’s not much to the classic hamburger, but with its nutrition stats, it’s guaranteed to fit into almost any calorie-controlled eating plan. Make sure to hold off on the sugary sauces and extra condiments. These are the healthiest things to eat at 25 fast food restaurants.
4. Healthy fast food at Subway
Veggie Delite: 200 calories, 2 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 9 grams protein
If you want something a little more substantial than a salad, Lanette Kovachi, Subway’s in-house dietician, recommends one of their 6″ Fresh Fit subs. All of them weigh in at less than 400 calories, are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and are free of artificial trans fats. “It’s a great source of fiber when made on nine-grain wheat bread and topped with all the fresh veggies,” she says. “It also has 20 percent of daily recommended iron and vitamin C.” At just 200 calories, the Veggie Delite is the lowest-calorie option and offers wiggle room for tasty toppings like honey mustard.
5. Healthy fast food at Chick-fil-A
Eight-count grilled chicken nuggets: 140 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 25 grams protein
Superfood side salad: 140 calories, 8 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 3 grams fiber, 4 grams protein
Chick-fil-A is one of the best fast food joints to visit if you are craving a quick and healthy dish. Their eight-piece chicken nugget meal holds enough protein to keep you full, and adding the side salad (featuring kale, broccolini, dried cherries, and nuts) will provide the necessary vitamins and nutrients to complete the meal. According to Amy Goodson, board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, “Grilled chicken will typically always have fewer calories and fat than its fried food counterpart. In addition, choosing a nutrient-rich side item like fruit, yogurt parfait, or salad will add nutrients and take away added fat that is found in the typical french fries side item.” Don’t miss out on 14 other nutritionist-approved eats you can find at Chick-fil-A and other fast food restaurants.
6. Healthy fast food at Arby’s
Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad: 230 calories, 13 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 22 grams protein
This one doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but it’s always a great choice if you want to as few calories as possible. While Arby’s may “have the meats,” their light and delectable salad option isn’t a bad idea either. Even with the greens, you’ll attain a solid dose of protein and fiber, all for less than 250 calories.
7. Healthy fast food at Wendy’s
Small chili: 170 calories, 5 grams fat, 4 grams fiber, 15 grams protein
Don’t underestimate the soup as one of the healthy fast food options on the menu; the small chili has 15 grams of high-quality protein and 4 grams of satiating fiber, all for less than 200 calories. Make this a complete meal by pairing it with a side salad. Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, recommends adding the chili right on top of the salad in place of the dressing and an easy way to increase veggie intake. That way, you’ll increase your potassium and get a boost of carbohydrates while you’re at it. Just make sure you don’t order these 9 foods from fast-food restaurants that nutritionists would never eat.
8. Healthy fast food at Taco Bell
Soft fresco taco with steak: 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams fiber, 10 grams protein
Janis Isaman, nutritional coach and owner of My Body Couture, deems Taco Bell as her favorite fast food chain for their high level of customization. “Thanks to the use of nutritional powerhouse beans and the inclusion of vegetables, these meals have a healthy dose of protein, taste delicious, and pack in a mountain of nutrients while keeping you full,” she says. Moreover, this place is concrete proof that chicken isn’t always the healthiest option on the menu. The steak version of the fresco soft tacos less fat and more protein than the chicken option. And for 150 calories per taco, don’t feel bad about splurging and ordering two.
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