Everybody cheats on their meal plan. But what if you could eat fast food and not damage your diet? Here’s your guide to the best foods to eat from your local fast food joint.
We live in a fast-paced world in which we find ourselves resorting to fast food on a frequent basis. In most of America, we use cars to get around and drive-thrus are our savior to picking up food between errands, on lunch, and on the go. In many ways, fast food seems to allow us to do more by providing a quick way to get meals. But we all know that eating fast food does not make for a healthy lifestyle and often ask how to stop eating fast food. The choices we make when we eat are critical. Here’s a list of the 10 best fast foods you can choose without feeling guilty!
Countdown to 10 Healthy Fast Food Options…
#1 Subway Sandwich
A 6” sub on wheat with turkey, veggies and no cheese or mayo will provide an excellent fast food meal option. Choose apples peels instead of chips and water instead of soda and you’ve got a nutritious and delicious meal in front of you! Plus, this meal sits at under 300 calories – a steal for all the protein, iron, and healthy goodies! Of course, you have to actually put veggies on your sandwich to make it a healthy choice.
Turkey is undoubtedly one of the leanest meat options on the market, giving you ample protein while bringing in minimal cholesterol and fat. Luckily, since there are several vegetable options, you can switch it up to give yourself new sandwich options. If you find yourself craving something other than turkey, it’s all right to switch the protein. Just remember what each does and doesn’t do for you! And remember to chow down on protein and veggies after a workout to build muscles.
The table below showcases nutritional data. The last row is Subway’s overall nutritional data for a 6” Turkey Sub. Most of the veggies, however, listed zero for all of the columns and didn’t need to be put on the table. The veggies that are listed display their sodium counts, with the highest being pickles. Essentially, this lets you know that you can load up your sandwich with vegetables. Choose according to what the veggies do for you and what your taste buds prefer. It’d also be wiser to go for spinach over lettuce as spinach can offer you a lot more!
|CALORIES||TOTAL FAT (g)||CHOLEST. (mg)||SODIUM (mg)||PROTEIN (g)||FIBER (g)||SUGARS (g)||CARBS (g)|
|3 BANANA PEPPER RINGS||0||0||0||20||0||0||0||0|
|3 JALAPENO PEPPER RINGS||0||0||0||70||0||0||0||0|
|3 OLIVE RINGS||0||0||0||25||0||0||0||0|
|3 PICKLE CHIPS||0||0||0||115||0||0||0||0|
|1 PACK APPLE SLICES||35||0||0||0||0||2||7||9|
|6” TURKEY BREAST SANDWICH||280||3.5||20||670||18||5||7||46|
#2 Panda Express String Bean Chicken Breast
Panda Express has started a “wok smart” selection of foods to groove into the healthy eating movement striking America. In this group is their String Bean Chicken Breast, similar to the healthy chicken stir fry recipe.
Mixing in the greens with your chicken is an excellent way to add nutrition to your protein. This option at Panda is a mere 190 calories and has 9g of fat, 34mg of cholesterol, 13g of carbs, 4g of fiber, 4g of sugar and 14g of protein.
Like with most fast food, the sodium count is the whopper and this option has 590mg. But, this is definitely on the low side when it comes to fast food. Another decent Panda Express option is the mushroom chicken as it includes mushrooms and zucchini to balance out your meal.
#3 Dunkin’ Donuts Egg White Veggie Flatbread
If you’re living in a world where you can’t give up coffee and you need to make those morning trips to Dunkin’ Donuts, opt out of the donut and grab a flatbread!
These egg whites are mixed with some chopped veggies to give you a healthy start to your day. They pack 17g of protein and overall you’re looking at 320 calories, 13g of fat, 30mg of cholesterol, 610mg of sodium, 33g of carbs, 4g of fiber and 3g of sugar.
The taste factor may not be quite as high as some of the other options in this list, but when you’re on the go and trying to stay healthy it gives you a better option than a sugary donut!
#4 Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Fruit Cup
Satisfy your hearty craving with a mouth-watering grilled chicken sandwich complete with lettuce and tomato! The unbeatable truth with Chick-fil-A is their ability to cook real chicken for fast food. Compared to the options at McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast-food chains, the chicken at Chick-fil-A really tastes like chicken.
You don’t need to take a second look at the meat and question what concoctions of pink slime are meshed inside of it. With that said, we all know grilled is the healthier way to cook your chicken, so the grilled chicken sandwich is your best bet on the menu. Of course, you’ll need to sub those fries for a fruit cup to keep it all healthy!
If you’re feeling a sweet tooth, you could also feasibly get the Greek yogurt parfait for the side. Keep in mind that it is about 100 more calories than the fruit cup!
Here are the stats:
|CALORIES||FAT (g)||CHOLEST. (mg)||SODIUM (mg)||CARBS (g)||FIBER (g)||SUGAR (g)||PROTEIN (g)|
|GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH||320||5||65||800||40||3||7||30|
|MEDIUM FRUIT CUP||50||0||0||0||13||2||10||1|
|GREEK YOGURT PARFAIT||100||4||15||35||13||1||11||6|
|GREEK YOGURT PARFAIT W/GRANOLA||160||5||15||65||21||2||14||8|
#5 McDonald’s Egg McMuffin and a Side of Apple Slices
Need a quick breakfast option? At 300 calories this breakfast sandwich offers up a good mound of morning protein and iron.
The Egg McMuffin has 13g of fat, 750mg of sodium, 31g of carbs, 4g of fiber and 17g of protein. It’s quite filling and hearty, but you’d be better off saying “no cheese” to make it a healthier option.
The apple slices only have 15 calories and no downsides. It’s important to balance out your meaty, salty breakfast with fruit to ensure you have all the nutrition you need for your morning.
#6 Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap
Wraps have become a popular menu item to replace the seemingly thin taste of salads as a healthy food choice. If you’re comparing fast food wraps, Chick-fil-A definitely takes home the prize.
This flaxseed flour flat bread wrap is filled with grilled chicken breast, shredded carrots, green leaf lettuce, red cabbage and a blend of Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses. You’re probably better off leaving out the cheese, but the counts aren’t bad with it left in.
The wrap also tastes filling and delicious on its own. But, if you want a dressing, you should go for the reduced fat berry balsamic vinaigrette or the fat-free honey mustard dressing. And if you need a little more filling, get a side of fruit (not fries)!
Check out the details:
|CALORIES||FAT (g)||CHOLEST. (mg)||SODIUM (mg)||CARBS (g)||FIBER (g)||SUGAR (g)||PROTEIN (g)|
|BERRY BALSAMINC VINAIGRETTE DRESSING||110||4||0||260||20||0||16||0|
|FAT FREE HONEY MUSTARD DRESSING||90||0||0||330||22||1||20||0|
#7 McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal – hold the brown sugar
This is one of the best tasting oatmeal options of any of the fast food chains. Of course, that’s when you let them dump in the bag of brown sugar. Don’t let that happen!
It’ll definitely be healthier if you opt out of that and ask for your fruits on the side so you can add them in yourself. But, even with the brown sugar, you’re looking at 290 calories, 4g of fat, 5mg of cholesterol, 160mg of sodium, 58g of carbs, 5g of fiber, 32g of sugars and 5g of protein. Not bad at all!
Plus, this option provides a lovely amount of vitamins and nutrition from all the fruits! It’s an excellent choice for breakfast on the go and it even has chopped apples.
#8 McDonald’s Premium Asian Salad and Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait
Of course, when people think healthiest option at a fast food joint, they immediately jump to salads. Yes, salads are generally a safer bet at all fast food chains because they’re just bound to have less calories and things your body doesn’t need (though the salad dressing can really get you). So you could consider the salad options everywhere, but they’re not all excellent choices.
One good choice is McDonald’s Premium Asian Salad. You can order it with or without chicken. If you decide to get it with, you should definitely go for the grilled chicken as the healthier option. Deciding on whether or not to add chicken depends on how much protein you’re looking to consume for the day and how your counts are with your other meals.
If you’re looking to add a treat to your meal or provide something fruity, add the fruit and yogurt parfait. Here are the stats:
|CALORIES||FAT (g)||CHOLEST. (mg)||SODIUM (mg)||CARBS (g)||FIBER (g)||SUGARS (g)||PROTEIN (g)|
|ASIAN SALAD – WITHOUT CHICKEN||140||7||0||20||13||5||7||7|
|ASIAN SALAD – WITH GRILLED CHICKEN||270||9||75||760||18||5||10||32|
|FRUIT ‘N YOGURT PARFAIT||150||2||5||1||30||3||23||4|
#9 Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Minis with a Side of Fruit
Here’s another great on-the-go breakfast that includes a bulk of protein and leaves you feeling full. Altogether you’re looking at a hearty breakfast for 330 calories. The Chick-n-Minis three count sits at 3g of saturated fat (no trans fat), 30g of carbs and 15g of protein.
The drawback to fast food is the high salt content and these minis bring it in with 680mg. Sodium aside, this meal of protein plus fruit provides you with a great energetic kick in the morning. It also has a savory and delicious taste that’ll probably have you licking your fingers!
#10 Starbucks Bistro Boxes
Cleverly, Starbucks has presented a line of bistro boxes to accompany your hours of studying, reading, working and chatting in their coffee shops. It’s about time they brought about tasteful food to accompany their coffee, but especially to accompany America, as it seems Americans spend an ample amount of time in Starbucks. These Bistro Boxes offer up plenty in their mini delicious and nutritious meals.
Some of the best are the Edamame Hummus Wrap, Protein Bistro Box, Thai-Style Peanut Chicken Wrap and the Omega-3 Bistro Box. All of these are between 370 to 470 calories and are mouthwateringly delicious. The best part is they actually taste like fresh fruits and veggies. You’ll feel like you’re eating something from home. This style of fast food is probably where all the chains will be heading if they want to keep up with the green and healthy lifestyle wave.
It’s important to remember that while the nutritional data provided is a great key to deciding what to choose while you’re out, you should not consider any list of the best fast food choices as healthy enough to live on alone. When maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you also need to refer to the actual ingredients and sometimes the processes by which the meat, for example, is created into the meal you’re eating. A lot more goes into fast food than these mere nutritional facts and charts. Do your best to avoid eating fast food. But when you are presented with it, choose wisely.
Fortunately, in this day and age you can look up nutrition facts on your phone, so you can figure out the best options on the fly. There are even apps that you can type in the menu item in to get the info right away. The knowledge to be healthy is at your fingertips everywhere you go, while you’re on the go. There are no excuses. Keep up that healthy lifestyle!
By Alyssa Bright