27 Healthy Choices at Fast Food Restaurants
Fast food restaurants used to have a rep for being the nutritional equivalent of hell. Although they’re still no angels (one poorly-chosen meal could set you back nearly a day’s worth of calories), these days there are healthier (emphasis on -ier) choices to be found at most of the major chains—and here are the best.
By Cassie Shortsleeve
Eat this: Medium Thin Crust Pacific Veggie Pizza (135 calories, 9 grams fat for 1/8 of pizza). It comes with fresh baby spinach, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, and black olives (plus a smaller portion of cheese than other versions). “The calories, saturated fat, and sodium content are below most other pizzas on the menu,” says Rakijian. Bonus: The veggies add vitamin C, E, and K, along with calcium, iron, and potassium.
Or this: The Chicken Apple Pecan Salad with Ken’s Lite Balsamic (280 calories, 13.5 grams fat) also has 13 grams of muscle-building protein and 4 grams of fiber, which will keep you feeling nice and full for hours afterward.
Eat this: A Veggie Burger with mustard (450 calories, 14 grams fat), the healthiest burger on the menu. This is not the place to satisfy a beef craving; most of Sonic’s burgers clock in
with 600 to 1,200 calories and up to 85 grams of fat, says Lena Rakijian, R.D., founder of Boston-based Backbeet Nutrition. “They are also loaded with sodium, as much as 1,700 mg.” The American Heart Association says ideally you shouldn’t have more than 1,500 mg a day.
Or this: The Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich (450 calories, 17 grams fat), topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and light mayo, and served on a whole grain ciabatta bun. “Chicken breast is a lean protein and is low in saturated fat,” notes Rakijian. To cut back on carbs, request a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.
Eat this: Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast (180 calories, 6 grams fat). It’s lean meat sans the carbs, plus tons of protein. Most of the other items on KFC’s menu clock in at up to 20 grams of fat.
And this: “Pair your meal with veggie sides—corn on the cob, a house salad, or green beans,” says Rakijian. “Ask for less butter and no added salt if possible.”
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