Fast food breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you don’t have to feel guilty about.
So you’re trying to eat healthy and/or lose some extra pounds, but you’re on the road and in a hurry – so you find yourself in the drive-through line. Not to worry: There is such a thing as healthy fast food (or at least healthier). You can order a meal at most fast food chains with less than 500 calories, moderate amounts of fat and saturated fat, and ample protein and fiber.
Here are 10 of the healthiest fast food meals from some of the top fast food chains. (To make sure your beverage choice doesn’t undo the calorie savings, be sure to go for a zero-calorie drink like water, unsweetened tea, coffee, or diet soda.)
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 1. Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Fruit Cup
Several fast food chains offer a grilled chicken sandwich. The trick is ordering it without mayo or creamy sauce, and making sure it’s served with a whole grain bun.
Make sure you order the sandwich without mayonnaise.
Nutritional breakdown: Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (without the honey-roasted BBQ sauce), along with a large fruit cup, has 400 calories, 3.5 grams fat (8% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1120 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, and 30 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 2: Grilled Chicken Breast with Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob
When you want something far from standard fast food fare, KFC’s meal deal can be a healthful solution. Choose their tasty grilled chicken breast as your entree, and mashed potatoes and corn as your two sides. This combination offers plenty of protein (41 grams) with a moderate amount of carbohydrate (49 grams) and fat (10 grams).
A meal of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and 5.5-inch corncob from (KFC) contains 430 calories, 10 g fat (21% calories from fat), 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 905 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, and 41 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 3: Chicken Teriyaki Bowl
This dish would be better if it had brown rice instead of white rice, and the sodium is definitely high (1461 milligrams). Still, it’s very low in saturated fat yet contains plenty of protein (25 grams) and some fiber (4 grams).
The Chicken Teriyaki Bowl contains 585 calories, 6 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat (2% calories from saturated fat), 0 g trans fat, 36 mg cholesterol, 1461 mg sodium, 106 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, and 25 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 4: Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap
I think this is the best-looking, best tasting, most satisfying fast food chicken wrap on the market. It doesn’t compare to the smaller wraps made by a couple of other chains. Although you’d probably need two of the smaller wraps for a meal, one of these wraps is likely to satisfy. It’s packed with fiber (9 grams) and protein (33 grams) and moderate in fat and saturated fat. However, it is high in sodium (1,300 mg) and any dressing served with it would add to that. The two dressings lowest in fat and sodium are Fat-Free Honey Mustard (60 calories, 0 g fat, 210 mg sodium) and Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette (70 calories, 2 g fat, 150 mg sodium).
Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap with Fat Free Honey Mustard Dressing has 470 calories, 12 g fat (23% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1510 mg sodium, 64 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 33 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 5: Southwest Salad and Fruit n Yogurt Parfait
The grilled chicken salads offered at a handful of fast food chains are among the best options — as long as the chicken is grilled, not fried, and the dressing is light. One standout is Southwest Salad, which is the highest in fiber and protein and among the lowest in saturated fat.
A meal of Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (not including dressing) and Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait has 480 calories, 11 g fat (21% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1045 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, and 34 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 6. Veggie Burger and Garden Salad
Veggie burgers come and go at fast food outlets, and at this moment the best one is also the only one among major chains. This surprisingly tasty sandwich, which is more like a garden burger than a soy substitute trying to be a beef burger, contributes 7 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein (25 if you opt for the cheese). Make it a meal by adding a garden salad.
A Veggie Burger (without mayonnaise), Garden Salad (no chicken) and half a packet of Light Italian Dressing totals 450 calories, 12.5 g fat (25% calories from fat), 4.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1320 mg sodium, 52.5 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 26 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 7: Veggie Delite Sandwich and Tomato Orzo Soup
Another good vegetarian option, particularly if you watching your sodium intake, is the Veggie Delite Sandwich f with 5 grams of fiber and 410 milligrams sodium. Pair it with a bowl of vegetable soup for a filling lunch.
A 6-inch sandwich plus Fire-Roasted Tomato Orzo soup from Subway totals 360 calories, 3.5 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 14 g protein.