Surprisingly, the healthiest option isn’t always a salad. Find out your best nutritional bets at the most popular fast food restaurants.
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 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. According to Kristen Smith, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Guacamole is an excellent heart-healthy fat source, but can still add up in calories quickly. If you must go for the rice, choose the brown rice option and limit to a one-half cup serving.” These are some other nutritionist-approved eats you can score at Chipotle and other fast-food joints.
Healthy fast food at Burger King
Grilled chicken sandwich: 370 calories, 7 grams fat, 2 grams saturated, 6 grams fiber, 36 grams protein
Contrary to popular belief, Burger King actually offers 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 cheese and mayo to save calories and asking for salad dressing on the side. If you want to be even healthier, choose vinegarettes in place of creamy dressings.
Healthy fast food at McDonalds
Regular hamburger: 250 calories, 8 grams fat, 2 grams 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 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. Don’t miss the real reason why fast food always looks better in commercials.
Healthy fast food at Subway
Veggie Delite: 230 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 8 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 9-grain wheat bread and topped with all the fresh veggies. It also has 20 percent of daily recommended iron and vitamin C.”