When we think of fast food, we typically don’t think “healthy” or “nutritious.” However, it is possible to eat a balanced meal when you’re dining out. As a full-time student, my schedule gets really busy, and as much as I want to, sometimes I just don’t have time to pack a lunch or make dinner every night. With limited time and funds, fast food is a tempting choice. The good news is that fast food chains have recently started offering healthier options, so you can enjoy a quick meal that’s both balanced and healthy. When eating out, I look for items that are grilled and avoid options like “loaded,” “double,” and “fried.” I usually make choices with fewer than 500 calories and at least 15 grams of protein.

I compiled this list to help you make a healthier choice next time you eat at a fast food restaurant. These options are low in calories, contain adequate protein. They’re also lower in sugar and fat, yet have enough carbs to keep you full. Remember, eating healthy doesn’t have to mean never eating out!

Sarah Rowlan
USU Dietetics Student

McDonald’s:

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Egg White Delight McMuffin 250 8 17 29
Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait 150 2 4 30
Apple Slices 15 0 0 4
Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich 380 6 37 44
Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad 320 14 42 9
Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad 350 12 37 27


Wendy’s:

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Small Rich & Meaty Chili 170 5 15 16
Grilled Chicken Wrap 270 11 20 24
Grilled Chicken Sandwich 260 8 35 38
Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Half Size 240 9 20 22
Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Full Size 450 15 40 42


Carl’s Jr.

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Low-fat Balsamic Dressing 35 1.5 0 5
Garden Side Salad 110 4.5 4 15
Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich 390 7 30 50
Original All-natural Turkey Burger (no mayo) 440 10 29 45


Chick-fil-A

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap 340 13 36 30
Grilled Market Salad 320 14 26 26
Fruit Cup 50 0 13 1
Egg White Grill 300 7 25 31
Grilled Chicken Sandwich 320 5 30 40
Grilled Nuggets (8 count) 140 3 23 4
Greek Yogurt Parfait with Harvest Nut Granola 230 9 12 28
Hearty Breast Chicken Soup (small) 140 2.5 12 18
Superfood Side (large) 170 8 4 23


Burger King

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Garden Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Tendergrill (no dressing) 320 14 36 16
Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich (no mayo) 320 18 32 35
Hamburger 220 8 11 26
BK Veggie Burger (no mayo) 310 7 22 42


Taco Bell

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Black Bean Burrito 380 11 14 57
Power Menu Bowl, Chicken 480 20 28 46


Dairy Queen

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Turkey BLT Sandwich 400 14 22 44
Garden Greens Salad w/ Grilled Chicken (no dressing) 160 2 26 10
Chicken BLT Salad w/ Grilled Chicken (no dressing) 270 11 35 10
Grilled Chicken Wrap 290 15 16 23


Five Guys

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Veggie Sandwich 440 15 16 60
Little Hamburger 480 26 23 39


Panda Express

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
Mixed Vegetables (side) 80 0.5 4 16
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken 300 13 36 8
Mushroom Chicken 170 9 12 11
Hot and Sour Soup 120 4.5 7 14


Kneaders

Items Calories Fat Protein Carbs
White Bean Chicken Chili (1 cup) 190 2.5 21 19
Large Green Avocado Salad (no dressing) 215 14 11 13
Berry Chicken Nut 445 25.5 32 27
Turkey Ranch Half w/ Whole Wheat Bread 330 12 19 42
Classic Veggie Avocado, Half w/ Whole Wheat Bread 410 22 14 45

 

WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.