15 Fast Food Entrées With The Least Cholesterol

It might not be a topic at the dinner table every night, but many people have to think about how much cholesterol is in the food they eat. Almost 2 in 5 adults in America have high cholesterol levels, putting them at risk for heart disease. As a result, more people than you'd think need to monitor, to varying degrees, how much they consume on a daily basis. It is also true that an estimated 85 million Americans eat fast food every day.

While you should never rely on fast food for all your nutritional needs, there are ways to still eat at your favorite chains if you have high cholesterol. Many fast food chains have filling and tasty options that won't ruin your day the same way a burger or Egg McMuffin would, but you just don't know about it. Don't worry, we've done the digging for you and found that these 15 entrées from over a dozen fast-food chains have the least amount of cholesterol. 

1. McDonald's: McChicken

There are a number of consistently safe low-cholesterol options at all burger and sandwich-serving fast food establishments. One of them is the humble fried chicken sandwich. While fried foods are never a boon for cholesterol levels, a simple chicken sandwich at a chain like Burger King or Wendy's is going to be one of the lowest-calorie sandwiches on the menu. Enter the McChicken, the king of simple chicken sandwiches, which, according to McDonald's, is one of their lowest-cholesterol items.

This McDonald's value menu staple is pretty stripped down, served with only mayo and lettuce on a bun. This gives the McChicken an advantage in this particular field over the numerous other chicken sandwiches that populate the McDonald's menu. With only 35 mg of cholesterol per sandwich, the McChicken is outdone only by one other entrée at the chain — and that one is only available for breakfast. For comparison, the newly branded McCrispy premium chicken sandwich contains 70 mg of cholesterol, the equivalent of two McChicken sandwiches. 

2. McDonald's: Southern Style Chicken Biscuit

It's pretty tough to avoid high cholesterol when it comes to fast food breakfasts. Eggs, a food naturally high in cholesterol, are a staple ingredient in most breakfast sandwiches. And when it comes to getting a filling breakfast at McDonald's without going over your daily cholesterol limits, there are shockingly few options. This is where the Chicken Biscuit swoops in to save the day and fill your stomach.

Essentially the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit is a McChicken patty, served on a biscuit instead of a bun. No other toppings to speak of on this dry sandwich. But with only 30 mg of cholesterol according to McDonald's, the Chicken Biscuit weighs in at just under the amount found in the McChicken. It's worth noting that the Sausage Biscuit at McDonald's also contains 30 mg. Both of these egg-free options are tasty, and relatively heart-healthy (at least in this context), ways to start the day.

3. Arby's: Turkey Gyro

Arby's brings the beef and when it comes to cholesterol that is never a good thing. Avoiding red meat is a surefire way to lower your daily cholesterol intake. That being said, you probably wouldn't expect the roast beef chain to sport an extremely low-cholesterol item. But here we are with one of Arby's turkey dishes, the Greek-inspired Turkey Gyro, making a surprise appearance on this list. 

The gyro comes with shaved roast turkey sprinkled with "Greek seasoning" served on a pita and topped with Tzatziki sauce, red onions, tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. This is a legitimate full meal, and with only 45 mg of cholesterol according to Arby's, it is one of the best options for when you are in a bind. It might not be what you usually think of when it comes to fast food, but the Turkey Gyro is your best bet for a healthy, filling meal at Arby's.

4. Panera: Avocado, Egg White, Spinach, & Cheese on Sprouted Grain Bagel

Panera Bread's offerings certainly fall under the label of quick service, but this is not a brand people usually associate with the term fast food. But rest assured you can stop by any Panera and get a meal quickly (depending on how long the line is), even in the morning. In fact, Panera offers the fast food breakfast entrée with the least cholesterol that we've found. You even get to indulge in a little bit of egg with this one. Yippee!

The Avocado, Egg White, Spinach, & Cheese on Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat is thankfully as much of a mouthful to eat as it is to say. This hefty sandwich is served on one of Panera's flat bagels and features all the listed ingredients as well as an option to add sausage or bacon. According to Panera, this sandwich only contains 20 mg of cholesterol, which beats out pretty much everything else on this list. Adding meat will of course make that number higher.

If you're watching your cholesterol but breakfast is one of your favorite meals, we can't recommend this option highly enough.

5. Panera: Baja and Mediterranean bowls

Another health-conscious option from Panera Bread are the Baja and Mediterranean Bowls. Based on the nutritional info Panera lists, each of these entrées contains only 20 mg of cholesterol in total. Both options are hearty vegetarian bowls that bring different flavor profiles to the mix.

The Mediterranean Bowl is going for the Greek. It features a quinoa and brown rice mix that's topped with arugula, grape tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and cucumbers. This bowl is also served with hummus, lemon tahini dressing, feta, and Greek yogurt to add that creamy, rich element.

The Baja Bowl from Panera starts with the same rice and quinoa mix, but instead, it's topped with black bean and corn salsa, salsa verde, grape tomatoes, and fresh avocado. Like the Mediterranean Bowl, the Baja Bowl includes feta cheese and yogurt as well. Either of these options is sure to satisfy your hunger pangs in a heart-friendly and low-cholesterol fashion.

6. Shake Shack: Shroom Burger

The Shake Shack Shroom burger is one of the best non-meat burgers at any fast food chain. The sandwich features a fried portabella stuffed with gooey cheese on a bed of lettuce and tomato, topped with Shack Sauce. It is an indulgent item that remarkably ends up being one of the healthiest items on the Shake Shack menu — at least when it comes to cholesterol counts.

According to Shake Shack, their Shroom Burger contains 45 mg of cholesterol, which is impressively low when you compare it to the rest of the Shake Shack menu. Even the single ShackBurger contains over 100 mg of cholesterol, and that's the chain's most meager sandwich. 

The only item on the menu that compares is the Grilled Cheese, which has the same amount of cholesterol. And when it comes down to picking an entrée, the Shroom Burger is certainly the heftier and more unique option.

7. Starbucks: Spinach, Feta, & Egg White Wrap

Starbucks isn't known for its hot food, but over the years the chain has definitely improved its variety when it comes to giving its customers filling and healthy breakfasts. Case in point is this spinach, feta, and egg white wrap, which is a satisfying and low-cholesterol entrée that is perfect for the morning commute. Consisting of a whole wheat wrap, roasted tomatoes, cooked spinach, melted feta, and egg whites, this eggy, melty piece of heaven won't do you in cholesterol-wise.

Not only is this wrap one of the best and most popular breakfast items at Starbucks, but it is also one of the healthiest. According to Starbucks, the entrée also contains only 20 mg of cholesterol in a single serving. With 20 grams of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber, this low-calorie sandwich certainly doesn't taste like it. The Starbucks Spinach, Feta, & Egg White Wrap certainly packs a punch, and can be ordered any time of the day if you prefer your eggs in the evening.

8. Wendy's: Crispy Chicken Sandwich

The Wendy's menu can screw up your entire week when it comes to cholesterol counts. Sorry Baconator, but we aren't seeing you anywhere near this list. No, you are going to have to go over to the other side of the farm for your low-cholesterol meal at Wendy's. 

According to Wendy's, the Crispy Chicken Sandwich only contains 35 mg of cholesterol, which is pretty good all things considered. It's not the biggest sandwich, but pair it with a side and you've got yourself lunch. Go a size up and you'll find yourself at twice as much cholesterol in the little guy's big brothers, Wendy's Classic and Spicy chicken sandwiches. Still, these options remain viable if you are in a situation where it's Wendy's or bust. When it comes to chicken, the nuggets on Wendy's menu are also a solid option with not a ton of cholesterol. A 10-piece will pack between 65 and 80 mg depending on whether you opt for Spicy Nuggets. 

9. Burger King: Big Fish Sandwich

When it comes to healthy proteins served at fast food joints, fish is an oft-overlooked clutch player. Take this, the menu item with the least cholesterol according to Burger King, as the perfect example. The Big Fish Sandwich lives up to its name — at least in size —and won't put you in danger of spiking your cholesterol levels with only 30 mg to its name.

The Big Fish features a fried, crispy panko-breaded patty of White Alaskan Pollock. The toppings are sparse; only tartar sauce and pickles grace the brioche bun that the fish is served on. Since Burger King makes its fish sandwich with pollock, which is a protein low in cholesterol and also low in saturated fats, it winds up being quite the heart-healthy option.

Unless you are a committed BK fan, though, you might want to think twice about ordering this sandwich. It doesn't have the best reputation.

10. Chick-fil-A: Spicy Chicken Biscuit

It is established that despite its buttery, fried goodness the chicken biscuit is a relatively low-cholesterol fast food breakfast option. But when it comes to Chick-fil-A's menu there is a caloric anomaly added to the twist and it's called the Spicy Chicken Biscuit. For whatever reason, this sandwich is more healthy in a couple of ways when compared to its mild counterpart.

First and foremost, the Spicy Chicken Biscuit will set you back 35 mg of cholesterol, according to Chick-fil-A, whereas the regular Chicken Biscuit sandwich contains 45 mg. The serving size is slightly smaller for the spicy version of the sandwich, but that doesn't account for the 10 mg differential. If you are watching your sodium intake, the Spicy Chicken Biscuit is also slightly better for you. With 30 fewer calories overall, the difference in any of these categories isn't huge, but when it comes to cholesterol it can be a difference that counts.

11. Taco Bell: Burrito Supreme

Taco Bell is the one fast food chain where you can really ball out and not have to worry about your cholesterol levels spiking. That certainly doesn't mean go overboard and order five Cheesy Gordita Crunches in a single sitting, but there are some really indulgent menu items that you can order one or two of. Starting us off is the Taco Bell Burrito Supreme, which can come with either beef, chicken, or steak. 

Most of the Burrito Supreme options contain less than 35 mg of cholesterol per item — and according to Taco Bell beef is the healthiest option at 25 mg. In addition to your protein of choice, the entrée includes lettuce, onions, tomatoes, beans, sour cream, red sauce, and cheese. It's a pretty stuffed burrito — and even if you choose steak as your filling, it will still only run you 60 mg of cholesterol. Speaking of burritos, you may also be surprised to learn the cholesterol count of the Beefy 5-Layer Burrito is comparable to the Burrito Supreme at 30 mg.

12. Taco Bell: Chalupa Supreme

Speaking of supreme, we have another supremely healthy (again, relative to the rest of the Taco Bell menu) item. Despite its deep-fried flour taco shell, the beef Chalupa Supreme comes out to only a whopping 25 mg of cholesterol according to Taco Bell. The Chalupa is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream so there is at least something you can gesture to as vegetables on your plate. The Chicken and Steak Chalupa Supreme menu options have 35 and 30 mg respectively.

It's easy to argue that the Chalupa is not an entrée but just a glorified taco. However, the Chalupa Supreme on its own is surprisingly filling compared to a regular Taco Bell taco, so there is a distinct difference. Plus, consider the fact that you can get two beef chalupas and still only be at 50 mg of cholesterol for the meal. As long as you're careful with cholesterol intake for the rest of your day, this is a perfectly acceptable fast food detour. 

13. Taco Bell: Nachos Bel Grande

This is one place where Taco Bell comes in clutch. Seriously, where else could you get a plate of steak nachos that will only cost you $5 and 25 mg of cholesterol? 

Well, you will also be paying in the 730 calories that, according to Taco Bell nutrition, the Nachos Bell Grande will set you back. When you consider how big of an entrée you are getting, it's not an exaggeration to say this is the best value — maybe in all of fast food — when it comes to getting a low-cholesterol meal that will also fill you up. The regular Bell Grande Nachos come with ground beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and beans. You can even substitute steak for the same exact cholesterol count. Substituting chicken in there will make that number go up to 30 mg per serving.

14. Jack N the Box: Chicken Teriyaki Bowl

Scouring the Jack N the Box menu to try and find the handful of items with the least cholesterol is a taxing time. Good thing we did it for you. And while there were a couple of other contenders, we ultimately found that the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl wins out as the Jack N the Box item worth highlighting. You don't need a side to complete this meal as you would with a Jr. Jack or any of the tiny sandwiches that technically have less cholesterol than this entrée. Coming in at 40 mg of cholesterol, per Jack N the Box, this Chicken Teriyaki Bowl has got you covered for an entire meal.

Of course, the elephant in the room is that you are ordering "Japanese" food at Jack N the Box. While the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl is a high-calorie, low-cholesterol option, is that a good enough reason to order and pay for something that is heated in a microwave? Probably not.

15. In-N-Out Burger: Hamburger with Onion

In-N-Out is mainly known for two things. Great food and a limited menu that may or may not require you to speak a secret code. Even including the actual secret menu (and not the official Not-So-Secret) menu options that have yet to grace the In-N-Out website, the restaurant fails to offer much variety. So when it comes down to it, there is only one item you can get at In-N-Out if you are seriously watching your cholesterol — and unfortunately, that is the most basic thing on the menu.

Which is not to hate on the simple In-N-Out Hamburger with Onions. As far as fast food hamburgers go, it's top five, but it's often hard to reach for when the Double Double is right there. Speaking of, the chain's iconic Double Cheeseburger packs a whopping 120 mg of cholesterol. The Hamburger, while slightly less satisfying, still gives you almost all of the same elements of the Double Cheeseburger for only 40 mg, per In-N-Out. And that's with the chain's famous spread. If you substitute spread out for ketchup and mustard, the cholesterol count in the item goes down to 35 mg.