How to Eat Healthy at 16 Fast Food Chains Slideshow
May 30, 2013
Burrito bowls and salads are your best bets here. For instance, the Chipotle salad with barbacoa, black beans, and fresh tomato salsa is 320 calories, has 8 grams of fat and 33 grams of protein. A steak burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, fresh tomato salsa, and lettuce (the "bowls", by the way, can contain rice, beans, salsa, cheese, guacamole and sour cream... all the fixins' without the tortilla) is 495 calories, has 11.5 grams of fat and 41 grams of protein.
Sure, you're really there for the caffeine, but sometimes the food case beckons. If it's morning, try the breakfast wrap of spinach, roasted tomato, feta, and egg white, at 290 calories, 10 grams of fat, 19 grams of protein, and 6 grams of fiber. Lunch could be a Bistro Box of chicken and hummus, with 260 calories, 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and 20 grams of protein). For something sweet, there's the Seasonal Harvest Fruit Blend with 90 calories and zero grams of fat.
Taco Bell's Fresco Menu (their version of a diet menu) has seven items that are 350 calories or less, and range between 3.5 grams of fat (the Fresco Chicken Soft Taco) and 9 grams (the Fresco Bean Burrito). On the regular menu, a Chicken Soft Taco has 6 grams of fat and 170 calories, and the regular Bean Burrito is 11 grams of fat and 370 calories. Fat-free pico de gallo is a good choice over other toppings.
People like to joke that pizza's healthy because it has vegetables (tomato sauce) and dairy (cheese). And that's not entirely untrue. For a slice — 1/8 of a large pizza — of Thin Crust (115 calories, 4.5 grams of fat) with marinara sauce (add 12.5 calories, 1/3 gram of fat) with cheese, (66 calories, 5 grams of fat)... that's (doing some calculating here)about: 193.5 calories and 9.8 grams of fat. There’s also about 7 grams of protein... so there is that.
Skip the burgers and go for the Garden Sensations Salads, which come in full or half-size options.
The Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, half-sized, is 340 calories and 18 grams of fat, with 19 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. A small chili is 180 calories and 5 grams of fat, alongside 13 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. If you simply must have a Frosty, a small chocolate one is 290 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and has 8 grams of protein.
The healthiest thing, frankly, at this meat-oriented vendor would be the Chopped Side Salad, with 80 calories and 5 grams of fat, plus 5 grams of protein. There's also a list of "Market Fresh" items here, which might sound healthier but the stats don't point that way, with the sandwiches between 25 and 35 grams of fat. Better to go with the Roast Beef Classic at 14 grams of fat and 360 calories; it's also got 25 protein grams.
This burger giant boasts "Favorites Under 400," though that count is before sauces or any condiments.
If you're there at breakfast, there's now an Egg White Delight McMuffin with white Cheddar, at 250 calories, 7 grams fat, and 18 grams protein; a medium nonfat latte is 130 calories. Later in the day, try the Premium Caesar Salad at 90 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein. They've also got those apple slices that seem popular as a fast-food healthy option; theirs are 15 calories.
What if you just had to get a meal at Dunkin' Donuts? (And a jelly donut doesn't count as a meal.) Well, "meal" might be the wrong word, but you wouldn't do so badly getting the multigrain bagel, at 7 grams of fat, 350 calories; 8 grams of fiber, and 15g of protein. There’s a whole line of “DD Smart” items that contain less than 400 calories, which includes the Egg White Veggie Flatbread (280 calories, has 10 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 16 grams of protein), and the new Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, with 390 calories and 17 grams of fat.
Though these folks advertise "home-style" meals, be alert to all the additives that change a seemingly simple item into one loaded with extra fat and calories. You can combine different sides to create a healthy-as-possible meal there; a regular turkey dinner with sides of garlic dill potatoes and fresh steamed vegetables is about 360 calories and 10 grams of fat. Five grams of fiber and 42 grams of protein rounds out this meal.
The BK VEGGIE Burger actually has less fat (7 grams, without cheese or mayo, and 20 grams with them) and calories (320 without either, 450 with both) than their Chicken Apple & Cranberry Garden Fresh Salad with Tendergrill, which is 560 calories and 30 grams of fat! Another lower fat-and-calorie choice is the Ranch Grilled Chicken Wrap, with 350 calories and 18 grams of fat.
Jack in the Box
Forego the burger here and check out the chicken fajita with whole-grain pita and salsa. It comes in at 330 calories, 11 grams of fat, 24 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber. If fajitas aren't your thing, there's also a Chicken Teriyaki Bowl at just 6 grams of fat, though it's more calories (690). If you want to treat yourself to something sweet, you might try the Strawberry Smoothie; it's 270 calories with no fat.
There are a lot of cheeses and dressings in these subs; either create your own or shoot for a bowl of soup. A regular Broccoli Cheese soup with two crackers is 180 calories and 9 grams of fat, with 7 grams of protein. But if you're in a sandwich mood, the Sonoma Turkey, with Cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, and chipotle mayo has 15 grams of fat and 360 calories (knock off most of the fat if you ask for it without the mayo).
Some locations still have a salad bar available, though that's not reflected on the company website. If you're going for the pizza, the Veggie Lover's Thin 'N Crispy pizza is 170 calories and 6 grams of fat; Cheese Only is actually a bit more at 190 calories and 8 grams of fat. But if you're able to stay happy with salad and bread sticks, an order has 140 calories and 5 grams of fat.
Au Bon Pain
Probably one of their best bets, sandwich-wise, is the Tuna Salad on multigrain bread; it's 490 calories and 14 grams of fat. But you could also put together some quite healthy sides to combine a nice meal: a small black bean soup is 180 calories with just 1 gram of fat, and the garden salad has 1.5 grams of fat and 90 calories; choose balsamic vinaigrette for the healthiest dressing. Rosemary potatoes have 35 calories per ounce and 1 gram of fat.