You’re starving, on the road and have only seen fast food restaurants for miles. In other words, you are desperate. We can help!
Not all fast food is crammed with calories, carbs, fat and sodium. Check out these healthier, lighter options at easy-to-find restaurants — all of which may sound slightly more enticing than the infamous Big Mac.
Head to Panera Bread for a Breakfast Power Sandwich: all-natural egg, Vermont white cheddar and smoked, lean ham grilled on freshly baked whole grain bread. This sandwich is packed with protein and has 4 grams of fiber and 340 calories.
We liked McDonald’s breakfast options, such as the Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (under 300 calories and 5 grams of fat) and the Fruit and Yogurt Parfait (150 calories, 2 grams of fat).
Check out Subway’s “6 grams of fat or less” menu, offering salads and sandwiches that are under 400 calories and, of course, under 6 grams of fat. Tempting options include the Veggie Delite and Oven Roasted Chicken with Spinach sandwiches and the Turkey Breast and Sweet Onion/Chicken Teriyaki salads. These are loaded with lean protein and are low on carbs, fat and calories.
Panera’s You Pick Two soup/salad/sandwich combo helps satisfy the carb craving without overloading on calories and sodium. Try choosing one of the delicious soups marked “LF” for low-fat, such as the Vegetarian Vegetable and Chicken Noodle, or the Classic Salad with only 90 calories and 5g of fat (including dressing). Healthy sandwich options include a half of the Roasted Turkey and Avocado BLT or the Tomato and Mozzarella Panini, which keep you under 400 calories.
For a decent balance of carbs, protein and fat, try Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Go Wrap. It is sure to satisfy a hungry stomach while staying under 300 calories.
McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies are as nutritious as they sound: made with real fruit, ice and low-fat yogurt, these blended beverages contain 80% of your daily vitamin c, leaving you both refreshed and full!
I am all about Chipotle’s Burrito Bowl option which offers all the deliciousness of a burrito, minus the 290 calorie tortilla. Fill ’er up with fresh veggies, low-fat beans, lettuce, salsas and antibiotic and hormone-free meat. This dinner is so nutritious, you can feel guilt-free adding on that scoop of guac…avocadoes are good for your skin, right?
If you aren’t in the mood for Mexican, swing by Pizza Hut for their Fit and Delicious Pizza with flavors ranging from Chicken, Red Onion and Green Pepper to Ham, Pineapple and Diced Red Tomato. An eighth of these 12-inch pizzas will keep you under 200 calories and 5g of fat. Sodium and carb count are also relatively low.
Everyone needs to indulge their sweet tooth sometimes! Head to Burger King and grab a strawberry sundae or some vanilla soft serve. At less than 200 calories and 4 grams of fat, these options satisfy the craving without a heaping side of guilt.
Tips for dining fast-food style:
Salad Alert: Although we generally think of salads when we think healthy, research found that fast-food salads are often loaded with cheese, croutons and dressing, resulting in sky-rocketing calorie and fat values. Ask for the dressing on the side so you can add a little flavor (avoid Caesar dressing), hold the croutons and ask for your chicken grilled rather than breaded.
Healthy Sides: Most fast-food spots also now offer apple slices, carrot sticks or side salads as alternatives to that side of fries, so be sure to hit those up!