Healthiest Fast Food. A Dietitian Answers…
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This article provides a quick glance into the healthiest fast food options.
Does it feel like your ambitious goals to get healthy just don’t mesh with your real life some days?
We all have those days, but some may experience the frustration more often than others.
The biggest problem comes from the misconception that there are no healthy options when it comes to the fast food menu.
Many people believe that they have to choose between the convenience of a quick meal that is prepared for them and a self-prepared meal that nourishes and energizes their body.
This isn’t true, so adjust your mindset to accept that healthy fast foods do exist.
Healthy Fast Food Options Are Available
If you spend some time pulling up websites for fast food restaurants in your local area, you’ll find nutrition menus that help you create reasonable meals that fit within your specific dietary guidelines.
We all have different criteria, whether we’re cycling our carbs, restricting our calories, or breaking our addiction to sugar.
Some people need to keep diabetes in control while others are looking at sodium counts in order to lower their blood pressure.
Whatever dietary guidelines you’re trying to follow, there are healthy fast foods that will meet your needs.
It’s a matter of studying the menus ahead of time and creating a cheat sheet so that you always know what to order whether you end up at McDonald’s, Arby’s, Chipotle, or Wendy’s.
To help you create your unique cheat sheet, we did some research to identify some of the healthiest fast food restaurants. From the healthiest fast food breakfast to the healthiest fast food burger, this guide has you covered.
Healthiest Fast Food Near You
Subway, Jimmy Johns, Jersey Mikes, and other fast sub shops seem like good options for healthy fast foods because they have fresh veggies readily available, lean meats are always an option, and wheat bread is typically offered.
The problem is that most signature sandwiches presented on the menu ruin the health factor by layering on rich sauces, mayo, bacon, and cheese.
These shops can still rank as some of the healthiest fast food restaurants if you customize your order.
While wheat bread may seem like the best option, most of these breads contain refined flour and aren’t the 100% whole grains that you may select for your homemade sandwiches. They will still offer more nutrients than white bread.
Deli meats are high in sodium, but Subway and many other shops offer chicken breasts and other meats that may have slightly less sodium.
By eliminating sauces that are high in sodium and loading on the fresh veggies, you can create a nutrient-dense sandwich that doesn’t lead to a blood pressure spike.
Vegetarian sandwiches are another option because they reduce your calorie and sodium consumption.
Consider one of the most popular healthy options:
You can load up on the veggies and still create a 6-inch sandwich that comes in under 250 calories even if you select their regular Italian bread.
A sub loaded with your choice of veggies and one of their fat-free condiments should have a nutrition profile that is close to this:
- 230 calories
- 2.5 g fat (0.5 saturated, 0 trans)
- 280 mg sodium
- 44 carbohydrates (5 fiber)
- 8 g protein
You can add honey mustard sauce, sweet onion sauce, or light mayo for less than 50 calories.
If you need more protein, add a grilled chicken breast. If you go with the standard veggie sub, you can even order a foot-long sub for a total of about 500 calories.
The Healthiest Fast Food Burgers
The secret to enjoying a healthy fast food burger is to choose your sides wisely or leave them off entirely. Just enjoy the burger for all its goodness and wash it down with a bottle of water.
You’ll eliminate hundreds of calories and tons of fat just for saying “no thanks” to the greasy fries.
Here are some of the top contenders for the designation of healthiest fast food burger:
Bunless Little Burgers at Five Guys
Just eliminating the bun saves you a lot of calories and reduces your carbohydrate intake, but the healthiest option is to go down to the “little” burger as well.
These burgers are still nicely sized when compared to other fast food joints like McDonald’s, but they come with a more reasonable nutrition profile. For example, here’s what you get with the standard bunless little hamburger (no cheese):
- 220 calories
- 17 g fat (8 saturated, 0 trans)
- 50 mg sodium
- 0 carbohydrates
- 16 g protein
If you splurge on the bunless little cheeseburger, you will consume 290 calories and 23 grams of fat. You can also add a variety of toppings that can deliver more nutrients, such as mushrooms, peppers, and fresh tomato.
Burger King’s Flame-Broiled Cheeseburger
If you leave off the bacon and order a basic cheeseburger, you’ll come out with the following nutrition profile:
- 270 calories
- 12 g fat (5 saturated, 0.5 trans)
- 560 mg sodium
- 27 g carbs (1 fiber, 13 sugar)
- 13 g protein
Wendy’s Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe
Reduce the fat and calorie content of this burger by leaving off the cheese and mayo. Here’s the nutrition information for the burger without those modifications:
- 330 calories
- 19 g fat (7 saturated, 1 trans)
- 27 g carbohydrates
- 810 mg sodium
Remember, you can turn any fast food burger into a healthier option by taking off the top portion of the bun and cutting out fatty condiments!
Healthiest Fast Food Breakfast Options
When you’re running short on time and your stomach is growling for breakfast, hopefully you’re close to a Subway to pick up their egg and cheese flatbread sandwich.
This sandwich leads the pack when it comes to healthy fast foods for breakfast because you can load it up with your favorite fresh veggies.
It starts with toasted flatbread and ends with an egg omelet and your cheese of choice. You can take the fat content down more by eliminating the cheese.
The final nutritional stats will look something like this:
- 370 calories
- 13 g fat (4.5 saturated, 0 trans)
- 880 mg sodium
- 44 g carbohydrates (fiber 4, sugar 5)
- 19 g protein
Notice that many of these healthy fast food options allow you to customize your meal to suit your dietary standards. This gives you the option of creating a meal that is close to your dietary preferences or to splurge a little without taking it too far.
In all actuality it’s to a great degree hard to take after a solid eating regimen when you’re eating routinely at fast food eateries.
Fast food eateries commonly utilize the least expensive fixings conceivable to hold costs down.
That implies that nourishments that generally could be viewed as solid may not be when requested from a fast food chain.
For instance, cheddar can be a decent wellspring of protein and calcium, however the cheddar besting your burger or covering your pizza is in all likelihood vigorously prepared, produced using non-dairy fixings.
The same goes for meat, chicken, and eggs. Fast food is additionally commonly high in trans fat, unfortunate soaked fat, shrouded sugar, sodium, and calories.
In the meantime, it has a tendency to be low in supplements and thoroughly ailing in organic products, vegetables, and fiber.
Healthy Fast Food Restaurants
That doesn’t mean you need to keep away from fast food completely. It’s OK to enjoy a desire from time to time, yet to stay solid you can’t make it a customary propensity; devouring fast food frequently will more likely than not have a negative influence your well-being.
The key is control—both in how regularly you visit fast food chains and what you arrange once you’re there.
There are dependably decisions you can make that are more advantageous than others.
The accompanying tips and menu suggestions can help you keep focused.
Simply recall that even the most advantageous fast food choices frequently have wholesome disadvantages so attempt to keep fast food to the intermittent treat.
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