Well, guess what: We surveyed the nation’s 100 largest fast-food chains, as defined by the number of locations, and found many are creating menus that look more and more like what we’d cook ourselves (if we had the time)—from nutritious soups and healthy salads to fresh whole grains and sensible desserts. Even better: They’re offering good-news Mexican, Asian, and Mediterranean fare.
Using criteria that was created with the help of our expert panel, we scored the chains on such factors as the use of healthy fats and preparations, healthy sodium counts in entrees, availability of nutritional information, and the use of organic produce to determine the 10 highest-ranking restaurants.
Here, the list of Healthy Fast Food Restaurants in United States:
#1 Panera Bread
Over 1,230 locations nationwide (and in Canada)
This bakery-cafe-based eatery wowed our judges with a comprehensive menu of healthy choices for every meal. “Variety makes it easy for everyone to choose healthy,” praises registered dietitian and panelist Marisa Moore. Half-size soups, salads, and sandwiches make it a cinch to control portion size. Also, most of the chicken is antibiotic- and hormone-free, a rarity for large chains.
Panera also won top honors for kid fare, dishing out RD-approved crowd-pleasers like squeezable organic yogurt, PB&J (with all-natural peanut butter), and grilled organic cheese on white whole-grain bread.
Delicious, nutrient-packed combos like a half–Turkey Artichoke on focaccia bread with a bowl of black bean or garden vegetable soup.
#2 Jason’s Deli
206 locations in the West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South
How did this up-and-comer snag second place? Largely because of its devotion to organic food: About one-fifth of all its ingredients are organic, from blue-corn tortilla chips and whole-wheat wraps to field greens and spinach. Plus, its creative salads—like the Nutty Mixed-Up Salad with organic field greens, grapes, chicken breast, feta cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, pumpkinseeds, raisins, and organic apples—make you actually want to order the greens.
Our judges applauded the portion-control option: Reduced sizes of, say, a stuffed baked potato, are $1 less. Jason’s menu also highlights ultrahealthy sandwiches and provides the nutitional info.
We love: Being able to build any sandwich on an organic whole-wheat wrap. Danger zone: High-sodium counts on some sandwiches; if sodium is a concern, stick to the ultrahealthy choices.
#3 Au Bon Pain
280 locations nationwide
A pioneer in healthy fast food, Au Bon Pain serves up sandwiches, soups, salads, and hot entrees made with whole grains, veggies, and hormone-free chicken.
New this year: Portions, a 14-item menu of nutritious small plates—from appetizers like apples, blue cheese, and cranberries to salads like chickpea and tomato—all of which are less than 200 calories. Another impressive feature: Au Bon Pain provides on-site nutritional information via computer kiosks, so before you even order you know each option’s calories, fat, and sodium. “It’s a great way to empower customers,” praises judge Amy Jamieson-Petonic.
Yummy low-cal soups, from Jamaican Black Bean to Fire Roasted Exotic Grains and Vegetables.
#4 Noodles and Company
204 locations in West, Midwest, South
Noodles and Company isn’t your typical greasy Asian food-court joint. Here, you choose from three food types: Asian, Mediterranean, or American, then within each style, pick from four noodle bowl options. Lean proteins—hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken, beef, shrimp, and organic tofu—can be added, too.
Tasty combos like Japanese Pan Noodles with broccoli, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, Asian sprouts, and sauteed beef. Also key: “You don’t have to chow down on a giant bowl of noodles. You can opt for a small portion,” says judge Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, Health’s Senior Food and Nutrition Editor. The small Bangkok Curry bowl has just 250 calories.
The whole-grain linguine—usually hard to find when eating out.
#5 Corner Bakery Cafe
111 locations in West, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, South
What sets Corner Bakery apart? A fantastic breakfast menu, which is rare in the quick-serve world. We love the Farmer’s Scrambler: eggs scrambled with red and green bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, potatoes, and Cheddar cheese. (It’s only 260 calories when ordered with egg whites.) There’s also Swiss oatmeal, a chilled European breakfast cereal made with rolled oats, green apples, bananas, currants, dried cranberries, low-fat yogurt, and skim milk.
But Corner Bakery also has healthy salads, sandwiches, and soups made with whole grains, fresh, lean meats, and vegetables, as well as great portion-controlled combinations that make limiting calories a no-brainer.
Healthy oven-roasted chicken that comes on most pastas and salads.
800+ locations nationwide
Buffet-style Chipotle gives every customer complete control over her burrito, taco, or salad. (Take that, Taco Bell!) And you get to build it with fresh, local ingredients. In fact, Chipolte won high marks for its commitment to organics, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and produce sourced from local suppliers, which is revolutionary in a chain this big. Many of its entrees can be low-sodium, if you choose add-ins such as the fajita veggies and green tomatillo salsa.
Burrito Bowls, which let you skip the tortilla—and the extra carbs.
#7 Atlanta Bread
106 locations in 24 states (Southeast, West, and North)
Someone at Atlanta Bread must be a Seinfeld fan: There are muffin tops (half the size of regular muffins) on its breakfast menu—the low-fat pumpkin muffin top has only 200 calories, compared with 320 to 640 calories for regular-size muffins. This innovative bakery also features whole-grain bread, fresh sandwiches (including paninis), and hearty, healthy soups and salads. It earned high marks for great sides, too, including fire-roasted black bean and corn salad.
The entree salads like Salsa Fresca Salmon Salad: grilled wild Alaskan salmon filet on greens with fire-roasted black bean and corn salsa and a pineapple-mango vinaigrette.
14,000 locations nationwide
Among the big burger-based chains, McDonald’s is leading the way in overhauling its menu to offer more heart- and waist-friendly fare. Take the Happy Meals, which you can order with a side of apple dippers (with low-fat caramel) instead of fries and low-fat milk or fruit juice instead of soda.
The chain’s 260- to 270-calorie Snack Wraps (choose grilled chicken) for protein without a lot of unwanted carbs.
#9 Einstein Bros Bagels
649 locations nationwide
OK, we all know that bagels are pretty high-carb, but slathering cream cheese or butter on them is what really gets you into trouble. No worries at this chain: Einstein Bros. offers healthier alternatives like reduced-fat shmears, hummus, and peanut butter—a great way to add healthy fat to breakfast (or lunch). It also serves a Good Grains bagel that has an impressive 4 grams of fiber.
For kids, our panel of judges gave a thumbs-up to the bagel dog (picture a Pig-in-a-Blanket with bagel-style bread as the “blanket”) and a fruit salad upgrade.
The high-fiber Veg Out on a sesame seed bagel.
#10 Taco Del Mar
270 locations in 22 states
You may have noticed that Baja-style Mexican cuisine—think: fresh ingredients and fish instead of beef and chicken—is a growing trend. Whole grains are easy to get here, with whole-wheat tortillas available as an alternative in burritos. The chain gets high marks for its new 320-calorie chicken burrito, available at most locations. Our judges were also impressed that Taco Del Mar banned lard from its beans and bakes its fish and taco shells instead of frying them.
The 460- to 555-calorie Mondito-size burrito, which fills you up but keeps fat and sodium in check.
Unfortunately, eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium, and fat for an entire day or more. Eating fast food on a regular basis can lead to a host of different health problems. As an informed customer, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the price and convenience of fast food restaurants.
When is it healthy to eat fast food?
Typically, fast food is low in nutrition and high in trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, and calories. The American Heart Association recommends we consume less than 2 grams of trans fat per day. So in one side order, you’ve just eaten more than five days’ worth of heart-busting trans fat! A single meal of a Double Whopper with cheese, a medium order of fries, and an apple pie from Burger King contains more saturated fat than the American Heart Association recommends we consume in two days. Finding a healthy, well-balanced meal in most fast food restaurants can be a challenge, but there are always choices you can make that are healthier than others. Learning to make healthier choices at fast food restaurants Making healthier choices at fast food restaurants is easier if you prepare ahead by checking guides that show you the nutritional content of meal choices at your favorite restaurants. Free downloadable guides help you evaluate your options. You can also choose to patronize restaurants that focus on natural, high quality food. If you don’t prepare ahead of time, common sense guidelines help to make your meal healthier. For example, a seemingly healthy salad can be a diet minefield when smothered in high-fat dressing and fried toppings, so choose a salad with fresh veggies, grilled toppings, and a lighter dressing. Portion control is also important, as many fast food restaurants serve enough food for several meals in the guise of a single serving.
Tips for making healthy Fast Food choices at fast food restaurants.
Make careful menu selections – pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin, or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats, or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats. Drink water with your meal. One 32-oz Big Gulp of regular cola packs about 425 calories, which can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. “Undress” your food. When choosing items, be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run.
Tips for what to AVOID at fast food restaurants Supersized portions. An average fast food meal can run to 1000 calories or more, so choose a smaller portion size, order a side salad instead of fries, and don’t supersize anything. Salt. Fast food restaurant food tends to be very high in sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure. Bacon. It’s always tempting to add bacon to sandwiches and salads for extra flavor, but bacon has very few nutrients and is high in fat and calories. Buffets – even seemingly healthy ones like salad bars. If you do choose buffet dining, opt for fresh fruits, salads with olive oil & vinegar or low-fat dressings, broiled entrees, and steamed vegetables. Watch your fast food sodium intake High salt/sodium intake is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. A study by the New York City Health Department surveyed 6,580 meals bought at fast food restaurant chains and found that: About 57% of the meals exceeded the 1,500-mg daily sodium level. Fried chicken outlets including KFC and Popeye’s were the worst offenders, with 83% of meals exceeding 1500 mg of sodium and 55% of the meals surpassing 2,300 mg of sodium. At only one of the 11 chains included in the study, Au Bon Pain, did more than 7% of meals contain less than 600 mg, the FDA’s “healthy” sodium level for meals. Even those eating lower calorie meals were likely to exceed their daily sodium limit within a single meal.
Like me, they were intrigued by a fast food burrito with about 350 calories, or less than half as many as a Fiesta Taco Salad bowl. Twelve years after the publication of “Fast Food Nation” and nearly as long since Morgan Spurlock almost ate himself to death, our relationship with fast food has changed. My experience at the airport only confirmed what I’d been hearing for years from analysts in the fast food industry. After the success of companies like Whole Foods, and healthful (or theoretically healthful) brands like Annie’s and Kashi, there’s now a market for a fast food chain that’s not only healthful itself, but vegetarian-friendly, sustainable and even humane. And, this being fast food: cheap. You can try my recipes for a fast, low-calorie burger, fries and shake. In recent years, the fast food industry has started to heed these new demands. Billions of dollars have been invested in more healthful fast food options, and the financial incentives justify these expenditures. About half of all the money spent on food in the United States is for meals eaten outside the home. Numbers are tricky to pin down for more healthful options because the fast food industry doesn’t yet have a category for “healthful.” The industry refers to McDonald’s and Burger King as “quick-serve restaurants”; Chipotle is “fast casual”; and restaurants where you order at the counter and the food is brought to you are sometimes called “premium fast casual.” Subway, Taco Bell (I may be partial to them, but really. . .), McDonald’s and their ilk make up the Junk Food sector. Chipotle combines the best aspects of Nouveau Junk to create a new category that we might call Improved Fast Food. At Chipotle, the food is fresher and tastes much better than traditional fast food. It’s fairly easy to eat vegan there, but those burritos can pack on the calories. It’s not shabby for assembly-line steam-table Mexican food. Chipotle no longer stands alone in the Improved Fast Food world: Chop’t, Maoz, Freshii, Zoës Kitchen and several others all have their strong points. Veggie Grill is a six-year-old Los Angeles–based chain with 18 locations. Technically, it falls into the “premium fast casual” category. The restaurants are pleasantly designed and nicely lighted and offer limited service. The food is strictly vegan, though you might not know it at first. Kevin Boylan and T. K. Pillan, the chain’s founders, are vegans themselves. The “chickin” in the “Santa Fe Crispy Chickin” sandwich is Gardein, a soy-based product that has become the default for fast food operators looking for meat substitutes. When I first entered a Veggie Grill, I expected a room full of skinny vegans talking about their vegan-ness. Veggie Grill won best American restaurant in the 2012 Los Angeles Times readers’ poll, and sales are up 16 percent in existing stores compared with last year. Veggie Grill is being underwritten partly by Brentwood Associates, a small private-equity firm that’s invested in various consumer businesses, including Zoës Kitchen, a chain that offers kebabs, braised beans and roasted vegetables. I admire Veggie Grill, but while making “chickin” from soy is no crime, it’s still far from real food. I have a long-running argument with committed vegan friends, who say that Americans aren’t ready for rice and beans, or chickpea-and-spinach stew, and that places like Veggie Grill offer a transition to animal-and-environment-friendlier food. Why feed the grain to tortured animals to produce lousy meat when you can process the grain and produce it into “meat”? On another level, the goal should be fast food that’s real food, too. Much of what I ate at Veggie Grill was fried and dense, and even when I didn’t overeat, I felt as heavy afterward as I do after eating at a Junk Food chain. And while that Santa Fe Crispy Chickin sandwich with lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado and vegan mayo comes in at 550 calories, 200 fewer than Burger King’s Tendercrisp chicken sandwich, the “chickin” sandwich costs $9. It’s a luxury compared with most chains, and a pleasant one, but the combination of the food’s being not quite real and the price’s being still too high means Veggie Grill hasn’t made the leap to Good Fast Food. During my time in Los Angeles, I also ate at Native Foods Café, a vegan chain similar to Veggie Grill, where you can get a pretty good “meatball” sub (made of seitan, a form of wheat gluten), and at Tender Greens, which, though it is cafeteria-style (think Chipotle with a large Euro-Californian menu), flirts with the $20 mark for a meal. In Culver City, I visited Lyfe Kitchen (that’s “Love Your Food Everyday”; I know, but please keep reading). Lyfe has the pedigree, menu, financing, plan and ambition to take on the major chains. The company is trying to build 250 locations in the next five years, and QSR has already wondered whether it will become the “Whole Foods of fast food.” Lyfe, not unlike life, isn’t cheap. Lyfe isn’t vegan, so much as protein-agnostic. You can get a Gardein burger or a grass-fed beef burger, “unfried” chicken or Gardein “chickin.” Veggie Grill, Lyfe Kitchen, Tender Greens and others have solved the challenge of bringing formerly upscale, plant-based foods to more of a mass audience. Many people rely on that Tendercrisp because they need to, and our country’s fast food problem won’t be solved — no matter how much innovation in vegan options or high-tech ovens — until the prices come down and this niche sector is no longer niche. I wanted to focus on Mediterranean food, largely on plant-based options like falafel, hummus, chopped salad, grilled vegetables and maybe a tagine or ratatouille. Soda consumption is down; meat consumption is down; sales of organic foods are up; more people are expressing concern about G.M.O.s, additives, pesticides and animal welfare. Good Fast Food doesn’t need to be vegan or even vegetarian; it just ought to be real, whole food. In the meantime, I’m throwing out a few recipes to the entire fast food world to help build a case that it’s possible use real ingredients to create relatively inexpensive, low-calorie, meat-free, protein-dense, inexpensive fast food.
Guides can help you make healthier meal choices
Many fast food chains post nutritional information on their websites. Unfortunately, these lists are often confusing and hard to use. Instead, you can go to other websites that provide health and nutrition information, but in easier to follow formats. Some publish downloadable comparison guides, inexpensive pocket guides, or mobile apps for your smart phone. There are also many websites geared towards making healthy choices at restaurants depending on your specific dietary needs, whether your concern is diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or weight management. See Resources and References section below for more information on finding guides to help you make healthier meal choices. Healthier fast food at burger chains Figuring out healthier options at your favorite fast food burger chain can be tricky. A typical meal at a burger joint consists of a “sandwich”, some fries, and a drink, which can quickly come in at over 1700 calories for something like Burger King’s Triple Whopper with a large fries and a 16 oz. soda. A better option would be a regular single patty burger, small fries, and water, which is about 500 calories. Alternatively you may enjoy a veggie burger smothered in grilled onion and mushrooms. Or if you want a large beef burger, then skip the fries and soda and have a side salad and water instead. For a healthier fast food option at a burger restaurant try: McDonald’s Hamburger: 260 calories, 9g fat (3.5g saturated fat). Wendy’s Jr. Hamburger: 280 calories, 9g fat (3.5g saturated fat). Healthier fast food at fried chicken chains Although certain chains have been advertising “no trans fats” in their food, the fact is that fried chicken can pack quite a fattening punch. According to the restaurant’s nutrition info, just a single Extra Crispy Chicken breast at KFC has a whopping 440 calories, 27 grams of fat, and 970 mg of sodium. A healthier choice is the drumstick, which has 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 370 mg of sodium. Alternatively, if you like the breast meat, take off the skin and it becomes a healthy choice at 140 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 520 mg of sodium. Some tips for making smarter choices at fast food chicken restaurants: For a healthier fast food option at a fried chicken restaurant try: KFC Original Recipe Chicken Breast (with breading and skin removed) and a side of green beans: 190 calories, 4.5g fat (1.5g saturated fat).
Healthy fast food: Mexican chains
Fast food chains that specialize in tacos or burritos can be caloric minefields or they can be a good option for finding healthy fast food. Rice, beans, salsa, and a few slices of fresh avocado can make a very healthy fast food meal. But adding cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips can turn even a good meal into an unhealthy one. Also, it’s very important to remember portion control in these types of restaurants, as many offer enormous serving sizes. Simply eat half and take the rest home for another meal.
Several chains, like Taco Bell and Baja Fresh, have “healthy” menu options that feature less fat and fresher ingredients. For a healthier fast food option at a Mexican restaurant try: Taco Bell Taco Salad (without the shell, sour cream, or cheese): 330 calories, 13g fat (5g saturated fat)
Healthy fast food: Sub sandwich chains
Many of us love the many different types of sandwiches available: hot, cold, wrapped, foot long—often served with a salad instead of fries. While their ads promote the health benefits of sandwich shops, studies have found that many people eat more calories per meal at a sub shop than at McDonalds. This may be because people feel so virtuous eating “healthy” as the ads suggest, they reward themselves with chips, sodas, or extra condiments that can turn a healthy meal into an unhealthy one. You can make healthier choices at a deli or sub shop but you need to use some common sense. For a healthier fast food option at a sub sandwich restaurant try: Subway 6″ Roast Beef Sub (on whole wheat bread with veggies, no mayo): 290 calories, 5g fat (2g saturated fat)
Healthy Asian food Asian cultures tend to eat healthily, with an emphasis on veggies and with meat used as a “condiment” rather than the focus of the meal. Unfortunately, many Western versions of these ethnic foods tend to be much higher in fat and calories – so caution is needed. A great tip for all Asian restaurants – use the chopsticks! You’ll eat more slowly, since you can’t grasp as much food with them at one time as you can with your normal fork and knife. For a healthier fast food option at a Chinese restaurant try: Panda Express Tangy Shrimp with a side of mixed veggies: 260 calories, 7.5 g fat (1.5g saturated fat).
Healthy Italian fast food The anti-carbohydrate revolution has given Italian food a bad rap, but Italian is actually one of the easiest types of cuisine to make healthy. Stay away from fried, oily, or overly buttery food, as well as thick crust menu items, and you can keep your diet goals intact. Watch out for the following terms, which are common sources of high fat and calories: Alfredo, carbonara, saltimbocca, Parmigiana, lasagna, manicotti, stuffed (all have heavy amounts of cream and cheese). Generally Italian places have lots of veggies in their kitchen so it’s easy to ask to have extra veggies added to your meal. For a healthier fast food option at a pizza restaurant try: Pizza Hut Fit ‘N Delicious Chicken & Veggie Pizza (2 slices): 208 calories, 9g fat (4g saturated fat) Chains with natural, high-quality fast food Whether you choose to eat fast food at a McDonald’s, a Subway, or a local deli, there are always menu choices that are healthier than others. However, some fast food restaurants offer a greater variety of healthy menu choices than others. In a recent survey of the 100 largest fast food chains in America,Health magazine compiled a list of the healthiest fast food restaurants. The top 5 were: Panera Bread – provides a wide variety of healthy menu options, half-sized portions, and organic chicken. Plenty of healthy choices on the kids’ menu, too, but avoid the sticky buns on display at the counter. Jason’s Deli – uses organic ingredients and encourages portion control by offering smaller meals at a discounted price. Beware of the sodium content of their sandwiches, though. Au Bon Pain – serves healthy, low calories soups, salads, and sandwiches using whole grains and organic chicken. Nutritional information is posted at each restaurant, so it’s a good idea to check the sodium content before ordering. Noodles and Company – cooks noodle bowls using healthy Soybean oil, fresh vegetables and organic meat and tofu. The desserts, however, are much less healthy. Corner Bakery and Café – offers healthy breakfast choices, plus healthy salads, sandwiches, and soup. Check their website for nutritional information first, though, as it’s not available in the restaurants.
Burgers, tacos, pizza — find out which of your fast food favorites aren’t so bad after all. Our list includes picks from KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and more, plus healthy fast food desserts.
Kentucky Fried Chicken Picks Is the drive-thru the fast lane to a heart attack? On the one hand, it’s true: One slipup (“okay, sure, I’ll take the large fries and apple pie with that”) and you can add more than 800 high-in-saturated-fat calories to your takeout. But there is good news. Some of the burgers, sides, sandwiches, and even desserts aren’t as bad for you as you might think. In fact, some are downright light! Here are 24 fast food picks that are all figure-friendly — unless of course you order them all at once. KFC Mashed Potatoes with Gravy 120 calories 4.5g fat, 1g saturated fat Even when made with milk and butter (some KFCs use these ingredients; others don’t), mashed is always better than fried. Don’t worry about the gravy; it adds only a few calories and just half a gram of fat. KFC Original Recipe Drumstick 140 calories 8g fat, 2g saturated fat Order one regular drumstick (avoid the Extra Crispy, which is just fast food speak for “extra high in saturated and trans fats”), and fill up on the chain’s better-for-you sides, such as corn on the cob, baked beans, or a small helping of the next two choices on our list. KFC Potato Salad 180 calories 9g fat, 1.5g saturated fat Made with red bell peppers, onions, celery, and about a tablespoon of mayo, this is a tasty, trans-fat-free alternative to the deep-fried Potato Wedges. KFC Cole Slaw 190 calories 11g fat, 2g saturated fat Cole slaw’s two main ingredients have a lot going for them: Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber; carrots are chock-full of vitamins A, K, and C and potassium. KFC Honey BBQ Sandwich 300 calories 6g fat, 1.5g saturated fat Don’t let the thick, sweet sauce fool you: This Southern specialty is actually the lowest-calorie full-size sandwich on the menu.
McDonald’s Picks McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets with Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce 4 pieces, 220 calories 10g fat, 2g saturated fat The sauce is low in calories and sodium. But since you get only four measly nuggets, go ahead and add a Fruit & Walnut Salad (310 calories, with yogurt dressing) for additional sustenance. McDonald’s Hamburger 260 calories 9g fat, 3.5g saturated fat This less-than-two-ounce burger is pretty small, so it’s one of the diet-friendliest sandwiches in the biz. Pair it with a Side Salad drizzled with a packet of Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (60 calories total) and a bottle of water. McDonald’s Egg McMuffin 300 calories 12g fat, 4.5g saturated fat With its lean Canadian style bacon and English muffin, this breakfast sandwich is a better choice than the 500-calorie Sausage Biscuit with Egg. McDonald’s McChicken 370 calories 16g fat, 3.5g saturated fat Its size and small portion of mayo mean this crispy, fried sandwich is lower in calories than the grilled-chicken options.
Taco Bell Picks Taco Bell Fresco Style Crunchy Taco 150 calories 7g fat, 2.5g saturated fat When you ask for your meal Fresco Style, you get fresh salsa (packed with cancer-fighting lycopene) instead of fatty cheese and sauce. Pair your taco with a safe but filling side (like beans or rice), so you won’t be hungry again before you leave the parking lot.
Taco Bell Fresco Style Grilled Steak Soft Taco 170 calories 5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat Although red meat does deliver a little fat, it also adds protein, zinc, iron, and vitamin B12. Taco Bell Fresco Style Tostada 200 calories 6g fat, 1g saturated fat A flat corn shell topped with fiber-rich beans, Fiesta salsa, tangy red sauce, and lettuce makes a healthy taco alternative. Taco Bell Gordita Nacho Cheese — Chicken 270 calories 10g fat, 2.5g saturated fat Not all our picks come from the healthier Fresco Style menu. This one is smothered in cheese but still manages to squeeze in under 300 calories.
Pizza Hut and Wendy’s Picks Pizza Hut 12″ Fit ‘N Delicious Pizza with Diced Chicken, Red Onion, and Green Pepper 2 slices, 340 calories 9g fat, 4g saturated fat A dietitian’s dream: thin crust, lean chicken, and vegetable toppings, plus half the cheese of the regular Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza. Pizza Hut 12″ Veggie Lover’s Hand-Tossed Pizza 1 slice, 220 calories 6g fat, 3g saturated fat One slice is sometimes just as satisfying as more, as long as it has a thick crust and a full allotment of cheese. Though not quite as light as the Fit ‘N Delicious, the Hut’s Hand-Tossed pies are still lower in calories than its deep-dish pan pizzas.
Wendy’s Jr. Hamburger 280 calories 9g fat, 3.5g saturated fat This junior-size sandwich is almost as low-cal as the McDonald’s burger. Skip the side of fries and have a Low-Fat Strawberry Flavored Yogurt with Granola Topping (250 calories) for dessert. Wendy’s Large Chili 330 calories 9g fat, 3.5g saturated fat Packed with folate-, iron- and fiber-rich beans, the 12-ounce serving will fill you up. Round out your meal with a Mandarin Orange Cup (80 calories).
Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grill 360 calories 7g fat, 1.5g saturated fat It has half the fat of Wendy’s other non-burger sandwiches, thanks to Honey Mustard Sauce instead of mayo and grilling instead of deep-frying.
Diet Friendly Desserts: McDonald’s Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone 150 calories 3.5g fat, 2g saturated fat With their velvety vanilla flavor, McDonald’s perfectly sized cones don’t taste like they’re made with reduced fat ice cream — but thank goodness they are!
Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists 160 calories 5g fat, 1g saturated fat The airy puffed corn underneath all the cinnamon and sugar makes this treat guilt-free. Wendy’s Jr. Frosty 160 calories 4g fat, 2.5g saturated fat Thicker than a milk shake but thinner than a sundae, the four-ounce Jr. Frosty packs plenty of satisfaction into a quarter-pint cup.
KFC Lil’ Bucket Strawberry Shortcake 200 calories 6g fat, 4g saturated fat With significantly fewer calories than most other KFC desserts, this is one sweet find. Pizza Hut Cherry Dessert Pizza 1 slice, 240 calories 3.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat It’s not as virtuous as a bowl of cherries, but Pizza Hut’s dessert pie has half the calories and less than a quarter of the fat of homemade cherry pie. KFC Lemon Meringue Pie Slice 240 calories 9g fat, 2.5g saturated fat Traditional shortening- or butter-packed crusts make home-baked lemon meringue pie a dieter’s nightmare. But KFC’s lemon meringue has fewer than three grams of artery-clogging saturated fat, putting it a slice above the rest.
When a person is thinking about dieting for weight loss, they’re always being told to stay away from fast food. This is really some good advice, as it’s definitely not good to try to diet and still eat fast food. It’s just too dangerous, and a lot of the foods that these restaurants serve can quickly destroy a person’s diet. Do you completely just forego your low carb fast food? No, as there are some foods that won’t make you cheat on your diet, as there really is such a thing as low carb fast food.
Grilled Sandwiches and Salads
Even at many fast food restaurants, you’ll find that they have some good options for low-carb eating. They have a grilled chicken sandwich that is only 2 grams of carbohydrate per patty. While they are assuredly loaded with things that aren’t great for any diet, they can really work out in a pinch. The restaurants also have salads that will help, and they’re a preferred choice since it will enable you to get the proper vegetables that you need in a day. Other Restaurant Choices
There are also lots of other restaurants where you can dine and order from the “lean menu”. Even though there will be tempting dishes available, you’ll want to ensure that you stick to the aspect of the menu that is geared for those looking to lose weight or at least maintain their current figure. If by chance you do not see any options on the menu for a low carb fast food, then you can inquire about having a custom meal prepared based on one of the available dishes, but with less additives and fat. It doesn’t hurt to inquire about such options while dining out.
By all means, you should ensure that you stay disciplined and focused, and not be overtaken with the temptation to cheat your diet.
Foods You Need to Use to Make Tasty Low Carb Fast Food.
Obtaining a large portion of nutrients from fruits and vegetables played a big part in protecting these folks keeping them trim and youthful. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are considered a low carb fast food, high in volume, and loaded with critically important nutrients. Substituting beans and lentils for meat is a great way to lower the power density of a meal. Beans and lentils are more filling than meat as a result of 1 / 4 pound of beans has a better extent than a quarter pound of meat.
Eating vegetables and fruit can turn off cravings for other types of low carb fast food and short circuit the meals addiction cycle, serving to supply a boost to weight loss efforts. If other folks select to eat meals that don’t contain the nutrients needed, the frame will proceed to ship the signal that more eating is needed.
Fruits and greens are nutrition powerhouses containing the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fiber, antioxidants and protein needed for just the right well being and avoidance of disease. When they are eaten, the body is happy and the sign to proceed eating is extinguished. The ordinary individual eats a diet containing at best 8% end result of fruit and vegetables.
This does not provide sufficient vitamins to extinguish the sign to eat more. If the other 92% of food eaten is composed of terrible processed meals or anything claiming to be low carb fast food or low fat, the signal to keep on eating is still strong.
Fruits and greens must make up the most important food in the diet, with different foods brought in small amounts. To gain full spectrum nutrition, eat numerous colourful vegatables and fruits at each and every meal. Awesome greens; These greens should make up the foundation of your daily vegetable intake. Dark green leafy greens reminiscent of spinach, chard, turnip greens, mustard and collard greens, and deep inexperienced lettuces, are prime in folate, a B diet that displays promising results in preventing middle disease.
Awesome reds; Red fruits and vegetables are chocked full with lycopene, the carotenoid that gives top levels of coverage against prostate cancer. Find lycopene in pink bell peppers, watermelon, pink or purple grapefruit, and tomatoes.
Awesome oranges;Orange vegetables and fruit are top in beta carotene, outstanding for its skill to stop cancers of the lung, esophagus and stomach.
Awesome browns; This class is all about beans and lentils.
Low Carb Fast Food - How to Make Hamburgers From Ground Beef.
If you want to satisfy your family’s craving for this popular low carb fast food without the rapidly rising costs and minus the additives you should try making your burgers at home. The process is simple and quick and the result is a juicy, flavorful burger that can stand alone, or stand up to the additions of your favorite toppings like, lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, bacon or whatever else you desire.
1 to 2 pounds ground beef – You may choose a variety with a low percentage of fat if you like such as a ground round but some fat content will give you a better tasting burger.
1 cup bread crumbs, soft and finely crumbled
2 teaspoons steak sauce
1 to 2 packets of onion soup mix OR if you are limiting salt in your diet use one medium onion chopped finely, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix the eggs, crumb, steak sauce, and onion soup packet or onions and seasonings into the meat mixture until the bread crumbs are fully incorporated. Form into patties. Cook the burgers on a medium hot grill, turning once until done, depending on how you prefer your burgers. I would suggest you always cook the burger to at least a medium-well( a slightly pink, warm, center).
Cook in a pan on the stove over a medium heat. Serve with your favorite garnishes such as lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, and so on. While the trusty hamburger is the all time favorite, you can use this basic recipe to make larger hamburger steaks that you serve with vegetables, potatoes and a fork, or you can serve with a gravy. Unlike those low carb fast food burgers, as good as they may be, the hamburger you make at home has no added artificial ingredients and you can control the amount of salt you add.
We now know that salt is one of the ingredients we eat that lead to heart problems and high blood pressure. An added bonus is the cost savings you will see by making your burgers at home. A typical meal for four at a popular hamburger restaurant can run about $30 on average. If you choose the ‘meal deals’ the bill can be even more. I ran through a local low carb fast food place the other day for a fruit smoothie drink and the first thing I heard over the driver through intercom was, ‘Can I interest you in our $10.95 meal deal of…’What? We are talking burgers and fries folks. Add some oven baked and seasoned fries and a side of baked beans and you have a summer party menu any time of the year.
Low Carb Fast Food Snack.
Most people will focus on their main meals for the day when preparing their menus. low carb fast food Snacks are often overlooked. In fact, this should also entail crucial considerations. The unhealthy choices for food intake are the ones people pick for their low carb fast food snacks like junk foods that are bountiful in preservatives.
Make sure that you stick to the low carb fast food snack.
1. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are not only for breakfast. They can also go well with your snack preparations. You can easily prepare a hard-boiled egg to make a sandwich. Just be sure to choose the flax or wheat bread so you are completely low carb. You can also prepare slices of hard-boiled egg.
Cheese is also a good choice for the low carb fast food snack. There are manufacturers that can process the cheese so that the carb contents are very much minimized. You can serve it in various ways like sliced or shredded. You also have a good choice from the cheese varieties.
3. Fresh Veggies
There are vegetables that you can enjoy as low carb fast food snacks. Mushrooms and radishes are perfect snacks when you feel like feasting. Even broccoli, celery and cauliflower will taste good when served with a low carb dip.
4. Good Fats
There are nuts that are high in vitamins and minerals and have relatively good fats. These are low in carbohydrates and are considered as healthy consumption.
Enjoying a fun low carb fast food is possible with the low carb diet. Just know the right foods to feast on and you can surely maintain your diet without sacrificing your taste buds.
Healthy Lunch Ideas are the best way to stay fit and healthy in today’s fast paced and mostly automated lifestyle. An ideal lunch diet should consist of low-fat protein and high carbohydrates to keep you charged the complete afternoon. So here we have come up with some healthy lunch ideas that are quick to make and high in nutrition.
If you have no time to prepare course meals and you love sandwiches, than you can try a variety of sandwiches using our healthy lunch ideas. To make your lunch wholesome try whole grain bread, wraps or pitas. Fill in the sandwiches with lean foods like lean meats, cheese, tuna fish, smoked turkey or sliced eggs. To be a little more experimental, check out some of the healthy lunch ideas listed below.
Chicken and Fruit Salad from our healthy lunch ideas is a refreshing lunch meal for summers. Take ¼ cup low fat sour cream, add to it poppy seeds, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk them until smooth, keep apart a little for dressing and mix salad green or tossed green vegetables to the mixture. Top it up with seasonal fruits, feta and walnuts and drizzle the remaining sour cream mix. A delicious lunch meal is ready to lend you enough energy to last through the afternoon.
Take two hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped. To make your lunch complete, add cocktail bread or any other bread slices that you like in the fourth container.
For people with a sweet tooth, take a look at this healthy lunch dessert recipe of Apple Confit. Take 3-4 firm apples.
The Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Diet.
You don’t know if you should go for a low carbohydrate vegetarian diet or a high protein low carbohydrate diet but you know that you want your food to be low Carb fast food lunch. For dinner, take a low carbohydrate vegetable diet. For Low Carb Diet Lunch you would need a high protein low carbohydrate diet as this is the time where you need a higher energy level.
Taking a very high Carb diet lunch or a very low carbohydrate diet lunch won’t be good for you. In breakfast and your Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Diet take in enough Carb to you’re your body work actively, eat even lower Carb food or no Carb food for dinner because Carbs turn into fats and since you go to sleep soon after dinner, your body wouldn’t need that for energy.
Exercising burns you fat stores. Make a chart for your health including, low Carb breakfast, Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Diet, and low Carb Dinner along with exercises.
Creating a High Protein, Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Diet Menu.
There are many reasons why people do a high protein, low carb fast food lunch diet. If you are one of those who want to slim down by going the high protein low carb diet route, you should have a clear plan of how to achieve your goal by knowing what high protein, low carb diet menu to have.
As for lunch on this high protein, low carb fast food lunch diet menu, you can always rely on some soup and salad combination – as they will be high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Fish meats will provide the protein that your body needs and still keep your diet healthy. You need not worry about putting rice on your high protein, low carb diet menu, as long as you pay attention to the portion size.
If you can make sure that your high protein, low carb diet menu contain 1,500 – 1,600 calories per day, then you are on your way for a successful diet.
Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Recipes for You and Me.
If you are a working man or woman on a low carb diet, meal times often pose a big challenge, especially lunch. On a busy workday, how on earth will you find time to go to a low carb restaurant or cook two special meals?
Low carb diets are based on the principle that a diet low in carbohydrates leads to decreased production of body’s insulin, resulting in consumption of fat stores as energy source. To avoid these speed bumps and the ensuing guilt pangs, the best option is to plan your meals by learning about low carb recipes.
Low carb does not mean eating bland food. You can eat pizzas too by using vegetable toppings and cheese on a small-carb thin crust!
Low carb clubs or support groups are also a great way to meet like minded people and get some ideas for meal plans. You can swap recipes, discuss your diet plans and trade information about stores which sell small-carb snacks at the monthly meetings.
Raid the library
Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Bags save Time, Money and Calories.
From ways to save money to new ideas on nutrition, these hot topics always draw attention. Promotional lunch bags, given as gifts to employees during recognition week events or as part of a motivation initiative can inspire them as well as help them save money and calories. These custom printed lunch box can also save the company money and time.
Staff members who get an insulated lunch bag as a gift of recognition for Teacher Appreciation Week, Nurses Week or other appreciation event will be inspired to save the money they would normally put out for a burger and fries. Holding a casserole recipe contest to get people motivated about brown bagging a lunch is a way to get people excited and start thinking about how much money they can save. Rather than having the award is a gift card to a restaurant, give out a gift card to the local supermarket, supporting the cook at home cause.
Health implications of eating fast food are well documented. Promotional lunch bags may be low cost gifts to hand out, but they go a long way towards guiding employees to a healthier lifestyle. A hamburger prepared at home is infinitely more nutritious than one bought at a fast food establishment, and an insulated lunch sack can keep it fresh during the morning hours. Even a cold lunch of a deli sandwich and fresh fruit made at home is a better option than a visit to the local deli. Controlled portions and fresh ingredients make all the difference.
Companies can save time and money by utilizing these lunch bags as employee gifts. Staffs that bring their lunch to work are more inclined to eat in the employee lounge. By not having to go out to buy lunch, they enjoy more of their lunch break and are more likely to be on time when clocking back in. Healthier food results in a clearer mind, and more energy, reducing the need for that afternoon coffee run or snack. Additionally, the low cost of the lunch tote gift in relation to monetary incentives makes it a budget friendly employee incentive.
Low Carb Fast Foods Lunch List – Do and Don’ts.
Add to this artificial additives and large levels of salt which is really a key flavor increase in numerous manufactured foods, as well as the amount of low carbohydrate processed foods which usually deserve an area on your low carb fast food lunch list turns into an even shorter list.
One of the most prominent foods on your low carb fast food lunch list, naturally, will probably be high protein food like various meats, poultry, bass and seafood, eggs, mozzarella, seeds, and also nuts. Complicated Vs. Easy Carbs.
As you will have to try to eat easy carbohydrate food, like fresh fruits, in small amounts to the nutrients they supply, just make certain that you do not waste your easy carbohydrate food allowance on refined fruit. Additional easy carbohydrates are sugar, or even lactose, founding milk products, and sucrose, as well as table sugar, founding thousands of frosty, canned, and also boxed food items. Both berries and dairy deserve to reach you low carb fast food lunch list. Even though no breads are really a reduced carbohydrate food, you will find there’s place for whole fiber bread in your entire carbohydrate supply food listing for complete your low carb fast food lunch.