Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurant Options In 2017

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Everybody’s busy these days and the price often paid is high calorie, high fat meals from a fast food restaurant.  Let’s face it. Fast food is convenient and easy on the budget. But is cheap and easy a price too high when it comes to your health? Think about the calories, sodium, fats, carbohydrates and sugar you consume in one fast food meal. For example, grabbing a supersized burger, fries and a drink can mean inhaling 1000 to 2000 calories. Depending on what and where you eat, you could consume a whole day of calories in just one meal.

But, don’t despair busy people. We’ve pulled together the information you need to eat better when dining on fast food.  Many restauranteurs have gotten the message about the importance of healthy eating and offer choices for the health conscious consumer. Here is our list of the top ten healthiest fast food restaurant options you might want to try.

Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Options

  1. Arby’s

From the food chain that has “the meats” you might not expect options that cater to the health minded foodie. Surprisingly, Arby’s salad menu offers good choices.

Our Recommendation: Chopped Farmhouse Salad with Roast Turkey

Calories: 230

Total Fat: 13g (7g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 870mg

Carbohydrates: 8g (2g dietary fiber, 5g sugars)

Protein: 22 g

  1. Boston Market

Let’s face it. Sometimes you want a fast food full meal. This restaurant chain offers several meals at 550 calories or less. In addition, you can use the nutrition calculator to see where you stand

Our recommendation: Quarter White Rotisserie Chicken (Skinless) with Fresh Steamed Vegetables and Cornbread

Calories: 430

Total Fat: 12g (3g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 830 mg

Carbohydrates: 38 g (4g dietary fiber, 15g sugars)

Protein: 44 g

  1. Chick-Fil-A

This chain offers several healthy meals on the menu.  The restaurant also has a tool to calculate the nutritional value of your food.

Our recommendation: Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Calories: 320

Total Fat: 5g (2g saturated fat, 0g trans)

Sodium: 800mg

Carbohydrates: 40g (3g fiber, 7g sugars)

Protein: 30g

  1. McDonald’s

Choices are plenty as long as you cut out the scrumptious sweet treats – sorry, no apple pie or ice cream. Plus, skip the salads if you plan to drench the healthy greens in dressing.

Our recommendation: Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken 

Calories: 270

Total Fat: 9g (1g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 760 mg

Carbohydrates: 18 g (5g dietary fiber, 10g sugars)

Protein: 32g

  1. KFC

Fried chicken is definitely on the menu, but so are grilled chicken options and healthy sides that include fresh vegetables.

Our recommendations: Grilled Chicken breast with a side of Green Beans

Calories: 180

Total fat: 6g (2g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 630mg

Total Carbohydrates: 0g

Protein: 31g

Expect about 25 more calories for the green beans. Use the nutrition calculator to stay on track when choosing other sides to go with the grilled chicken.

  1. Panera Bread

This eatery is known for fresh ingredients and a great selection of healthy sandwiches and salads. If you are a steak lover and want something more that steak and potatoes, look for a Panera sandwich that includes hearty, leafy greens. Also, look for lower calorie breads for your sandwich like tomato basil or sourdough.

Our recommendation: Steak and Arugula Sandwich with Sourdough Bread

Calories: 500

Total Fat: 19g (8g saturated, 0 trans)

Sodium: 900mg

Carbohydrates: 51g (3g dietary fiber, 9g sugars)

Protein: 24g

  1. Burger King

When you first glance at the Burger King Menu and spot the popular Whopper burger staring at you front and center, your mouth waters with delight. Your heart says go for it, but your brain says choose healthy. Fortunately, the menu has plenty of healthy meal options. Healthier options include the veggie burger and the grilled chicken selections.

Our recommendation: Garden Grilled chicken Salad with Tender Grill (no dressing)

Calories: 320

Total Fat: 14g (6g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 650mg

Total Carbohydrates: 16g (2g dietary fiber, 4g sugars)

Protein: 36g

  1. Subway

The great thing about sandwich chains like Subway is that you get to customize your sandwich order. This is a good thing and a great opportunity to make healthier choices.  For example, you can get a veggie sub with a vinegar dressing or you can add a protein like turkey breast. Subway puts the power in your hands where you can control what you eat with the use of this tool to calculate the nutritional value of your meal.

Our Recommendation: 6 inch Turkey Breast Sandwich with Lettuce, Tomatoes and Banana Peppers

Calories: 280

Total Fat: 3.5 g (1g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 760mg

Carbohydrates: 46g (5g dietary fiber, 7g sugars)

Protein: 18g

  1. Hardee’s

If you’ve got barbeque on the brain, then Hardee’s can be a surprisingly good choice for a healthy meal option. Depending on what you choose, the sodium content may be higher than recommended levels, but other nutritional values are on point. 

Our recommendation: Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Calories 340

Total fat: 4g (1g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 1020 mg

Total carbs: 40g (3g dietary fiber, 16g sugars)

Protein: 32g

  1. Taco Bell

With Taco Bell, it’s all about the veggies. And yes, a burrito stuffed with veggies is a great choice. This food chain has a menu dedicated to veggie meals.

Our recommendation: Cantina Power Bowl – Veggie

Calories: 460

Total fat: 18g (5g saturated, 0g trans)

Sodium: 1040 mg

Total Carbohydrates: 58g (13g dietary fiber, 3g sugars)

Protein: 16g

Fast food can be healthy if you make smart choices. Get to know the menu and your favorite eateries and find the alternatives that are low in sodium, fats, sugars and calories.  As much as you can, keep salad dressings light, cut back on breads, rice and pasta dishes that are not whole grain or equivalents.  You still have to watch the sodium content in many fast food options but you can get good selections based on calories, fat, protein and carbohydrates. Opt for these healthier dishes on our list.



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