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Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood on December 02, 2011

Sources

Kathleen Zelman, RD, MPH. Pereira, M. The Lancet, Jan. 1, 2005; vol 365: pp 36-42. Astrup, A. The Lancet, Jan. 1, 2005; vol 365: pp 4-5.

© 2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Let's face it. Despite our best intentions, most of us eat fast food.

Unfortunately, research has shown the more fast food we eat, the more calories we take in, and the more likely we are to be overweight.

But don't despair. As consumers become savvier about their dietary needs...

Yeah, I'd like to get a salad, please.

the fast-food giants are responding to the growing market.

Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, Jack in the Box, Subway and McDonalds all offer healthy salads, if you don't drench them with dressing.

Most of the fast food chains now offer detailed nutrition information on their websites.

At McDonald's you can read the fat grams and calories right on their place mats.

The grilled chicken sandwich is a great option...

WebMD's registered dietician, Kathleen Zelman, recently got the skinny on some of the leaner options being offered by Chick-Fil-A.

So tell us what makes this sandwich healthier than some other options.

One thing, we have a whole wheat bun. And it's a very lean piece of meat.

Although lower calorie, lower fat options like the grilled chicken sandwich haven't quite caught up to their deep fried counterparts, they are gaining.

And salads are fast becoming much more than just an afterthought.

The small french fry would be about 280 calories and the fruit and the side salad is about 60 calories, so they are saving a substantial amount.

Plus they are getting in their vegetable and fruit servings.

The dietary trend is making it easier for health conscious customers to stay on the straight-and-narrow.

I've been on diets before, mainly looking for low sugar and multi-grain breads. I like it that Chick-Fil-A has the whole grain bread and then the salad instead of the fries like I use to.

Some key considerations when ordering fast food—Opt for grilled meat. It has less fat and fewer calories than fried.

Substitute a fruit or veggie salad for fries or onion rings.

Use sauces and salad dressings sparingly. Half a packet is a good rule.

Look for whole grain buns and bagels over white bread.

Order water, low fat milk, or even a diet drink rather than sweetened beverages.

And whatever you do, don't supersize!

Remember the choice to eat healthier is more in your hands than in the bag.

For WebMD, I'm Damon Meharg.

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