10 Best Fast Food Meals
Fast food breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you don't have to feel guilty about.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 7: Southwest Salad and Fruit n Yogurt Parfait (McDonalds)
The grilled chicken salads offered at a handful of fast food chains are among the best options -- as long as the chicken is grilled, not fried, and the dressing is light. One standout is McDonalds' Southwest Salad, which is the highest in fiber and protein and among the lowest in saturated fat among the major chains' chicken salads.
Another good choice would be the Chargrilled and Fruit Salad from Chick-fil-A, the lowest in fat and cholesterol. (Adding a large bowl of their Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup would make this a filling meal.) Not including dressing, the Burger King Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad is the lowest in calories, and Carl’s Jr.'s Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Salad is the lowest in sodium.
A meal of McDonald's Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (not including dressing) and Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait has 480 calories, 11 g fat (21% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1045 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, and 34 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 8. Veggie Burger and Garden Salad (Burger King)
Veggie burgers come and go at fast food outlets, and at this moment the best one is also the only one among major chains. You should order Burger King’s Veggie Burger without mayonnaise, but the cheese slice is up to you.
This surprisingly tasty sandwich, which is more like a garden burger than a soy substitute trying to be a beef burger, contributes 7 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein (25 if you opt for the cheese). Make it a meal by adding a garden salad.
A Burger King Veggie Burger (without mayonnaise), Garden Salad (no chicken) and half a packet of Light Italian Dressing totals 450 calories, 12.5 g fat (25% calories from fat), 4.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1320 mg sodium, 52.5 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 26 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 9: Veggie Delite Sandwich and Tomato Orzo Soup (Subway)
Another good vegetarian option, particularly if you watching your sodium intake, is the Veggie Delite Sandwich from Subway with 5 grams of fiber and 410 milligrams sodium. Pair it with a bowl of vegetable soup for a filling lunch.
A 6-inch Veggie Delite sandwich plus Fire-Roasted Tomato Orzo soup from Subway totals 360 calories, 3.5 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 14 g protein.
Healthy Fast Food Meal No 10: Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme and Pintos 'n' Cheese (Taco Bell)
Need a protein-and-fiber boost in the middle of the day? The Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme gives you 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein with only 21% calories from fat. The sodium is high, however – 1,410 milligrams. If you're looking for a vegetarian choice, Taco Bell's Fresco Bean Burrito has similar nutritional statistics, and goes great with a side of Mexican Rice.
A Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme with Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell has 520 calories, 15 g fat (26% calories from fat), 5.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 2140 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 17 g fiber, 28 g protein.
(Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the "Recipe Doctor" for WebMD and the author of numerous books on nutrition and health. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.)