Panera, Chick-Fil-A, Jimmy John's and Chipotle are all easy enough for me to make an ok choice.
I enjoy a lunch away from the office with my friends, dinner with my Scrabble club, and don't want to hide in the car with my cooler and brown bag lunch every time my child's travel ball team has a tournament so I choose what I think will best fit my plan for that day. I refuse to not be fun.
Anywhere I can get meat on a salad with avocado is good for me. Chipotle (somewhat large portions, even for me), Burrito Boyz, Pita Pit and Extreme Pita all offer salads with meat on top.
Fitness Minutes: (1,207)
1,172 11/5/14 2:24 A
Taco Bell is my guilty pleasure. Love the bean & cheese burrito. If you want sit down dining then Applebee's has a small steak ala carte - it's in the computer but not on the menu. Order with salad or baked potato. Denny;s has several items including eggs, salads, ad broiled fish. Chili's has a Carribbean salad with fruit peppers and chicken or grilled shrimp. Many places have soup like minestrone or maybe you can eat dairy? A cream soup now & then is okay.' I travel with a protein powder that comes in a package that mixes with water or fruit juice or milk. If you are just going pvernite or can take a small ice chest then hard boiled eggs, hummus and veggie stix can go with you. Muts, cheese etc even jerky travel well.
don't forget t walk around when you get there to burn more calories!
Panera is great - soups, salads, etc. And they post their nutritional info right up front and the calories on the menu board (at least, all of the ones that I have been in recently do). I also do stuff like prepackaged salads from the grocery store or the grocer's salad bar. Even a Greek yogurt and fruit will do in a pinch.
Fitness Minutes: (1,207)
1,172 7/22/14 12:34 A
I eat the grilled chicken snack wraps at McDonald's and order them with honey mustard sauce for flavor. With it I will get an iced coffee with no sweetener or bleach (powdered creamer.) I then take at least half home and drink the rest another day.
My favorite is a plain bean & cheese burrito from Taco Hell with a little salsa. Sometimes I will also order a soft chicken taco.
There are some fast food Mexican places that serve salads with pinto beans and I get guacamole and use as dressing.
If I must have a hamburger out then I go to Carl's Jr - I think it's Hardee's in the east - and get the famous Star burger - deluxe with tomatoes, lettuce & onions but no cheese.
There is also KFC grilled chicken with corn - order with no butter - & coleslaw.
Same if I go to Chili's - the offer steamed broccoli or corn for sides and I've ordered a side of cinnamon apples for dessert when I wanted something sweet. Both their sirloin steaks and chicken dishes are okay as are the burgers if you skip the fries and watch portions.
Applebee's has a small side steak I think 4 oz that's not on the menu but is in the cash register which you can order and get with a house salad for limited calories. I went low carb high protein for a while and memorized every menu on the planet in my world - this one stuck around.
Fitness Minutes: (712)
7/21/14 9:08 P
I like Chipotle. It's easy to cut calories if I need to and there are endless combination possibilities.
I eat out at restaurants at least twice each week with my boyfriend and it has been wonderful for us to get together and chat but it is tough on the waistline. I would also be interested to read what others choose. Lately as I have been watching my weight I am moving towards ordering salads and things with less bread. I got a Happy Buddha salad at Jack Astors the other day and it was delicious! it only had salad, goat cheese (you can eat only part of it if you choose to cut calories) , strawberrries, dressing, cashews, and grilled cheese.
Fitness Minutes: (505)
7/21/14 8:49 A
I get something off the "fresco" menu at taco bell: either two tacos for about 300 cal, or a burrito for 350. It might not be the healthiest in terms of nutrients, ect, but it works for my calorie ranges and still feels like a treat. :)
Panera's soups and salads, Burger Kings veggie burger, chipotle salad or veggie burrito bowl, subway veggie delight or an eggwhite delight (no canadian bacon) from McDonalds for breakfast.
7/20/14 11:38 P
I gotta say, I really do not have any fast food "go to" items at. all.
If I'm out shopping for the day and stuck eating lunch at the food court, I pick something from the sushi counter.
If i'm travelling, I take advantage of the grocery store deli area - you can get pre-made hard boiled eggs, portion-packed cheese, and decent salad-type offerings in many places.
If i need breakfast on the run, i will get a yogurt parfait or possibly a plain bagel with butter or cream cheese. I did once try a Starbucks breakfast sandwich and I have to say, it was actually pretty darn tasty and reasonable on the calories/nutrition, too.
If I *want* to eat fast-food just because I feel like that fast-food-flavour, I would probably choose a Big Mac. That's about a once-a-year event. Usually if i want a burger, I make it myself or get a proper one from a non-fast-food restaurant.
7/20/14 7:01 P
I was out of town for work last week so I ate out for EVERY meal.
I found I was happiest with Panera's salads. They were all delicious. Still pretty big servings too.
Taco Bell has quite a few options that are not that rough on a calorie budget.
Fitness Minutes: (930)
7/19/14 9:07 A
If I am traveling and fast food is pretty much the only option I tend to use one of these options: Wendy's Grilled Chicken Go-Wrap - 260 calories, 19 grams of protein (These are literally only about $1.50) Subway 6-inch Turkey w/cheese and veggies/no sauce - about 200 calories and 23 grams of protein Chick-fil-a Grilled Nugget kids meal (6-count) with fruit and milk - 240 calories and 24 grams of protein
7/18/14 11:52 P
El Pollo Loco for the 500 calorie chicken salad. I get it with dressings on the side and LOTS of pico de gallo.
Habit Burger! If you plan it, it can work. They have a really good salad and you can get chicken, line caught salmon, tuna filet, or tri tip. Or a burger. I skip cheese and sauce. I no longer get fries if I'm eating alone anywhere. I just don't need a whole order of fries.
Regarding in n out - don't forget to subtract about 50-80 more calories if you skip the spread. It really is not a bag choice. Their burgers are good so the protein wrap is a tasty choice.
I see Chick-Fil-A™ has grilled nuggets now. I haven't tried them yet, but will the next time I'm in there. I love their regular nuggets - real chicken!
Edited by: EXOTEC at: 7/18/2014 (21:45)
7/18/14 11:01 A
If it's breakfast time I will usually get a Panera Egg White, Avocado & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich and I don't really feel too badly about it. It has a decent amount of good stuff on it and it keeps me full and feeling fueled for a very long time.
I don't eat much true drive-through type fast food anymore because it's just not worth it to me. The stuff I like the taste of is the stuff that's horrible for you, and I don't care to eat a plain, weird tasting burger just because it fits into my allowances. I'd try yelp and see if you can find some local cafe type places where you're visiting. They're often about as fast as a chipotle/panera type place and you can usually find some really great food. My two favorite treats when I go downtown are an awesome Lebanese restaurant and a cute little vegan cafe (though I usually go nuts there and get a vegan milkshake too, so I try not to go too often).
Edited by: PIAQUA at: 7/18/2014 (11:02)
Fitness Minutes: (9,224)
7/18/14 10:42 A
I usually stop at Wendy's when I am on the road over a meal time. I have heard some people saying the Wendy's chili and baked potato are reasonable as far as calories go and should be Gluten Free. I usually get a small fosty to share with my hubby and a crispy chicken sandwich with only lettuce then we share a medium fry. Not the healthiest, but since its less than once a month I'm happy with it. Our other stop spot is Arby's. I usually go with the chicken tenders, but I'm thinking you could go with the plain roast beef just take off the bun, not sure if it would fill you though.
Using a Whole Foods type store is a really good idea. I have actually ran to Whole Foods to get lunch since its fairly inexpensive and good food. They typically have an eat in area. They also have really good pizza and soups.
I am mainly focusing on eating it less often. Sometimes I'll eat the child portions and other times I'll just let myself get whatever it is im craving. If I don't I will binge :/
Fitness Minutes: (347)
7/18/14 4:25 A
I'm going to admit it,I love greasy fast food so I am not going to stop having it on occasion.When I have it I will have the kids size options and I watch my calorie intake for the rest of the day.I also drink water with the meal instead of pop.
If I'm looking to eat "healthily" at a fast food restaurant, I'll usually choose a grilled chicken Southwest salad from McDonalds & use half the packet of dressing... or the grilled chicken Cantina bowl at Taco Bell (560 calories or something and pretty filling).
When I'm hungrier, I'll opt for a grilled chicken sandwich, no mayo, and sometimes leave some of the bun. If I get fries though, I always indulge. Can't resist them. XD
Right now I live 2 1/2 hours from the nearest fast food place, supermarket, drugstore, etc, and 5 hours from the nearest city big enough to have things like Target and Walgreens. I don't go often, but when I do, obviously I have to eat on the road.
And I get something at the grocery store. I have to go there anyway, so it doesn't take any extra time out of my trip, it saves me money, and I can always find something new and interesting to try. I often get one thing that's outside my usual budget, because it's still going to be cheaper than eating out.
A lot of grocery stores now have a little eat-in area for exactly this type of situation; some equip it with a microwave. That increases your options exponentially-- there are frozen dinners, microwavable packages of soup, and so on.
I think the grocery store is especially excellent if you have gluten sensitivity or other food allergies, because the labels are required to list all ingredients. In a restaurant, almost anything could have gluten in it, because a lot of flavorings and spice mixes have it. Even a grilled chicken dish might not be safe. When you buy something in the supermarket, you know exactly what you're getting.
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
3,293 1/11/14 10:03 P
I don't have a go-to fast food. I go to the grocery store, pack snacks, pack meals that can be microwaved in a hotel room/eaten picnic style...or I intentionally (and not for lack of planning) enjoy some real food in a sit-down restaurant. Often it isn't much more expensive than fast food, especially at lunch time. Or sometimes I have a real Mexican burrito just because I want to and because they don't seem to make me gain weight for whatever strange reason.
I often travel to the next-largest city in my area and I take that opportunity to have really good Vietnamese, Thai, Cuban or Peruvian food--things not available in my smaller city. These things are a bit out of my carb range but probably within my calorie range. I don't ENJOY fast food, so it isn't worth the splurge for me.
I suppose that if there were an abject emergency, I would have a turkey sandwich at Subway. I've also wondered if a child's meal at Chipotle would work...the food is relatively healthy, but the adult servings are about 3 times what I can/should eat.
1/11/14 11:11 A
I second the Chipotle burrito bowl. If you don't put sour cream (which I don't like anyway) you can make it pretty healthy and know that the ingredients are pretty natural... but the salt is high in all fast food so it should still be only once in a while. My once in a while was yesterday's lunch. :)
A&W is what I crave.. and occasionally Mcdonalds. I try to get the grilled chicken burger. A&W's is fantastic
Fitness Minutes: (1,751)
1/10/14 9:20 P
Chipotle or Pancheros burritos bowls (love, love, love) and Subway oven roasted chicken or veggie salads are my gotos. Also, Wendy's chili and baked potato.
Edited by: MUSCATDBQ at: 1/10/2014 (21:22)
1/7/14 9:54 P
McD's yogurt parfait or Papa Murphy's gourmet veg pizza with sausage (I know, sigh)
1/7/14 9:43 P
I've also gone to KFC or Popeye's for chicken. KFC has grilled chicken and you can get green beans on the side. Popeye's does unfried chicken strips and again you can get green beans on the side. However, if you have a real gluten sensitivity problem, these aren't real gluten-free options. If you're just staying away from bread and are stuck looking for a fast food choice, these are relatively low calorie options.
Fitness Minutes: (96)
1/7/14 9:28 P
ooh i loove wendy's cobb salads, (though they are a bit more expensive) you get a huge salad and it always tastes really fresh. Add a granola bar and maybe some fruit and its a perfect lunch! (and they have grilled chicken so you get some protein too!)
When I'm stuck out on the go with no snacks my go to place is a grocery store. Salads, fresh veggies, fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, heck you can even a half or whole roasted chicken at some stores. There is so much to choose from that's why I like going there.
Also I always keep dried unsweetened coconut and GF beef jerky in my car for emergencies because they don't spoil.
Fitness Minutes: (2,346)
64 1/7/14 7:49 P
Most any place you go to will have salad and will have grilled chicken.. Either a grilled chicken burger - wrapped in lettuce or put on a salad. You could also do a soup/salad combo too just choose light soups not the heavy cream ones.
Starting from your foundation: you say you're gluten-sensitive... so all the pizza and sandwiches and wraps, etc are going to be off the plan. So....
If you like chicken, there are several places which sell grilled chicken. Boston Market™ comes to mind. We have a fast-food-ish place here called Grandy's™ which has some sort of baked or rotisserie chicken. They have lots of good veggies too. I can't remember which (or both?) of these also carry things like baked ham or beef roast. For that matter, most groceries now sell meals, but I simply love those rotisserie chickens! yes, they can be a bit messy to pull apart... but then, so are many foods we buy to eat on-the-go. And the rotisserie chickens are at least better for you than sandwiches or burgers. Some Chinese food can be good - not the breaded ones, but there's plenty of sauteed or stir-fry dishes which aren't too bad (chicken cashew! beef-n-broccoli! mushroom pork! chicken w/string beans!). And they give you more food than a family of 4 can consume anyway, so one meal is certainly shareable. Same for some of the Mexican outlets. Fajitas seem like a pretty healthy option. Mostly meat and perhaps some onions, peppers, mushrooms... I've had luck with BBQ places, too. Just the shredded meat - but if I expect to be on the road, I always come prepared with my own (coconut) wraps, which makes just about any of the above choices very workable.
And, of course, salads can be fine, so long as you're careful. Some of the nutrition data on salads is really scary, from a weight-loss perspective! If I get a salad, I get a side salad with the dressing on the side. Hold the carbs. lol
I'm not sure why other posters are playing down cheeses, since cheese is a good nutritional value. I love to just carry along some string cheese wrapped in meats. Or some hard-boiled eggs. You could try some meat salads, if you have a lunch cooler to put a freezer pak into. Make your own wraps.
As another poster mentioned, most chain restaurants have websites you can access through your cell phone. The directions will bring you right to them! You can call ahead to many places (such as Chili's™ or Red Lobster™) to have food waiting to go. Both of those should have healthy choices, and tasty!
It's more challenging to eat on the road than at home. But it certainly isn't impossible to still eat well.
Edited by: EXOTEC at: 1/7/2014 (15:35)
Fitness Minutes: (30,906)
1/7/14 2:45 P
I usually get a burrito bowl (with chicken, brown rice, black beans, pico, lettuce, and cheese) from Chipotle. That sets me back just under 600 calories, according to their nutrition calculator, which almost always fits just fine into my dinner allotment. I could certainly change it up to get fewer calories, but this combination hits the spot. (Note that the sodium in it is pretty outrageous, but as I don't have it terribly often, I don't worry too much.)
If you're going to a big city, fast food is not your only option. You say you're unfamiliar with the area, but Google is your friend. Check out Yelp or Urbanspoon to see if you can find a decent restaurant in the vicinity with healthier options. On the non-sit-down option, you may also be able to find a Whole Foods or grocery store that has easy lunch options. Especially if you're driving 2 hours out of your way, you might as well make the most of the day and enjoy what you eat, right?
As you've found out, salads can be minefields. Often people think they're the healthiest option (because salad!) but they're often loaded with cheese, fried meat, too much dressing, bacon, etc. On the plus side, most chain restaurants (sit down and fast food) show calorie counts these days, so you can generally make a pretty informed decision.
Edited by: MEGAPEEJ at: 1/7/2014 (12:25)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
1/7/14 12:20 P
I love pizza, so that's what I usually have in a situation like that. (I recognize it wouldn't apply to you, read on!) One slice from a mall food court or some hole in the wall strip mall joint -- usually around 400 calories, and it fills me up well enough. (And I'm really happy with my once or twice a month treat. :) )
Otherwise I think I could count my fast-food visits in the last year on the fingers of one hand with a few fingers left over. There's not much out there worth eating for the calories it contains. And you have the bread issue.
What I do do often that might help you is hit up the gas station convenience stores. A lot of them have some really good options these days. Yogurt, fruit, hummus, vegetable sticks, fruit and nut bars, occasionally little packets of cheese, crackers (you could skip those), tuna, and so on. You can make a reasonable "meal" from those things in a pinch. The other thing I like to do is, if I see a health food store anywhere, I head right in. They almost always have hot food bars, and the calories can be anyone's guess, but at least it's real food.
Fitness Minutes: (497)
1/7/14 12:12 P
Subway is my goto place although you still need to be aware of the cheese and the sauces. I also like to go to Wendys Taco Bell......hold the cheese.
Fitness Minutes: (1,197)
1/7/14 12:06 P
We have never been big on fast food. However, a couple times a month, I find myself in the nearby big city, trying to pack all my errands into the day. It seems that is when I hit the fast food places. It is a 2 hr one way trip, so I want to make the most of it. It is also a city I am not real familiar with, as we moved 2000 miles from 'home' last year. This means there could be nearby restaurants where I could get a decent, quick meal, but I am unaware of them. I am also gluten-sensitive, so I stay away from breads.
Yesterday I chose a Cobb salad (used the buffalo sauce as dressing) for lunch and an In-N-Out protein style burger and a half an order of fries for dinner. Boy, was I floored when I added the items to my food tracker.
What is your go-to fast food? Any tips for getting in decent food, on the go?
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