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The 22 Healthiest Fast Foods

What to Order at America's Top 10 Fast Food Joints
  -- By Liza Barnes, Health Educator
Your fridge is stocked with fresh produce, lean meats and low fat dairy products, there’s a whole grain baguette in the bread box, and your pantry has been purged of tempting junk foods. Eating healthy at home is a breeze.

But when you’re out and about in the midst of a hectic day of errands and you have precisely 30 minutes to scavenge and wolf down lunch before your next appointment, squeezing in food of any sort becomes a challenge—a challenge to which fast food restaurants have risen. Tasty, convenient, and cheap, there are plenty of reasons they’re popular. But if you’re watching your weight, or watching your health, a fast food menu is like a minefield! One wrong step and a 2,100-calorie sandwich winds up in your stomach (and later on your thighs). But if you’re careful, you can come out intact, with a meal in your hands, not on your hips.

Dining at a fast food restaurant doesn’t have to be a diet disaster. We’ve scoured the top 10 most popular fast food chains for their healthiest picks, so you don’t throw all of your hard work out the (car) window. Use this list as a guide, or visit the websites provided to tally up totals for your preferred favorites. And remember that these selections are healthier options for the occasional fast-food meal, but they may have other nutritional flaws (like high sodium), so you might not want to make it a regular part of your nutrition plan.

McDonald's
No one can say that McDonald’s isn’t convenient—you can find one on just about every corner in some cities. But can it be healthy, too? Depends on what you choose. Visit www.mcdonalds.com for more healthy ideas. Wendy’s
Try these best picks for your next lunch on the run. Get more nutrition facts at www.wendys.com. Burger King
A salad and veggie burger top the healthy list at Burger King. Their website, www.bk.com, offers more nutrition information. Taco Bell
When you order it “fresco style”, the regular cheese and sauce are replaced by a flavorful combo of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, all fresh (and much healthier). More nutrition facts are available at www.tacobell.com. Subway
Good old Jared and his subway diet brought Subway restaurants recognition as one fast food joint with lots of healthy options. Sandwiches from the Subway "Fresh Fit" menu each have fewer than 6 grams of fat. Visit www.subway.com for more information. Arby’s
For the healthiest fare, steer clear of the roast beef sandwiches altogether or visit their website, www.arbys.com to see more choices. KFC
Although their fried chicken isn’t health food (not even by a long shot), KFC does have some healthy options on their menu. Get more nutrition facts at www.kfc.com. Chick-fil-A
Just because it isn't beef doesn't mean it's always better—especially when the chicken is breaded and fried. Try the items below, or see all the facts at www.chickfila.com. Jack in the Box
Whole grains, from this fast food joint? Believe it! Visit www.jackinthebox.com for more menu items. Carl’s Jr.
Steer clear of big, meaty burgers and try these chicken options instead. The Carl's Jr. Website, www.carlsjr.com has lots of nutrition information, too. This article has been reviewed and approved by SparkPeople's Licensed and Registered Dietitian, Becky Hand.

Share your healthy and diet-friendly fast-food picks in the comments section to the right!