Nutrition Articles

The 22 Healthiest Fast Foods

What to Order at America's Top 10 Fast Food Joints

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By Liza Barnes, Health Educator         
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Wendy’s
Try these best picks for your next lunch on the run. Get more nutrition facts at www.wendys.com.
  • Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Half-Size: This quinoa- and hummus-enriched salad packs a powerful protein-filled punch.
    230 calories, 8g fat, 2g sat. fat, 55mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 21g carbs, 5g fiber, 20g protein
  • Ultimate Chicken Grill: Order it with lettuce, tomatoes, and honey mustard sauce.
    340 calories, 8g fat, 1.5g sat. fat, 105mg cholesterol, 950mg sodium, 34g carbs, 1g fiber, 32g protein
Burger King
A salad and veggie burger top the healthy list at Burger King. Their website, www.bk.com, offers more nutrition information.
  • Garden Grilled Chicken Salad with TENDERGRILL (dressing not reflected in nutrition info): Hold the cheese and top with the Light Italian dressing:
    320 calories, 14g fat, 6g sat. fat, 115mg cholesterol, 650mg sodium, 16g carbs, 2g fiber, 36g protein
  • BK Veggie Burger: Say "no mayo" to enjoy this healthy, cholesterol-free vegetarian delight.
    390 calories, 16g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 5mg cholesterol, 900mg sodium, 44g carbs, 5g fiber, 21g protein
Taco Bell
When you order “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.
  • Fresco Soft Taco - Shredded Chicken:
    140 calories, 3.5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 15mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 16g carbs, 2g fiber, 10g protein
  • Fresco Crunchy Taco - Beef: This menu item is much lower in sodium but still loaded with flavor.
    150 calories, 8g fat, 2.5g sat. fat, 20mg cholesterol, 310mg sodium, 13g carbs, 3g fiber, 6g protein. Continued ›
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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

Member Comments

  • How about a plain baked potato at Wendy's with a small bit of butter and a salad, or the small chili and a salad?

    KFC offers green beans, or mashed potatoes/gravy (not the best but not a salad).

    Order a kids/small burger with no mayo and lots of veggies, if you want a burger.

    Maybe the pintos (no cheese) and rice (they will mix them) at Taco Bell? Ask for a tortilla to spread them on, with lots of salsa. Yum.

    There are more of Subways sandwiches that are a good choice than just the chicken.

    Life is not all salads and grilled chicken. There are other choices (that aren't calorie crazy) out there. Frankly, this sounds like an article from a health 'newbie' who can't see beyond grilled chicken. :( - 4/1/2016 7:20:58 AM
  • How about the Burger King Junior Cheeseburger? If you get with "no mayo". it's only 280 calories. I like it b/c I get a slice of tomato & onion. Most burger places have a Jr size that is still a big burger (as is the case with Five Guys Burger & Fries.) - 3/16/2016 5:06:13 PM
  • Could you add the Canadian favourite -- Tim Horton's? - 5/13/2015 9:21:01 AM
  • I think we need some more common restaurant chains on this that are a little cheaper. McD's, Wendy's, Taco Bell...Of course salads are usually a good choice, but I get tired of salad everyday. - 2/22/2015 11:07:54 AM
  • TIGER_BY_TAIL
    Chipotle can be a GREAT fast meal out. I get the burrito bowl without rice and beans (the tortilla is over 100 calories and the rice is 200, and I just don't care for beans!). I get the fajita veggies, steak, corn salsa, tomato salsa and hot salsa (and sometimes romaine lettuce). 335 calories. Biggest problem, though: the sodium level is high as apparently anything with tomatoes at chipotle gets LOTS of salt. Sometimes I do get the brown rice, but ask for a small amount rather than the huge amount they typically toss into the bowl. - 9/2/2014 9:54:30 AM
  • I eat out once a week with my daughter and I don't feel at all guilty about it. I pretty much eat in one or two of places... Subway and Chick-fil-a. At Subway, I get the Veggie Delight with Oregano, no mayo and no salt/pepper. It tastes great, healthy and fills me up. Chick-Fil-A has a great grilled chicken sandwich which I get with a side salad with fat-free Honey-Mustard Dressing. A bit high in sodium, but only 320 calories for the sandwich. It is a filling meal. I just watch my sodium the rest of the day. My blood pressure is fine, so the salt is not going to hurt me every once in a while. - 4/11/2014 8:18:06 AM
  • "BK Veggie Burger: Say "no mayo" to enjoy this healthy, cholesterol-free vegetarian delight."

    "Vegetarian delight?" Isn't that an oxymoron when it comes to veggie burgers? I've tried a number of veggie burgers and have always been underwhelmed. If you know what the original tastes like, the vegetarian substitute is usually a disappointment. - 4/10/2014 1:12:20 PM
  • I really like this article and found it very informative. What we need to remember is that fast food is never the best choice, but if we are away from home and want to stay on track these are the best options. I have high blood pressure and watch my sodium intake and when I have one of these high sodium choices I am just very careful of what I eat for the rest of the day. If the restaurant you are looking for isn't listed just use your phone or computer and go to their website to look at the nutritional information. I really wish people would just appreciate all of the information that is provided for free on SP and stop complaining about everything! - 3/2/2014 9:53:06 AM
  • BUBBLEGUM_FAIRY
    This is a great article reminding us that we can always go the other route and order something with a lot less calories or fat. I find it helps to plan ahead of time and go to a restaurant's website to decide what to get, although sometimes if you are with friends it can become a last minute thing. I'm so glad spark has so many tips when it comes to fast food and dining out. - 1/4/2014 8:49:28 PM
  • I agree HALLELUL - 11/3/2013 2:20:30 PM
  • DRFOOTWEAR
    "These are the most popular fast food restaurants? I've never seen a Jack in the Box and never heard of a Carls Jr. Did they choose most popular based on a poll? I would have liked to see some more relevant options, but hopefully these helped other people with their choices"

    She listed KFC,Taco Bell,Subway,Burge
    r King,and McDonalds. What more do you want? Hardee's is the same thing as Carl's Jr. if you have one of those nearby. - 11/3/2013 12:45:43 PM
  • DRFOOTWEAR
    To people whining about sodium and saying that these aren't healthy choices; the title says "healthiest fast food". The items aren't healthy compared to grilled chicken,vegetable
    s,etc..,but they are the healthiest choices from those particular restaurants. - 11/3/2013 12:43:44 PM
  • These are the most popular fast food restaurants? I've never seen a Jack in the Box and never heard of a Carls Jr. Did they choose most popular based on a poll? I would have liked to see some more relevant options, but hopefully these helped other people with their choices! - 8/6/2013 9:37:43 AM
  • SJM28411
    None of these are good choices. The sodium levels are off the chart! - 2/25/2013 11:40:50 AM
  • Not many vegetarian options here. I'd love to see the healthiest vegetarian alternatives in fast food! - 1/13/2013 8:18:08 PM

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