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Nutrition Articles  ›  Eating Away From Home

Staff Picks: Healthy Fast Food Lunches

10 Fast Food Meals that Won't Wreck Your Diet

-- By SparkPeople Editorial Staff
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Just like you, the people behind SparkPeople.com try to plan their meals ahead of time so that we're sure to make the healthiest choices possible. Whether we're short on time or just have a craving for our favorite burger joint, we still try to make practice moderation while making healthful or calorie-controlled choices.  Here, SparkPeople's staff shares some of their fast food lunch picks:
  • "Wendy's cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, mustard, pickles; side salad with low-fat salad dressing and water. (If I am eating with one of my kids, we usually split a small order of fries)." — Becky, resident expert and Registered Dietitian
     
  • "I love vegetables, so my favorite fast-food meal is Chipotle. I get a burrito bowl with black beans, very little (or no) rice, fajita vegetables, tomato, corn and tomatillo salsas, extra lettuce and guacamole. It has at least three servings of vegetables and plenty of fiber." — Stepfanie, content team and certified yoga instructor
     
  • "Subway or a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks. On road trips I often just grab a Slimfast or some beef jerky to avoid fast food." —Grant, marketing team
     
  • "Wendy's Taco salad, no dressing, no sour cream, no tortilla chips. (Plenty of food, fills me up, plenty of fiber, couple servings of veggies with the beans and lettuce, and not too many calories.)" — Josh, tech team
     
  • "I try to aim for sub shops (Jersey Mike’s or Subway) and always get mine on wheat, or if going to a “burger joint,” I opt for a grilled chicken sandwich." — Tim, marketing team
     
  • "If I have to eat fast food, I will choose a plain baked potato, small chili and side salad with fat-free dressing from Wendy's. I pour the chili over the baked potato and eat the salad." — Nancy, resident expert and certified running coach
     
  • "A Subway, a 6-inch sandwich with raisins and milk (or water) is my best fast food combo that helps me stay on track while I'm on the go." — Tanya, resident expert
     
  • "I like the Taco Bell Al Fresca menu." — Paul, tech team
     
  • "Grilled chicken wrap from Chick-fil-A with the non-fat honey mustard dressing. The whole wrap is 410 calories with 33 grams of protein. The fresh veggies in the wrap are one serving of veggies so it makes for a balanced meal." — Samantha, BabyFit.com resident expert
     
  • "I love Noodles & Company. I get the Japanese Pan Noodles with tofu and extra broccoli. I'll eat all the veggies and half of the noodles, save the rest of the noodles for leftovers, and just add my own frozen veggies to it when I reheat. Also, I like a Chipotle bowl with light rice, all the veggies, and no cheese/sour cream." — Nicole, resident expert and certified personal trainer

Check out SparkPeople's Dining Out Guide for more smart choices at your favorite fast food restaurants.
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Member Comments

  • CHERRYZMB60
    PAUL Taco bell for me too nothing fried others i get grilled chicken salad or wraps. I have gone to Burger King and gotten a cheese whopper without the roll very tasty and not fried - 11/22/2013 10:06:53 PM
  • SEREIA9
    Wendy's cheeseburger and fries? I'm sorry, but all the pickles and tomatoes in the world can't compensate for that mound of artery-clogging fat. I'm surprised that a registered dietitian would eat this, much less recommend. Highly inappropriate in my opinion. - 8/31/2013 2:45:45 PM
  • Since my son loves to play at Mc Donalds, I like to get their grilled chicken snack wraps. Depending on my mood, I can order two or get one and a side salad or yogurt parfait. - 6/29/2012 3:53:22 PM
  • I go to Chipotle and get a burrito bowl with everything *I know I know* but I also get a side bowl full of lettuce. I split the whole thing and end up with 2 salads. One for now and one for later! - 6/28/2012 3:03:10 AM
  • Sure, good in calories and fat content... but I'm betting the sodium is still very high. It all depends on how one defines a "healthy" meal. That being said, if you're stuck with fast food, these are the better choices. A better bet - plan ahead. :) - 10/12/2011 2:41:11 PM
  • JEAN_W_1960
    Thanks for the good tips, they sound good and a couple I wouldn't have thought of myself. - 10/12/2011 12:57:43 PM
  • Good article, I am pretty stuck on SUBWAY and Sweet tomatoes salad bar. - 7/30/2011 8:24:52 PM
  • I love this article, sometime I get a hankering for some fast food I know now that I can make healthy decisions even while grabbing food on the run! Thanks!! - 6/28/2010 4:46:30 PM
  • HEALTHYDB
    I love the chipotle idea! - 6/28/2010 10:46:24 AM
  • Right now I'm really lovin McDonald's Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. And yes I get the dressing that comes with it (It's absolutely delicious!) Total calories=420 The dressing is 100 by itself..... but you have to allow yourself some bad fats sometimes! - 6/22/2010 3:29:41 PM
  • If I'm in a hurry, I will grab two grilled fillets and a side of green beans from KFC. Protein and veggies all for 285 calories!! Keeps me full for a long time :) - 6/11/2010 12:59:51 PM
  • CHATITA3
    thanks guys, these tips all help me. i run errands during lunch & its very difficult to get something healthy to eat on the go. - 6/4/2010 5:55:58 PM
  • My favorite is wendys Ultimate grill with no honey mustard just plain or tiny bit of ranch I put on myself with a small chili with onions and crackers, and a large minute maid light lemonade. This whole meal comes to 560 calories, 100 from fat , 11 grams total fat, 65 grams carbs, and 48 grams protein. You won't be hungry and completly satisfied. - 6/4/2010 2:57:00 AM
  • WAISTINGTYME
    I really like the chili over a plain baked potato idea. Lots of good ideas, thank you. I wish we had chipotle here, it sounds good :) - 5/30/2010 8:43:12 AM
  • My fav. is definitely a Mickey D's Grilled Chicken Caesar salad (210 cals) with 4 Mild Picante packets as dressing (20 cals)...YUM! - 5/27/2010 2:23:00 PM