Healthy Fast Food Options

Written By Lisa Lucke

When you’re on the road or just plain busy zooming between appointments, soccer practices, or at the end of a long work day when you don’t feel like cooking, grabbing fast food can be appealing. Even those people who say, “I never eat fast food,” probably are relying on it occasionally, truth be told. The question is, regardless of how often a person does opt for a grab-and-go meal, which fast food restaurants offer the healthiest choices? Here’s some easy to digest tips for those days when it just has to be fast and healthy. By the way, for the purposes of this article, “fast food” is defined as food that is designed to be packaged to go and typically extremely quick on the preparation.

Oodles of Choices at These Fast-Food Restaurants

Overall, restaurants that allow you to make more of the micro-decisions once you’ve decided to order a burrito, or a breakfast sandwich, for example, are going to result in the healthiest options possible. For example, when you decide to go to Chipotle, you’ll be able to choose a burrito vs. burrito bowl.

All the ingredients you choose will be piled into a bowl instead of wrapped in a tortilla. The next decision you’ll likely make is white rice or brown rice, refried beans or whole beans, etc. Think of it as a freeway with a lot of exits; every time you get a choice, you will likely have one option that is healthier than the other(s), or at least offer what you need rather than what you don’t. If you are gluten free,or just trying to cut carbs, the bowl is where it’s at. Here are some fast food choices that are pretty darn solid when it comes to the number of healthier menu items.

1. Chipotle:

As mentioned previously, Chipotle offers many healthy options, including several salads (anything can be made into a salad). You really can’t go wrong unless you want to. Best of all, the food is really good!

2. Subway:

While the name suggests a submarine sandwich, Subway will make any sandwich into a salad, and they offer both lettuce and spinach (or a combo). Every single ingredient is up to you: cheese, dressing, etc. are all optional.

C 3. Chick-Fil-A:

Lots of grilled chicken options, as well as salads. Remember to watch your dressing choice if you are really trying to stay in the healthy lane. If you’re going home, pass on the dressing and top your salad with olive oil and vinegar and maybe some dried herbs when you get home.

4. Wendy’s:

For the same reasons as Chick-Fil-A, Wendy’s is a pretty solid choice if you need something fast and healthy. Grilled chicken choices for sandwiches and salads are available.

5. Other National Chain fast food:

Practically *all* of today’s fast food chain restaurants are offering options like salads and grilled chicken instead of breaded, deep-fried chicken. Even the newly rebranded KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) has made the leap, for obvious reasons: to attract those who want healthier options but still have busy lives!

Now, about those asterisks…I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, but two national chains still have a way to go when it comes to an abundance of healthier options. While the food rocks and both establishments are at the top of most peoples’ fast food favorites, they just have either no options other than a hamburger wrapped in lettuce, or in the other case, they may offer grilled chicken but just one or two less-than-impressive small salads alongside the plentiful tacos, quesadillas, burritos and other uniquely named items. In other words, it is a lot more tempting to veer off into an unhealthy ditch so proceed with caution if you find yourself in those drive-through lines!

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