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Our Blog: November 15, 2019

Healthiest Foods to Eat at Popular Fast Food Restaurants

GettyImages-472319589By Nicole Spain, Registered Dietitian

Eating fast food is inevitable sometimes. Whether you are rushing between work, school and family activities or traveling over the weekends and holidays, all of us may end up at a fast food restaurant for a quick bite to eat.  When this happens, try ordering one of these choices at the following popular fast food restaurants!


Panera Bread – The Spicy Thai Salad has 6 grams of fiber along with 490 calories making it a full meal. If you want something warm to go with it, get the “pick two” option (half salad and a cup of soup).  The Ten Vegetable Soup is low in calories and has 3 grams of fiber as well as all the added vitamins from the veggies! 

Chipotle – Start with a brown rice burrito bowl, add on your choice of beans, and then add either sofritas (tofu) or barbacoa (beef). Then, pile on the fajita veggies as well as your choice of salsa.  Skip the cheese and sour cream to keep the calories around 550 for the meal. 

McDonald's – The Southwest Ranch Chicken Salad packs in 6 grams of fiber and is only 330 calories. But if you feel like eating a sandwich, pick the original hamburger which has only 250 calories.  Skip the fries and add a bag of apple slices or a side salad! 

Taco Bell – The Veggie Power Bowl has only 430 calories and 10 grams of fiber.  Trying to cut back on fat – omit the cheese, sour cream and/or the avocado ranch sauce. If you’re craving something hand-held, ask for the Chicken Soft Taco Fresco Style!

Chick-Fil-A – Try the Grilled Chicken Nuggets with the Fruit Cup or Superfood Side Salad.  Both are delicious and the meal is conveniently gluten free.  

Wendy’s – There are quite a few options at Wendy’s with some of the side dishes packing in a lot of nutrition in a small serving! A cup of the chili will warm your belly on a cold day and has only 160 calories and 6 grams of fiber. Make it full meal by ordering a Chili & Cheese Baked Potato for 460 calories and 9 grams of fiber.  Want something easier to eat on the go? Try a Junior Hamburger for 240 calories or the Grilled Chicken Wrap for only 300 calories.  Skip the fries and get a bag of Apple Bites to round out your meal. 

If I have not named one of your favorite stops then try to pick items based off these tips:

  • Choose grilled instead of fried
  • Choose fresh instead of processed
  • Skip mayo based sauces
  • Remove cheese to save on calories
  • Add extra veggies when available