April 1, 2023

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s safe to say that avoiding fast food altogether is the best way to go. However, it’s only natural for cravings to strike, and if you’re used to stopping at the drive-through on a regular basis, changing your routine completely can be difficult. Luckily, many fast food restaurants offer healthier options that can make great alternatives to your typical burger and fries.
To discover some of the healthiest fast food meals, we spoke to health experts Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, author of My Crohn’s and Colitis Team; functional movement specialist and nutritionist Samantha Watson of Start Rowing; Registered Nutritionist  Jay Cowin of ASYSTEM; and dietitian Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, author of Recipe for Survival. They pointed us towards three great choices. If you start opting for these meals over their more fattening counterparts, losing weight and staying satisfied will be much easier.

Wendy’s Parmesan Caesar Salad

This one likely isn’t surprising. Sometimes the healthiest option out there is just what you think it would be: a salad! Klamer says the Wendy’s Parmesan Caesar Salad “provides a surprisingly high amount of protein at 41 grams while being relatively low in calories at 440 per salad,” and that includes dressing. That’s not too bad at all!
Watson notes that all this protein is “essential for building and repairing the muscles, organs, and bones,” adding that “it’s also low in carbohydrates which is great if you’re looking for a low-calorie option.” 
Vegetarian? No problem. “Simply order it without the chicken,” Watson suggests. There are so many healthy possibilities when it comes to this salad. 

Double-Double Cheeseburger Protein Style (In-N-Out)

It turns out that burgers can make healthy meals. Cowin says all you need to do is swap out the bun for lettuce, which the popular West Coast burger chain In-N-Out allows. It’s called “Protein Style.” Who knew?!
“When you order your burger served protein-style, In-N-Out swaps out the bun for lettuce,” Cowin explains. He suggests ordering the Double-Double Cheeseburger this way, noting that, containing two beef patties, this meal will give you a great amount of protein. In addition to the patties, this sandwich comes with two slices of cheese, tomato, sauce, and onions. Of course, it’s also completely customizable.
“It’s healthy, high in protein, and very filling,” Cowin praises. Yum!

Taco Bell Power Bowl

Taco Bell lovers who want to lose weight are lucky; there are many healthy options at this fast food chain, including their power bowls. “If I were at Taco Bell, I’d get the Power Veggie Bowl,” Hunnes suggests.
The Power Veggie bowl is packed with delicious, filling toppings like black beans, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Hunnes notes that it’s a “good source of plant proteins and fiber” and “on the healthier side of ‘fast food.'”
Plus, this bowl can always be adjusted to be even healthier. “You can go light on the sauce or use salsas as dressing,” Hunnes says, since some of Taco Bell’s most fattening culprits are their creamy sauces.
One of the best parts of this meal is that it doesn’t come with a high-carb processes tortilla or taco shell; you simply get everything you love about Taco Bell without that unhealthy setback. Plus, these bowls contain 8 grams of fiber and 26 grams of protein. Who knew fast food could be so healthy?!
So, next time you pull up to the drive-through of your favorite fast food restaurant, remember that you don’t have to load up on calories. If you stick to healthier, high-protein options, your weight loss journey can still be successful!
Editorial Assistant
Faith Geiger is a New York-based writer and editor. When she’s not covering the latest in health and wellness for SheFinds, she spends her time watching reality TV with her roommates, browsing used bookstores, and enjoying live music. You can reach Faith at [email protected]


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