It’s safe to say that fast food is never a great option, especially if you’re trying to shed a few pounds. However, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. When you find yourself in those desperate times, pulling up to a drive-thru window, it’s important to know what the best plan of action is. Luckily, not all fast food is loaded with sodium, grease, and carbs. In fact, there are a few healthy options you can eat-guilt free.
To learn more about the best fast food meals that won’t lead to weight gain, we spoke to health experts Erin Lindorfer MS, RD, LD, Nutritionist Lisa Richards, creator of The Candida Diet, and Trista Best, Dietitian for Balance One Supplements. They each gave us one great option; find them all below!
Chick-fil-A’s Grilled Market Salad
Chick-fil-A is another fast food restaurant that serves up a good amount of healthy options. Their grilled chicken nuggets, for example, offer one way to get a great serving of protein without indulging in the fried variety sold by many places. Even better, Richards suggests their Grilled Market Salad, which she says is “loaded with nutrient-rich ingredients including grilled chicken breast served on a fresh bed of mixed greens, topped with crumbled blue cheese and a mix of red and green apples, strawberries and blueberries,” coming in at just 330 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 29 grams of protein.
“This salad is full of antioxidants from the apples, strawberries, and blueberries. These are low-sugar fruits that are rich in nutrients but low in sugars,” Richards says. “The grilled chicken breast and blue cheese are good, healthy sources of protein.” And to top it all off, the dressing adds a fantastic flavor without making things too unhealthy. “The Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing is a reasonably healthy option despite containing added sugar and orange juice concentrate. Ask for the dressing on the side to control your calorie intake,” she says. Perfect!
Wendy’s Southwest Avocado Salad
Another healthy salad is offered by Wendy’s—their Southwest Avocado Salad is a gem amongst all the burgers and fried food. “Wendy’s Southwest Avocado Salad is loaded with flavor and nutrients,” Best says. “Most fast food restaurant salads are calorie dense and flavorless, but this
particular salad contains sizable amounts of nutrient dense ingredients and toppings that you don’t find on most restaurant salads.”
Complete with spinach and romaine lettuce that “bulk up the vitamins and minerals,” this salad amounts to just 410 calories while packing in 12 grams of carbs and 39 grams of protein. Not bad at all! Additionally, Best notes that it accounts for one-quarter of your daily recommended potassium intake. To make it as healthy as possible, she suggests leaving the dressing off. Got it!
Panera Bagel Sandwich
Although it may be a little pricier than your typical fast food options, Lindorfer tells us stopping at Panera can be one very healthy choice when you’re on the go. “Panera even has some great breakfast choices,” she says, citing their Avocado, Egg White, Spinach and Cheese on Sprouted Grains Bagel as a fantastic way to go. “[This sandwich] has a good amount of protein and carbs for better energy and will actually help keep you full,” she says.
If you want to make this bagel sandwich even healthier, Lindorfer suggestions one slight moderation. “The only thing I would add is to ask for full eggs instead of just the egg whites so you can get all of the important micronutrients that eggs provide,” she says. Noted! Sounds delicious either way.
Author: Faith Geiger
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]