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Healthy Fast Food Places for When You’re Too Busy to Cook

We're here to give you some peace of mind next time you're pulling up to the drive-thru.

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Is there healthy fast food places?

The short answer—yes! The long answer—yes…if you know what to order. Fast food companies have done a lot in the last 20 years to present healthy options and improve the nutrition of existing options. Whether you consider yourself a (fast) foodie but are trying to improve your diet, or you’re a strict health-nut whose only option on the road trip is a burger or starvation, read on for our list of healthy fast food places.

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The best part about Subway’s high ranking is that they have stores virtually everywhere, so it’s usually a super accessible option. Go for the Black Forest Ham, which has 260 calories, 4 grams of fat and 16 grams of protein. If you really want to keep it lean, the Veggie Delight is only 200 calories with 2 grams of fat, but it comes in with only 9 grams of protein. Just avoid the obvious calorie bombs, which are pretty clearly flagged by the word “Ultimate” in the name. FYI: Here’s how many calories you should eat in a day.

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Although Chipotle is often criticized for menu items that can quickly accumulate calories with additions, the ingredients in Chipotle food are, by and large, good for you. Skip the burrito if you’re concerned about calorie intake, and opt for the burrito bowl or salad. Double up on beans, nix the rice, and ask for some spicy salsa to speed up your metabolism. A steak bowl with black and pinto beans, fajita vegetables, romaine and tomatillo green-chili salsa runs about 450 calories, with 9 grams of fat and 38 grams of protein.

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As far as buckets-full of chicken go, the grilled chicken breast at KFC is not a bad option. Each serving has 210 calories, with 5 grams of fat and 11 grams of protein. Pair it with a vegetable—green beans, corn on the cob or even mashed potatoes—for a meal that’s pretty close to what your “healthy” meal prep box would send you anyway.

Making your own cooked chicken at home? Here’s how long it will last in the fridge.

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Taco Bell

You may have heard the news—Taco Bell is considered by many to be the healthiest fast food option. And it’s true! A Steak Fresco Soft Taco has only 142 calories and 10 grams of protein, with a mere 4 grams of fat. Even the Beef Fresco Crunchy Taco contains just a couple less calories, and has even less sodium than the soft tacos.

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Starbucks can be a bit of a nutrition trap, since a lot of the menu items seem healthy. The Spinach, Feta and Cage-Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap is actually good for you, with 290 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of fibre and 19 grams of protein. While it has a higher fat and calorie content than the oft-recommended Sous Vide Egg Bites or oatmeal, the higher protein and fibre content will keep you satisfied until lunch.

Find out how many calories are in your favourite Starbucks drink.

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McDonald’s has done a lot over the years to improve its image with parents and nutritionists, with the result that there really are great, healthy options on the menu. The Asian Cashew Salad with Grilled Chicken has 250 calories, with 10 grams of fat and 30 grams of protein. You can even indulge a little and get the hamburger—it’s only 240 calories and 8 grams of fat, with 12 grams of protein. And if you’re indulging a lot, there’s no better place to pick up fast food dessert than McDonald’s, where a small plain sundae is only 170 calories.

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Compared to some other fast food places where the salad looks like a sad pile of discarded garnishes, Wendy’s salads are pretty robust. Their full size Apple Pecan Chicken Salad has 570 calories, 26 grams of fat and a plentiful 37 grams of protein. Next, read up on the healthiest fast food salads in Canada.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home