Fast foods are one word you don’t associate with healthy food but when the choices diminish, you have to improvise. It is true that most foods on the menu are soaked in excessive saturated fat, sugar and sodium and they spell disaster before you even order them. The pressure on fast food joints to include healthier options as well as vegan foods in their menu has seen an increase in healthy food orders and that is why you don’t have to shy away from a Mcdonald’s sandwich anymore. You just need to customize your order around the meats, cream, sugar and excessive salt and that means going for more fibre and natural foods. You could take help from this Calorie Details Food Database or others like it to know which ingredients can be healthy for your salad or burger. Here are some of the healthiest foods you can order at some common fast-food joints.
Subway: Rotisserie-Style Chicken Sandwich
Away from those fake meats and cheeses used in burgers, this sandwich is made of real food and can be easily customized to suit a healthy eating style. You should choose whole multigrain bread to maximize on fibre. At its maximum, the big sandwich only packs 300 calories and with servings of vegetables that you can choose from ranging from lettuce, onions, tomatoes and whatever veggies you like. The chicken meat is real grilled meat and not soaked in trans fats so you only get 1.5 grams of saturated fat against 25 grams of protein. It is the healthiest way to go big on a sandwich if Subway is all you have.
Starbucks Protein Box
You still have to be smart about this one and opt-out of the cream, sugar and cheese and maximize on proteins. The basic version of this box will come with grilled chicken breast for your proteins with less saturated fat and sodium. You then get hummus which is another source of healthy non-saturated fats including Omega 3. The baby carrots and peas are rich in Vitamins as well as fibre which most fast-food orders lack. The box only packs 300 calories at its biggest with less than 50 grams of carbohydrates which makes it a great lunch on the go for a health-conscious person.
Subway Veggie Delight Sandwich
Just like the Rotisserie-style chicken sandwich, this vegan option comes with multi-grain bread and lots of vegetables to go along with it. You should be careful with your order though because extra sauce and cream means more sodium and sugar which mess up your game. You should ask for more carrot shavings, blueberries for your topping and extra onions if you like. The total calorie count will be just 200 with lots of proteins and Vitamins on top.
Taco Bell Black Bean Soft Taco
Taco Bell has one of the worst health records especially when it comes to the sodium content of their orders which is why this one with 740mg is probably the safest you will get. The taco is just 170 calories with the beans packing lots of fibre and proteins you won’t find in calorie-dense options. You can also choose extra vegetables including lettuce, spinach, onions and bell pepper for more Vitamins and micronutrients to make it an all-around healthy meal. You should also ask for less sauce and cream toppings to keep the sugar and sodium low.
McDonald’s Apple Slices
An apple remains one of the healthiest snacks on Earth and you can never go wrong when it is the only thing in your order. Most fast-food branches won’t put plain apple slices on top of their menu because it doesn’t make them big money but it is better than most baked alternatives they have. You can choose to flavour it with peanut butter for better taste. You could also go for a baked apple which has similar nutritional benefits but cut down on the toppings. The snack packs 40 calories which is very filling if you take two and have a quick munch on the go.
Starbucks Rolled and Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Getting a serving of whole-grain oatmeal is a breakfast everyone would love but the sugar and cream topping is what causes many to shy away from this serving. Starbucks allows you to choose the toppings that go with this oatmeal so you can choose to forfeit the brown sugar and settle with the raisins, nuts, cranberries and dried cherries. You could opt for a drop of honey or milk in place of the brown sugar and whatever cream the joint offers and get yourself 170 calories with 10g of proteins, 8 grams of fibre and just 140mg of sodium.
McDonald’s Egg McMuffin Without Meat
Without the meat and butter, you are able to give up on over 500mg of sodium which is not worth it because the meat has very little protein. With the two gone, you remain with a freshly cracked egg, a good old English muffin and American Cheese, all packed with healthy fibre and proteins. The bacon also comes with the bulk of the order’s saturated fat.
Chipotle’s Salad Bowl
Chipotle is another chain that insists on healthy food although most of their orders are not outright healthy unless you customize them. The Salad bowl comes with guac, fajita veggies and fresh lettuce as a basic. You then get to choose between grilled chicken and tofu for your main protein and you can also choose to have rice and beans in the mix. You then choose your toppings which we would recommend less cheese, sauce and cream to keep the sodium and sugar down. The rest will be 470 calories in a dish full of protein and fibre.
Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Salad
Don’t be fooled, salads are some of the unhealthiest orders at most fast-food restaurants because they could load up to 2,000mg of sodium and more than 1,000 calories. You should therefore try and customize your order to have more real food and less processed toppings, sugar and salt. This grilled chicken salad is one of the healthiest you will land with 28g of proteins and lots of fibre. You still get 660mg of sodium and 4.0g of saturated fat but that is nothing compared to alternatives. The whole meal offers 250 calories coming from lean grilled chicken, lettuce, carrots, and your choice of fruits and toppings.
Popeye’s Loaded Chicken Wrap
Sometimes, you wanna close your eyes and enjoy a chicken wrap and the least you can do is customize it to reduce the sodium and saturated fat. Now, Popeye’s isn’t the most health-conscious chain around but you can choose a healthy chicken wrap from their chains. The cheddar tortilla improves the taste while you also get a real handcrafted chicken, beans and rice. The wrap is just 310 calories and 19 grams of protein which is awesome. The sodium is still high at 790mg, so you need to be smart with the rest of your meals.
Do you know of any other healthy options at a Fast-Food outlet? Do let us know in the comments below!