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Whole Grain Benefits

Healthy Food at McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, and More

Fast food is quick, convenient, and sometimes necessary when life gets busy or you are on the go and don’t have many options. When we think of fast food, we think “unhealthy” – but it really doesn’t have to be.

“When choosing items in fast food restaurants, always look for non-fried options, whole grains, and at least one vegetable,” she says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, registered nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet. “But when all else fails, remember that there is never a good reason to be super-sized – you are wrong on the small side!”

If you’re looking to make healthier choices as you pass through, there are a few things to keep in mind out loud Dr. Amy Lee, MD, Obesity doctor and nutritionist for Nuzific:

  1. Avoid the fried and choose the grilled options. That way you save some calories for more options.
  2. You don’t have to oversize anything. Today’s food industry has brainwashed us into a new normal size, often twice the size of a normal serving.
  3. Hold the sauce! Sometimes the amount of sauces added to a sandwich can add up in calories; They are also made with sugar and fat, which are bulking calories.
  4. You need to order the fries or tater tots as a side dish as they are high in carbohydrates and fat.

But you don’t have to rob yourself completely either.

“As a registered nutritionist and personal chef, I encourage people to start with something they like and then change from there,” says Bernstein Pankonin, MS, RD, LMNT, registered nutritionist and founder of The Stirlist. If you can find products that taste great and offer nutritional benefits, such as fiber and protein with minimal sodium content, this is a really good place to start. “

Would you like more details? Here are 19 of the healthiest fast food orders, according to nutritionists.

Healthy fast food options

At Mcdonalds…

McDonald’s fruit and maple oatmeal

“At 320 calories you get 4 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein and you can save 30 calories by leaving out the sugar. Incredibly delicious and nutritious fast pick, ”says Sylvia Klinger, DBA, MS, RD, registered nutritionist and owner of and Hispanic food communication.

Diet: 320 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 64 g carbohydrates, 31 g sugar, 6 g protein

McDonald’s scrambled eggs

“I don’t like cookies and English muffins that much, but I love eggs so much. I would just order scrambled eggs from the menu and they are happy to do that, ”says Dr. Lee. “Sometimes when I’m feeling adventurous I would use 1-2 packs of their hot spicy salsa. This is a great way to get extra protein and good fats without extra carbohydrates and fat from bread, sauces, etc. ”

Diet: 140 calories, 9 g fat, 3.5 g satellite fat, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g sugar, 13 g protein

Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast

At the subway …

Subway’s Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich

“It’s packed with vegetables, fiber, and proteinthe perfect combination to stay full for hours, ”says Gans.

Diet: 270 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 21 g protein

Subway Veggie Delite

“The 6-inch Veggie Delight only has 200 calories and 2 grams of fat and 5 grams of fat without adding the cheese or spices,” says Klinger. “Double the vegetables – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and green peppers and ask for the whole grain bread.”

Diet: 190 calories, 2 g fat, 0.5 g satellite fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugar, 9 g protein

Subway Turkey Breast Sandwich

“This is really a decent lunch, and you can save more calories by minimizing the sauces and cheese,” says Dr. Lee. “It also has a good amount of fiber from the vegetables and wheat bread. “

Nutrition: 250 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0.5 g satellite fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 20 g protein

At Chick-Fil-A …

Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich

“Some of the calories come from the sauce, so hold on to the sauce and you get a good amount of lean protein plus a little veggies,” says Dr. Lee.

Nutrition: 320 calories, 6g fat, 1g satellite fat, 41g carbohydrates, 9g sugar, 28g protein

Grilled chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A

“You can get 12 of these nuggets for just 200 calories, which leaves room for a little more. For example, a fruit cup or a side salad OR even those waffle and potato fries that really catch your eye, ”says Gans.

Diet: 200 calories, 4.5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g carbohydrates, 1 g sugar, 38 g protein

Chick-Fil-A egg white grill

“This breakfast sandwich only contains 290 calories, 8 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates and 26 grams of protein. The combination of grilled chicken and egg white provides high quality protein and makes for a very filling breakfast. A high protein breakfast can keep you full until the afternoon, which can help with weight management and maintain muscle mass, ”says Pankonin.

Diet: 290 calories, 8 g fat, 3.5 g satellite fat, 30 g carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, 26 g protein

At Taco Bell …

Taco Bell Vegetable Power Bowl

“The Power Bowl options at Taco Bell are delicious and satisfying! For vegetarians, finding healthy alternatives in fast food restaurants can be a big challenge, which is why I always recommend Taco Bell. The Veggie Power Bowl at Taco Bell contains 430 calories, 10 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein. With so much fiber and vegetable protein, this is a very tasty and filling option for lunch or dinner, especially if you are a vegetarian, ”says Pankonin.

Nutrition: 430 calories, 17g fat, 5g satellite fat, 57g carbohydrates, 2g sugar, 12g protein

Taco Bell Bean Burrito

“This bean burrito is a delicious, filling meal with 350 calories, 11 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein. And if that’s not enough, it only has 9 grams of fat! A real pleasure, ”says Klinger.

Diet: 350 calories, 9 g fat, 3.5 g satellite fat, 54 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 13 g protein

At Panera …

Panera’s avocado, egg white and spinach breakfast sandwich

“This sandwich doesn’t disappoint. Not only is it delicious, it also contains vegetables, whole grains and heart-healthy fats from the avocado, ”says Gans.

Diet: 360 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g satellite fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 19 g protein

Panera strawberry and poppy seed salad with chicken

“The first thing that appeals to me about this salad is its size. We eat with our eyes, so this salad is visually beautiful and looks really appetizing. This salad only contains 360 calories, 15 grams of fat, 480 mg of sodium, 8 grams of fiber, 34 grams of carbohydrates, and 28 grams of protein. I also love that it’s high in protein and provides 8 grams of fiber. Most fast food salad options can have a high amount of sodium due to the salad dressing, but this salad only contains 480 mg of sodium, making it a great option for those who are careful about their sodium intake, ”says Pankonin.

Diet: 360 calories, 15 g fat, 2 g satellite fat, 34 g carbohydrates, 23 g sugar, 28 g protein

At El Pollo Loco …

El Pollo Loco Double Protein Avocado Chicken Fit Bowl

It’s a big bowl full of protein with fresh salsa ingredients, says Dr. Lee. “Super diet-friendly with cauliflower rice and fresh avocado.”

Nutrition: 390 calories, 16 g fat, 7 g satellite fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g sugar, 51 g protein

At Starbucks …

Starbucks Protein Box with grilled chicken and hummus

“With a Starbucks on every corner, this is a convenient and quick lunch option that only has 300 calories, 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of fiber, and 22 grams of protein. I love the combination of grilled chicken and hummus paired with fresh vegetables. This supplies plant and animal protein as well as iron from plant and animal sources, ”says Pankonin.

Diet: 300 calories, 9 g fat, 2 g satellite fat, 32 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugar, 22 g protein

Related: Best Starbucks Secret Menu Drinks

NEW YORK - AUGUST 5: Beverage cups with the Starbucks Coffee logo can be seen in the new flagship store on 42nd Street August 5, 2003 in New York City.  The Seattle-based coffee company has grown to become the largest grocery chain in the Manhattan borough of New York with 150 branches.  (Photo by Stephen Chernin / Getty Images) NEW YORK – AUGUST 5: Beverage cups with the Starbucks Coffee logo can be seen in the new flagship store on 42nd Street August 5, 2003 in New York City. The Seattle-based coffee company has grown to become the largest grocery chain in the Manhattan borough of New York with 150 branches. (Photo by Stephen Chernin / Getty Images)

At Chipotle …

Chipotle Vegetable Burrito Bowl

“My favorite bowl starts with Sofritas – a perfectly seasoned soy-based vegetable meat. Then I add my favorite black beans and coriander-lime-cauliflower rice, garnished with fresh tomato salsa and salad – all for 350 calories and 19 grams of protein, ”says Klinger.

Diet: 350 calories, 12.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 43 g carbohydrates, 10 g sugar, 19 g protein

Related: 18 Best Copycat Chipotle Recipes

At Wendy’s …

Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich

“Many fast food sandwiches contain over 1,000 mg of sodium, but this sandwich has 850 mg,” says Gans. “It also offers a whopping 33 grams of protein for those looking for a higher-protein option for lunch or dinner.”

Diet: 350 calories, 8 g fat, 1.5 g satellite fat, 35 g carbohydrates, 7 g sugar, 33 g protein

Related: How To Eat Keto At Taco Bell

At IHOP …

IHOP protein and vegetable omelette

“This filling and delicious menu item is filled with vegetables, topped with avocados and tomatoes and served with a small fruit bowl – all for 330 calories and 29 grams of protein!” Says Klinger.

Diet: 330 calories, 20 g fat, 6 g satellite fat, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 28 g protein

At Long John Silver …

Long John Silver’s Grilled Salmon Plate

“It’s not common to find fish, let alone grilled fish, in fast food. But this option can be very beneficial and gives you a lot more control over your food, ”says Dr. Lee. “Order the grilled fish with salads and you will definitely get all of your fiber as well as good fats and proteins.”

Nutrition: 250 calories, 15g fat, 3g satellite fat, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar, 27g protein

At Culver …

Culvers Butterburger “The Original”

“The single butter burger contains only 390 calories, 17 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of protein and only 480 mg of sodium. For those watching sodium intake due to high blood pressure, this is a great option when you’re in the mood for a burger, ”says Pankonin.

Diet: 390 calories, 17 g fat, 7 g satellite fat, 38 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugar, 20 g protein

Next, here are the top Whole30 approved fast food options.

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  • Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN, Registered Nutritionist and Author of The Small Change Diet
  • Dr. Amy Lee, MD, Obesity doctor and nutritionist for Nuzific
  • Bernstein Pankonin, MS, RD, LMNT, registered nutritionist and founder of The Stirlist
  • Sylvia Klinger, DBA, MS, RD, registered nutritionist and owner of and Hispanic food communication
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