Healthier "Fast Food" Options

KristineBlog, Food Products, Healthier Fast Food, News, Facts, Fitness6 Comments

Happy Friday!  Hope you all have a great weekend planned!  We do!  Going to a friends for dinner Saturday night, then Father’s Day at my Dad’s on Sunday.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!
Today’s post is inspired by a conversation on twitter yesterday.
I ALWAYS would steer people towards homemade food versus ANYTHING from a drive thru.  Even the healthy options contain processed ingredients and lots of sodium (even grilled chicken breast).  But lets face it, if you are busy like myself, sometimes you have to do it.  By sometimes I mean a couple times a MONTH—its not a weekly thing for me.  A perfect example was yesterday.  I didn’t have any chicken prepped at home and had just run out of lettuce.  I usually have a salad for lunch (quick & easy & use whatever veggies I have in the fridge).  So off I went to seek out a healthy fast food option.  I ended up at Wendy’s, and here’s what I ended up having…. Wendy’s Southwest Salad….
BUT!!!  Modified of course.  Here is what my version looked like…
No cheese, chips, just a drizzle of the dressing and 1/2 the amount of chili.  A half portion of Wendy’s Chili is 110 cals, 3.5 g fat, 11 g carbs, 3 g fibre, 9 g protein & (400mg sodium–not great)

So here is my guide on what I would eat from a drive thru if I HAD to:

Wendy’s Southwest Salad – No cheese, no chips, no sour cream.  Half the dressing and half the chili.

Cals: 170 , 8.5g fat, 15g carbs, 5g sugar, 3g fibre, 9g protein & (520mg sodium)

You could also do their Light Classic Ranch Dressing – 90 calories, 8g fat, 4g carbs, 0g fiber, 1g protein

Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad – No crispy noodles, only 1/2 package of almonds, GRILLED chicken.  Half of the Oriental dressing, or ask for the light honey dijon (less sugar) and slightly less calories.

Cals: 330, 12g fat, 28g carbs, 18g sugar (from oranges and dressing), 2g fibre, 26g protein, & (840mg sodium)

*Not my favorite option cause of the sugar content

Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich – 1/2 of the bun, no mayo or other condiments, just the honey mustard sauce.  With lettuce, tomato, onion

Cals: 255, 6g fat, 24g carbs, 7g sugar, 1g fibre, 26g protein & (850mg sodium)

*Again, not the best with the bun.  If they had a whole wheat bun it would be a bit better.  I find bread pretty bloating (wheat), but with 1/2 a bun in moderation I’m usually ok.

McDonalds Egg McMuffin – without the cheese
Cals: 240, 8g fat, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 2g sugar, 13g protein, 520mg sodium
McDonalds Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Chicken (Canada only I believe) – without feta cheese, or get it on the side and sprinkle a bit on…so high in sodium (300mg for feta alone!) & half the Renee’s Greek Feta Dressing pack
Cals: 250  10.5g fat, 13g carbs, 4g fibre, 4g sugar, 26g protein, 1040mg sodium
*Sodium is bad on this one, and that’s without the feta.  I find the chicken McDonalds to be one of the saltiest. Low in sugar though.
McDonalds Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (in US, now also in Canada–limited time) – without cheese, dressing and tortilla strips.  I’ve been told its really good without the dressing….
 Cals: 250 calories, 6g fat, 25g carbs, 7g sugar, 6g fiber, 30g protein
You can’t customize on the US site so not sure about exacts on sugar, but it appears the sodium would be 810mg
Or you could get a garden salad, add your own protein (chicken from home) and add one of their dressings…
Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette
40 calories, 3g fat, 4g carbs, 3g sugar, 0g fiber, 730mg sodium
Newman’s Own Low Fat Family Recipe Italian Dressing
60 calories, 2.5g fat, 8g carbs, 1 g sugar, 0g fiber, 730mg sodium

McDonalds Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich – with sauce (garlic sauce isn’t bad calorie wise.  Omit half the ciabatta bun.
Cals: 265  8.5g fat, 26g carbs, 2.5g fibre, 3g sugar, 24g protein, 620mg sodium
So hope these choices make it easier.  I also researched the KFC & Taco Bell websites, but with Taco Bell, everything is pretty much their ground meat and SUPER high in sodium (over 1000mg per 1 taco!!!).  With KFC, lets be honest, its FRIED chicken.  Their grilled sandwich without mayo would probably be comparable (calorie wise) to one of the chicken sandwiches above.
You’ll notice I didn’t include beef, simply because at the fast food places, its a MUCH smaller portion for the same amount of fat & calories of the chicken.
As for SODIUM…how much is too much?  I aim for 1200mg of sodium per day which breaks down to 200-300mg per meal.  So as you can see, fast food can get you on track for A DAYS WORTH of sodium in ONE MEAL.  That is why I stress it should be an EMERGENCY only.
xo Kristine