So time is tight and you need something to eat – pronto. You unfortunately didn’t pack a healthy snack with you and all that’s in view sight are a few fast food restaurants.
It seems as though you have no choice. Fortunately, if you’re wise in your approach, this doesn’t have to mean diet destruction. There are okay finds at most fast food locations provided you do a little digging to find them.
And, when ordering these items, if you make a few smart adjustments, you can improve your chances of getting a nutritional win even better.
Are these choice optimal? You likely can’t go that far, but they’ll be okay to eat from time to time as long as the rest of the day you stick with your normally planned options.
Let’s go over the top 11 fast foods that are okay to eat.
11. Grilled Chicken Burger
If you’re a burger joint, one of your best bets here will be for a grilled chicken burger. Definitely skip the beef burger as often as possible. You’ll take in more saturated fat than protein, which is clearly not going to be ideal for helping you keep your nutrition up.
When ordering the grilled chicken burger, consider tossing half of the bun to keep the carbohydrate count a little lower and in addition to that, you’ll want to be careful about any added condiments that might be added.
Opt for mustard. It’s almost calorie free, unlike any ‘special sauce’ they might otherwise use.
10. Grilled Chicken Salad
Moving along, the next menu item that is a safe bet as long as you plan wisely is a grilled chicken salad. Salads are nice because since half the meal is uncooked, you can be sure no added fat was used during the preparation process.
As long as you get grilled chicken – not breaded, you’ll also know that your protein source is relatively lean.
So then you just have to tend to the toppings. Make sure that your salad isn’t loaded with crunchy noodles (which are also loaded in fat), dried fruit (loaded with sugar), croutons (loaded with fat and carbs), or candied nuts (loaded with sugar and calories).
Instead, try and choose a salad option that offers fresh fruits and plenty of fresh vegetables. Most of the time you can request the above stated items be removed from the salad, or you simply don’t sprinkle them on as they’ll come in a packet on the side.
And keep the dressing to a minimum. It’s fine to use a little, but dip your salad in it rather than drizzling it on top.
Chili is another relatively safe bet at fast food locations. Provided you get it in a regular bowl, not a bread bowl, you’ll keep your calorie intake under control with this meal choice and get a good dose of fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
The great thing about chili is that it’ll help to really stabilize your blood glucose levels, giving you superior appetite control.
It works well as a quick snack on the run or, if you get a slightly larger size, a full meal. Just never supersize this one. While it is healthier, it can still tally up quite the calorie count if you eat enough of it.
8. Chicken Soft Taco
Moving along, the chicken soft taco is a relatively safe bet if you’re at a taco house location. Just be sure to again look at the condiments it’s served with. A small dose of guacamole can be okay as you’ll get some healthy fats there, but avoid any other high calorie containing condiments.
And, ask for just a light sprinkling of cheese if at all. Remove the sour cream and add plenty of salsa instead and you’ll be all set.
The soft taco’s won’t provide nearly as much total fat and calories as the hard shell ones will, so you’ll be one step ahead by going this route.
7. Steak Burrito
The next option at the taco place is the steak burrito. This one is a good choice not just because the beef will provide some protein and iron, while keeping the fat to a moderate level, but because you’ll also get some beans as well, providing dietary fiber and complex carbohydrates.
This makes for a great way to balance your blood sugar levels.
When ordering this meal, the key thing to note is to always opt for the small size and make sure that it is just the soft shell you’re getting. Don’t get the loaded burritos that either contain two soft shells or one soft shell inside of a hard one.
When dining fast food, simple is always better. The fancier the item, the more calories you’re likely taking in.
6. Vegetable Soup
If you’re stopping at a local coffee shop for a quick bite on the go, you can usually trust any broth based soup varieties. Vegetable soup is a decent choice however for more protein, you might go for chicken soup or beef barley.
These soups will typically offer a good dose of vegetables, helping you get your nutritional intake up while providing some dietary fiber.
The one thing to note though with the soups is that they will typically be quite high in sodium content, so you’ll want to be mindful of the other foods you eat throughout the day.
Try and choose lower sodium varieties so that you can keep your daily level in check. And, drink a cup or two of water at this meal to help prevent water retention from occurring.
5. Turkey Sandwich On Whole Wheat
If you’re at the sandwich shop, turkey on whole wheat is a safe bet to consider. If the shop serves fresh turkey, rather than deli, even better. Fresh meats will always be better than processed.
Chicken is another great alternative here, so opt for that as well if you can get it freshly grilled. Chose whole wheat to boost your fiber intake and load that sandwich up with as many vegetables as you can fit on it.
Request that it’s prepared without any mayonnaise or cheese to keep the total fat content down and you’ll have a relatively healthy meal on your hands.
Pita restaurants are now on the rise as more and more people are starting to look for healthier ways to fill the hunger void.
There are plenty of good options when visiting these restaurants – chicken, turkey, steak, or even tuna if it doesn’t look like it’s drenched in mayonnaise.
The great thing about these restaurants is you’ll typically choose everything that goes into that pita, so you have complete control over what you’re putting in your body.
Select a small size whole wheat pita to keep your carbohydrate intake check and then fill it with tomatoes, spinach/lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
Avoid any creamy condiments again and instead, opt for mustard and a little olive oil vinaigrette if you prefer.
3. Small Soft Serve Cone
Have a sweet tooth that just won’t quit? If so, your best bet here is to stop in for a small sized soft serve ice cream cone. If you get the plain cone, you won’t be taking in too many calories and while you still will be getting some sugar, it isn’t nearly the load that you’d get from some of the more gourmet ice cream cones out there.
Soft serve will typically be lower in total sugar and fat content as well compared to ultra creamy ice cream.
Plus, you will take some added calcium in with this choice, so it isn’t a complete waste.
2. Baked Potato (With Salsa)
If it’s just a light snack you need until you can get home to get a quality meal in with protein, a small baked potato can also be an option.
While baked potatoes are never as good as sweet potatoes would be, you won’t find sweet potatoes in most fast food restaurants. And, a baked potato will always be a better choice than French fries.
The one tip to note when choosing this one though is to opt for the sour cream off the potato and salsa on in stead. Sour cream simply provides too much saturated fat and calories.
Skip the bacon bits as well.
1. Yogurt And Berries
Finally, the last option that you might want to take in at a fast food location is a quick snack of yogurt and berries (yogurt parfait). The restaurant typically won’t use the best low fat, low sugar yogurt available, but at least the calories are typically controlled thanks to the moderate serving size and you will get a healthy dose of antioxidants with the berries. Plus, the yogurt will still provide some calcium along with protein.
Choose this in between meals if you need quick boost on the go.
So there you have the best options to select if you find yourself at a fast food restaurant, trying to figure out what to eat. Be smart and it won’t ruin your healthy eating plan.