If one of your resolutions was to eat healthier while on the road (or at home) this year, you don’t need to cut out convenient, fast food options completely. Eat This, Not That has compiled a list of some health-conscious options available at popular quick-service chains around the country. And Dietician Lisa Moskovitz shared her expert opinion on each of the items:
Best healthy fast-food beverage: Smoothie King’s Vegan Mixed Berry Smoothie
PER SERVING: 310 calories, 3.5g fat (0.5g saturated fat), 270mg sodium, 55g carbs (6g fiber, 35g sugar), 14g protein
“This dairy-free smoothie is a great way to get in plant protein—14 grams to be exact—along with several other vital nutrients. Berries are an excellent source of filling fiber and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, which boost brain power and strengthen your immune defense,” says Moskovitz.
Best healthy fast-food breakfast: Starbucks Kale and Portabella Mushroom Sous Vide Egg Bites
PER SERVING: 230 calories, 14g fat (9 g saturated fat), 340mg sodium, 11g carbs (2g fiber, 1g sugar), 15g protein
“With 15 grams of essential protein and antioxidant-rich veggies, you’ll have an easy source of energy to last you well until lunch,” says Moskovitz.
Best healthy fast-food burger: Culver’s Harvest Veggie Burger
PER SERVING: 590 calories, 25g fat (10g saturated fat), 1,075mg sodium, 72g carbs (6g fiber, 9g sugar), 19g protein
While this new-on-the-scene burger stands out as a better pick among newly launched burgers, Moskovitz does warn of its sodium levels. “Be mindful of the higher sodium content and balance that out with lower-sodium meals the rest of the day,” she advises.
Best healthy full-service restaurant item: California Pizza Kitchen’s Smashed Avocado Focaccia
PER SERVING: 690 calories, 38g fat (5g saturated fat), 1,120mg sodium, 83g carbs (8g fiber, 3g sugar), 14g protein
“This creative lunch option proves that not every sandwich needs to have a meaty center,” Moskovitz says. She agrees that this dine-in item is a much better pick when you want to treat yourself to eating out but avoid entrées that are simply thinly-veiled junk food served on a prettier plate.
Best healthy fast-food salad: Qdoba’s Paleo Chicken Salad
PER SERVING: 300 calories, 18g fat (4.5g saturated fat), 970 mg sodium, 20g carbs (0g fiber, 6g sugar), 19g protein
Want to add even more protein and fiber to your meal? Moskovitz recommends ordering it with black beans.
Best healthy fast-food sandwich: Jersey Mike’s Grilled Portabella Mushroom and Swiss Sub
PER SERVING: 630 calories, 30.26g fat (10.89g saturated fat), 739.77mg sodium, 65.41g carbs (5.19g fiber, 7.93g sugar), 25.36g protein
“This predominately plant-based sandwich has less sodium and more heart-healthy ingredients—such as fresh grilled veggies—than other newly launched sandwich options. It also has a good amount of fiber and protein,” says Moskovitz.
Best healthy fast-food side: Chick-fil-A’s Kale Crunch Side
PER SERVING: 120 calories, 9g fat (1g saturated fat), 140mg sodium, 8g carbs (2g fiber, 3g sugar), 3g protein
“While raw kale leaves much to be desired, this crunchy, creative side packs in plenty of nutrients. With only one gram of saturated fat and just 140 milligrams of sodium, this option is a top fast-food contender,” says Moskovitz.
Best healthy fast-food wrap: Arby’s Creamy Mediterranean Chicken Wrap
PER SERVING: 540 calories, 30g fat (5 g saturated fat), 1,260 mg sodium, 40g carbs (3g fiber, 6g sugar), 32g protein
“This wrap wins the first spot for being the most balanced and nutritious option out of other fast-food wraps,” says Moskovitz.