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Healthier Fast-Food Options at 8 Top Fast-Food Chains

Fast-Food Meals Might Be Fast, But They Can Also Be High in Calories
Fast-Food Meals Might Be Fast, But They Can Also Be High in Calories

Fast-food meals might be fast, but they can also be high in calories, fat, or both. Fortunately, it is possible to make better choices when you’re looking at the menu boards and are trying to choose healthier fast-food options. Use this guide to find selections at 8 top fast-food chains that are 400 calories or less and contain no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat. Spending just a few moments planning ahead means convenience doesn’t have to outweigh your health goals.

Arby's*

  • Ham ‘N Cheese Slider: 230 calories; 3.5 g saturated fat
  • Prime-Cut™ Chicken Tenders (3 pieces): 360 calories; 2.5 g saturated fat
  • Turkey ‘N Cheese Slider: 200 calories; 2.5 g saturated fat

Burger King*

  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich (without mayo): 370 calories; 2 g saturated fat
  • Chicken Nuggets (6 pieces): 260 calories; 2.5 g saturated fat
If you’d really like a burger, also consider:
  • Burger: 220 calories; 3 g saturated fat

KFC*

  • Honey BBQ Sandwich: 380 calories; 0.5 g saturated fat
  • Extra Crispy™ Tenders (1 piece): 140 calories; 1 g saturated fat
  • Kentucky Grilled Chicken® Breast: 210 calories; 2 g saturated fat
  • KFC® Famous Bowl™ (Snack-Size): 270 calories; 3.5 g saturated fat
If you’d like a side dish, also consider:
  • Green beans: 25 calories; 0 g saturated fat
  • Mashed potatoes (without gravy): 90 calories; 0.5 g saturated fat
  • Corn on the cob: 70 calories; 0 g saturated fat

McDonald's*

  • Chicken McNuggets® (6 pieces): 280 calories; 3 g saturated fat
  • Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich: 350 calories; 2 g saturated fat
  • Grilled Chicken Honey Mustard Snack Wrap: 250 calories; 3.5 g saturated fat
If you really want fries, consider:
  • Small fries: 230 calories; 1.5 g saturated fat

Pizza Hut*

  • Veggie Lover’s® Personal Pan Pizza®, 1 slice (= 1/4 pizza): 140 calories; 2 g saturated fat
  • Veggie Lover’s® Thin ’N Crispy, small, 1 slice (= 1/8 pizza): 100 calories; 1.5 g saturated fat
  • Buffalo Chicken Hand Tossed Pizza, small, 1 slice (= 1/8 pizza): 130 calories; 1.5 g saturated fat
If you’d like an appetizer, also consider:
  • Mild Traditional Bone-in Buffalo Wings (each): 100 calories; 1 g saturated fat
  • Baked Boneless Wings (4 pieces): 240 calories; 0 g saturated fat
  • Naked Boneless Wings (4 pieces): 320 calories; 2 g saturated fat

Subway*

  • 6-inch Black Forest Ham Fresh Fit® Sandwich (on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers): 290 calories; 1 g saturated fat
  • 6-inch Subway Club® Fresh Fit® Sandwich (on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers): 310 calories; 1.5 g saturated fat
  • 6-inch Veggie Delite® Fresh Fit® Sandwich (on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers): 230 calories; 0.5 g saturated fat
If you’d like more vegetables in your meal, also consider:
  • Oven Roasted Chicken Fresh Fit® Chopped Salad (without dressing or croutons): 150 calories; 1 g saturated fat
  • Turkey Breast Fresh Fit® Chopped Salad (without dressing or croutons): 110 calories; 0.5 g saturated fat

Taco Bell*

  • Soft Taco with Steak “Fresco Style”: 140 calories; 1.5 g saturated fat
  • Soft Taco with Shredded Chicken “Fresco Style”: 150 calories; 2 g saturated fat
  • Burrito Supreme® with Chicken “Fresco Style”: 340 calories; 2.5 g saturated fat
  • Gordita Supreme®—Chicken: 260 calories; 3 g saturated fat
If you want to try a Doritos® Locos Taco (DLT), also consider:
  • Cool Ranch® DLT (1 taco): 170 calories; 3.5 g saturated fat
If you want a side dish, also consider:
  • Black beans and rice: 190 calories; 0 g saturated fat

Wendy's*

  • Small Rich & Meaty Chili: 170 calories; 2 g saturated fat
  • Crispy Chicken Sandwich: 330 calories; 3 g saturated fat
  • Grilled Chicken Wrap: 270 calories; 3.5 g saturated fat
  • Chicken Nuggets (4 pieces): 170 calories; 2 g saturated fat
If you're looking for more vegetables, also consider:
  • Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potato: 310 calories; 1.5 g saturated fat
  • Garden Side Salad with Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Ranch Dressing, and Gourmet Croutons: 260 calories; 4.5 g saturated fat

*Brands mentioned are the trademarks of their respective owners.

The nutrition information is from the respective restaurants’ websites. Please refer to their nutrition guides for more information.

Mexican restaurants

Once you look past the fried tortilla chips and oversized, overstuffed burritos, you’ll find there are a lot of healthier Mexican food options to enjoy. Here’s a quick list of some easy substitutions.

Instead of Try
Flour tortillas Corn tortillas
Carnitas (fried beef or pork) or chorizo (sausage) Grilled fish or chicken breast
Refried beans Frijoles a la charra or borracho beans and Spanish rice
Quesadillas (fried flour or corn tortillas with meat and/or cheese) Chicken fajitas (marinated chicken grilled with onions, green peppers, lettuce, diced tomatoes with a soft corn tortilla)
Chalupas and tacos Taco salad or fajita salad (don't eat the tortilla shell, and ask for low-fat sour cream)
Flautas, chimichangas, burritos Chicken or beef enchiladas with red sauce or salsa

Chinese restaurants

Going out for Chinese food? You'll find lots of fried foods on many Chinese menus, along with plenty of meat recipes and dishes made with eggs. Chinese food can be high in sodium, too. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthier options. Here's a quick guide to help you find them.

Instead of Try
Egg drop soup Wonton or hot-and-sour soup
Egg rolls or fried wontons Steamed vegetable dumplings
Fried entrées Boiled, broiled, steamed, or lightly stir-fried entrées
Dishes with fried meats Dishes with lots of vegetables
Fried rice Steamed rice
Lobster sauce (has egg yolks); oyster, bean, and soy sauce Sweet-and-sour sauce, plum or duck sauce

One more thing...

Chinese menus often have a lot to offer, and in large portions. So why not divvy it up? Order a variety of entrées with your group—then you can try a little of everything. Oh, and you'll probably want to ask the cook to leave out the high-sodium soy sauce, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and salt.