Carl’s Jr. isn’t exactly known for their healthy options. In fact, they may be best known for their unhealthy burger creations. However, because life gives you no other option than eating in unhealthy establishments from time to time (think driving cross-country or it being your boss’s favorite burger joint), we wanted to see if we could find at least a few options that could be considered healthy.
The below meal options all meet the requirements of our registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield who says that meals should have less than 500 calories and less than 500 milligrams of sodium, according to the the new daily sodium recommendations. As you can see, it’s slim pickings.
Healthiest Meals at Carl’s Jr.
1. Kid’s Hamburger. Because there are so few options on the Carl’s Jr. menu that meets our healthy criteria, we’re letting this option sneak by with 230 calories and 510 milligrams of sodium. Be sure to order it sans condiments and pair it with raw veggies or some fruit to make for a real meal.
2. 4-Piece Chicken Stars. This super low-calorie option has just 170 calories and 360 milligrams of sodium. Again, bring some some fresh produce from home to get more nutrition in.
3. Half of any main salad without the dressing. Carl’s Jr. offers three different salads that — when halved and not topped with dressing — meet our criteria. Enjoy the Cranberry Apple Walnut Grilled Chicken Salad, Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Salad or the Original Grilled Chicken Salad for less than 200 calories and about 350 milligrams of sodium. Because the calorie count is so low, dress them with a little drizzle of olive oil and natural low-sodium balsamic vinegar for flavor.
4. Side Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette. A very small meal, bring a few unsalted almonds from home to make this more of a vegetarian lunch or dinner. The salad with dressing just has 280 calories and 400 milligrams of sodium.
5. One Hard Taco. Some Carl’s Jr.’s offer Green Burrito options. It’s a limited menu, but if your Carl’s Jr. has it, try one of their hard tacos with chicken, steak or ground beef for about 200 calories and 350 milligrams of sodium. Pair it with an apple, orange or some carrot sticks from home to fill you up.
Do you eat at this chain? Surprised by the options?