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Healthiest Fast Food Choices from McDonald’s, Chipotle and Panera

It’s not a shocker to say, but most fast food is not good for you. Rarely do you see fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains. But life throws us curve balls, and sometimes we either pick up some fast food or battle a blood sugar nose dive. In this blog post, I’ll help you make the best of the fast food choices.

You can make smart choices and I’ve picked some of the best options. As a general rule, to avoid excessive fat and calories, skip the fried foods and opt for grilled. Get your sauce on the side, go without extra cheese, and get the smallest size possible. The only advantage of “super sizing” is if you plan to share the meal with someone else. Don’t drink any calories. That means no sweet tea, soda, or other sweetened beverages. Go for water, low-fat milk, a 4-ounce 100% juice, or a sugar-free diet beverage.

Chipotle

Chipotle offers an amazing variety of Mexican cuisine that you can customize. The problem? Portions are out of control and toppings push some of the burritos over 1,000 calories. For 300 calories you could get three hard or soft shell tacos filled with the vegetable fajita mix, lettuce, and medium spice green salsa. The nutrition totals: 300 kcal, 15 grams fat, 5 grams protein, 35 grams carbs.

Panera

From soups and sandwiches to salads and pastries, Panera is on the verge of gourmet to go. While it may be your first instinct to place your order for a salad, think again. Fast food salads often contain sneaky calories in the form of croutons or chow mein noodle toppings, enormous portions, and the biggest culprit of all, an overload of dressing. Your best bet is to go for the “You Pick Two.” Get the low-fat garden vegetable soup. The soup totals up to 90 calories with zero grams of fat. For your second part of the order, you can get your salad, but this time it’s portion controlled. A half strawberry poppy seed and chicken salad pulls in some protein and evens out at 140 calories (4 grams fat, 14 grams carb, 14 grams protein).

McDonald’s

While this fast food colossus has received the brunt of fast food criticism, they do have some realistic options, which is why the final three picks come from the Golden Arches.

Recent hype about super-quadruple-double burgers is ridiculous. One person does not need that amount of food or sodium within a day! A single hamburger patty is a realistic McD’s option: 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 31 g carbs, and 12 grams of protein.

Snack Wraps are correctly portioned for a lunch (not a snack!) and keep you from feeling like you’re skimping out on a meal. The honey mustard grilled chicken is 260 calories with 9 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein.

Sometimes you need a sweet pick-me-up, and in this heat what better classic than an ice cream cone? The regular size ice cream cone only has 100 calories.

Also Read:

Fast Food Changes Mood and Behavior

Healthy Fast Food Eating for Moms on the Go

23 Ways to Keep Fast Food in Your Diet

July 14th, 2010

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Sarah Jane

Many fast food Mexican restaurants are now offering lighter fare and full nutrition information to support it. I think it's a great start!

posted Nov 2nd, 2010 7:36 pm



   
 

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