What Are The Healthier Options On Fast Food Menus?

The popularity of fast food has a lot to do with convenience, whether you are slipping out of the office for a quick lunch or stopping for breakfast during a road trip.

In a 2018 report, almost a third of Americans were estimated to consume a meal at fast-food eateries every day. While this number needs to decrease, nutrition experts point out that we can still make do for those instances when we have no other option. Here are some relatively healthy menu choices, as highlighted by dietitians:

1. McDonald’ s

It may come as a surprise that a number of dietitians have highlighted the classic cheeseburger as one of the healthier options on the menu. The "trick" is in the portion size, said Jaclyn London, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute.

In total, you only consume up to 300 calories and 12 grams of fat. Of course, it helps to opt for healthy yet flavorful toppings such as pickles, onions, mustard, and more.

2. Starbucks

The rules for a healthy cup of coffee are rather simple — cut down on the sugar for the most. But what is your best bet when you walk into a Starbucks for a quick bite? 

The sous vide egg bites are not only a source of calcium but can also provide 13 grams of protein. Registered dietitian Samantha Cassetty recommends pairing them with the packaged avocado spread for an extra nutritional boost. "You’ll get 4 grams of fiber in the spread, plus heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, and other plant health-promoters," she writes.

3. Wendy’s

"Wendy’s is a fast-food restaurant with the advantage of selection," writes Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D. "The items on the menu can easily be tailored to the size you want, and you can mix and match."

While they do offer salads, the chicken wrap may be a healthier choice according to experts. For instance, the apple pecan chicken salad contains 40 grams of sugar while the grilled chicken contains only about three grams. Furthermore, the latter can provide close to 20 grams of protein, a decent chunk of your recommended daily intake.

4. Burger King

Speaking to Women's Health Mag, registered dietitian Jessica Ivey recommends going for a hamburger paired with a garden side salad. "If it's a burger you crave, practice portion control by choosing the single patty hamburger with a side salad and light honey balsamic vinaigrette dressing," she said. 

The key is to choose whatever is low in saturated fat, which is what leads to an unhealthy increase in cholesterol. Vegetarians can also find a heart-healthy option by picking the veggie burger — an option that also comes with 22 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.