What to Order When Fast Food is Your Only Option

No, eating at Burger King is not a great idea unless serious bloating really doesn’t bother you. But knowing what the healthiest fast food options are is a good idea, for situations when you’re in a (protein) pinch. You know, when literally all else fails.

RELATED: How to Stop Bloating in 5 Easy Steps

After all, hitting up a Sweetgreen or farmers’ market is not always an option.

Recently, TODAY asked Keri to share her picks for the healthiest fast food meals, so we’re passing on her choices at the seven most common chains, below.

This’ll help you make the best decision when it’s time for lunch or dinner and there’s no kale salad in sight for miles and miles.

The 7 Healthiest Fast Food Meals


Salad Bowl with romaine, chicken, black beans, fajita vegetables, and fresh tomato salsa
In some ways, Chipotle doesn’t belong on this list at all because of its commitment to healthy, fresh ingredients. The problem is with portion size, especially when you start wrapping piles of meat, cheese, and sour cream up in a flour tortilla. We’re no fans of calorie counting, but a calorie bomb is a calorie bomb.

Thankfully, it’s easy to create your own meal. Go for the salad bowl so that greens are your base and layer with flavorful fajita veggies and salsa for antioxidants. Chicken and black beans provide plenty of protein.

RELATED: The Essential Guide to Plant-Based Protein


6-Inch Veggie Delite
This one’s got way too many processed carbs for our taste, but it’s your best best to avoid inflammation-promoting processed deli meats and remember to just pile those veggies super high.

Taco Bell

Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Tacos
These come with a hefty 10 grams of protein without a ton of calories. Go for two and add black beans on the side for extra fiber and antioxidants.

Burger King

Original Whopper Jr., no mayo
Sodium is a major issue with fast food burgers. This one has 390 mg, which is (actually) very low compared to others. Go for the burger and keep it simple, ideally with a side salad.


Grilled Chicken Wrap
Wendy’s has a lot of salads it pitches as healthy, but most are loaded with calories and sugar. Better to grab this wrap. It has 20 grams of protein from the grilled chicken and three grams of sugar compared to the Apple Pecan Salad’s 40. (Yup, that salad has more sugar than a 12-ounce can of coke!)

RELATED: How To Finally Prevent Sugar Cravings


Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad
Just told you to skip the salads, but this one is actually mostly veggies (four kinds of greens!) and grilled chicken, with just a bit of bacon.


Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast (on the bone), side of Green Beans
Skip the inflammation-spiking deep-fried chicken. Opt for the grilled version for protein, plus green beans for vitamins and fiber.

About Nutritious Life Editors

The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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