10 seriously healthy fast-food meals
What's your fast-food fantasy?
Hey, girl, we won’t tell, but where do you like to cheat on your diet? Let us guess: steamy sessions with French fries in the car? Furtive licks of a Frostys during your 4 pm crash? It’s only human. Sometimes, you just don’t have access to health food, and in the moment, a double-chalupa’ed-McWhopper might not sound like a bad idea. Luckily, help is here. These 10 delicious (and, believe it or not, nutritious) meals will help keep you honest in the face of deep-fried temptation.
-- Mandy Oaklander, Prevention
Chipotle: Barbacoa And Guacamole Salad
Here’s an awesome little secret: You can eat 100% GMO free at Chipotle. When the company decided to disclose their ingredients online this summer, they went an extra step further and became the first to list foods containing GMOs in its online menu. Unfortunately, most of their corn and soy contains GMOs, which is par for the course since these are the two most common genetically modified crops. But Chipotle makes it easy to choose other options with simple color-coding: anything with a pink square and a “G” is GMO, along with other designations for preservatives, organic, and responsibly raised meats.
Make your own salad with no-hormone-added barbacoa, which doesn’t use unnecessary antibiotics (chicken, pictured here, is also a great choice). Add romaine lettuce, guacamole, a little sour cream, and tomatillo-green chili salsa. It’s definitely a sodium splurge, but full of MUFAs and quality ingredients.
*Extra bonus for Cali! You can try Chipotle’s new Sofritas: shredded organic (and non-GMO) tofu braised with chilies and spices. They’re only available in California right now, but fingers crossed they’ll expand all over.
NUTRITION (per salad) 585 cal, 37 g pro, 40 g carb, 19 g fiber, 31 g fat, 11.5 g sat fat, 1215 mg sodium
Domino’s Pizza: Veggie Pizza With Gluten-Free Crust
Who knew fast-food pizza could be gluten-free-friendly? Domino’s is, thanks to its GF crust with—truly!—nothing bad in it. Load it up with baby spinach, fresh mushrooms, and diced tomatoes, none of which have preservatives. Plus, there’s no partially hydrogenated oil (code for trans fat) here, unlike in Pizza Hut’s thin crust—code for trans fat. These ingredients are the best you can hope for large-chain pizza.
NUTRITION (per 1/6 pizza) 133 cal, 4 g pro, 16 g carb, 2 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 327 mg sodium
Starbucks: Protein Bistro Box and juice
Sweet, meet savory! Your portable lunch comes equipped with a cage-free hardboiled egg, cheddar cheese, multigrain bread, peanut butter, apple slices, and grapes. After you meet 15% of your daily calcium requirement, sip an Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens and Lemon juice, with no additives and 10 different fruits and veggies.
NUTRITION(protein box) 380 cal, 13 g pro, 37 g carb, 5 g fiber, 19 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 470 mg sodium; (juice, 8 oz) 40 cal, 2 g pro, 9 g carb, 0 g fiber, 0 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 120 mg sodium
McDonald’s: Premium Southwest Salad
Surprised to see McDonald’s on this list? Don’t be! It’s another Koff-approved pick. Opt for this hearty, fresh salad, which comes with mixed greens, black beans, corn, cheese, and tortilla strips. To keep it extra-light, hold the chicken and wield the lime wedge instead of dressing.
NUTRITION (without chicken) 140 cal, 6 g pro, 20 g carb, 6 g fiber, 4.5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 150 mg sodium
Pret A Manger: Wild Salmon Salad
If you live in Boston, New York, DC, or Chicago (or Hong Kong, the UK, or France) you’re in luck! Pret A Manger is your no-brainer answer for all quick lunches. With a fresh and truly healthy menu, you really can’t go wrong, but our favorite pick of the moment is the Wild Salmon Salad, featuring cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, tzatziki sauce, and lemon. Pret uses wild salmon, which has way less fat and more zinc than farmed fish (check out the differences between wild salmon vs. farmed salmon). It doesn’t get tastier than that.
NUTRITION (per salad) 170 cal, 23 g pro, 13 g carb, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 820 mg sodium
Subway: Veggie Delite
Though Subway is notorious for packing ingredients and preservatives into their food (the banana peppers alone have 11 ingredients), all of the Veggie Delite toppings are on the clean list. Stick to red onions, tomatoes, cukes, and green peppers, then add on some spinach, vinegar, and minimum-ingredient Swiss cheese. Voila! A a tasty 6-incher that won’t send you into a sodium coma.
NUTRITION(per 6” sub) 280 cal, 12 g pro, 44 g carb, 5 g fiber, 7 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 15 mg chol, 320 mg sodium
Wendy's: Sour Cream And Chive Potato
Blind yourself to the corn syrupy Frosty and beeline for the classic Wendy’s side: the fabulous baked potato. Dressed with reduced-fat sour cream and chives, it’s one of the healthiest picks on the menu. Spuds are packed with potassium, folate, and fiber (just remember to eat the fiber-rich skin). And don’t play hot potato! Let them cool down first—cool potatoes have much more resistant starch, which gets fermented in your colon and becomes food for your gut.
NUTRITION (per serving) 320 cal, 8 g pro, 63 g carb, 7 g fiber, 3.5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 50 mg sodium
Panera Bread: Power Chicken Hummus Bowl
This member of Panera’s hidden menu (just ask) is a favorite of Prevention’s RD Ashley Koff. She applauds the antibiotic-free chicken and mix of fibrous veggies. A dollop of hummus later, and the dish packs 33 grams of lean protein—without many calories, thanks to a satisfying squeeze of lemon in lieu of dressing.
NUTRITION (per bowl) 330 cal, 33 g pro, 23 g carb, 8 g fiber, 13 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 590 mg sodium
Boston Market: Roast Turkey Breast
When you’re craving meat on the road, Boston Market’s not a bad place to pull over. Choose their roasted turkey breast meal, which has a relatively short ingredient list: just good ol’ turkey breast, with a solution of water, salt, lemon juice concentrate, and vinegar. Pair it with a side of fresh steamed vegetables, and you’ve got a guilt-proof pit stop.
NUTRITION (5 oz turkey breast plus fresh steamed vegetables) 260 cal, 40 g pro, 8 g carb, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1g sat fat, 780 mg sodium