16 fast-food options that are low in calories

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  • From McDonald’s breakfast to KFC, and from Nando’s chicken wings to Taco Bell meat tacos, we’ve rounded up the best healthy fast food options from a variety of popular fast food restaurants.

    Fast food is often associated with a high number of calories and saturated fat, but there are quite a few items on the menu that are actually healthy food. These items tend to be less than 500 calories in addition to being less than 5 grams of saturated fat per portion. It’s a good option if you’re on a diet and don’t want to spoil your progress.

    Registered Dietitian Rachel Clarkson, MD, founder of the DNA Dietitian says; Fast food options are usually not the healthiest because they are rich in inflammatory fats like saturated and trans fats as well as sodium. It’s also high in calories and processed sugar and low in healthy nutrients like high-quality protein, fiber and whole grain carbohydrates. How can you enjoy fast food in a healthy way? The best way to enjoy fast food is with mindful indulgence rather than making it a habit.”

    “Enjoy fast food from time to time in a portion convenient for you with attention. You can also make some simple swaps and adjustments upon request to make the meal more nutritious,” adds Rachel. For example; try to order items labeled grilled instead of fried swap a high-carb side like french fries for a salad option with dressing on the side (most fast food places will have a salad option) opt for water or sparkling water instead of high-sugar sodas Or take the top bun out of your burger or sandwich and enjoy it as an open-faced sandwich.” Making these swaps is a healthy option, especially if you’re hoping to lose weight without dieting or exercising.

    The healthiest fast food

    A wrap is often the healthiest option on burgers

    1. McDonald’s: Spicy Vegan Wrap

    Calories: 363 | Saturated fat: 1.4г

    You often find that vegetarian and vegan options — especially those without cheese — are healthier and lower in calories. These spicy vegetable wraps have veggie wrap, lettuce, tomato, and a spicy relish instead of fattening mayonnaise. Skip the soda and the filling coffee for white coffee, which contains bone-building organic milk. This will add 86 calories and 1.9 grams of saturated fat, making a McDonald’s lunch 449 calories and 3.3 grams of saturated fat.

    Kentucky Fried Chicken - Reg - Popcorn - Chicken

    Small chicken nuggets are less in calories than KFC burger

    2. KFC: Regular Popcorn Chicken

    Calories: 285 | Saturated fat: 1.7г

    Made with 100% chicken breasts, Kentucky Fried Chicken is a great choice on a more calorie burger. Eat two large corn cobs instead of the fries and that’ll add another 165 calories and 0.4 grams of saturated fat. That’s 450 calories, 2.1 grams of saturated fat and a good portion of vegetables in your daily recommendations. And not in sight a fried steak or a white burger bun.

    Pizza Hut Veggie Sizzler

    Low calorie is not but some slices are ok

    3. Pizza Hut: Gluten Free Veggie Supreme x 3 Slices

    Calories: 363 | Saturated fat: 5.1 grams

    Although pretty, pizza is famous for its calories, so choose slices over a whole slice. Gluten-free bases are often lower in calories, so if you subscribe to the gluten-free Veggie Supreme, you’ll get 363 calories and just over 5g of saturated fat. This comes with veggies too – green peppers, jalapenos, bell peppers, and red onions – which will fuel your body more than processed red meat like pepperoni.

    Nando's grilled chicken burger is one of the healthiest fast foods

    Choose grilled chicken over fried chicken every time

    4. Nando’s: Grilled Chicken Burger

    Calories: 438 | Saturated fat: 2.2 grams

    Grilled meat is usually healthier than fried or fried meat, and Nando’s has a range of grilled options. Grilled chicken burger contains grilled peri peri grilled chicken breast with spices of your choice plus lemon and herb mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and peri ketchup. All in a Portuguese roll for less than 450 calories. Eat alongside a large mixed salad of four leaves, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and salsa, and your protein-rich lunch will be 465 calories and 2.3 grams of saturated fat.

    McDonald's Meal Under 400 Cals 6 Nuggets

    McDonald’s 400 calories and under meals is a great idea

    5. McDonald’s: Chicken McNuggets

    Calories: 275 | Saturated fat: 1.7г

    McDonald’s now offers meal ideas under 400 or 600 calories, and we love them. The suggested serving of Chicken McNuggets (6 pcs) with a side salad and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar medium is 275 calories and 1.7 grams saturated fat. Up to 600 calories and fewer servings without french fries – the consensus is that if you don’t add french fries, it will make a huge difference in your calorie intake.

    Pizza Express: Light Pizza

    Pizza is high in calories, but not if you choose Leggera from Pizza Express

    6. Pizza Express: Light Pizza

    Calories: 432 | Saturated fat: 4.3г

    Pizza is not a low-calorie option but there are ways to treat yourself without overdoing it. Pizza Express Leggera Pizza offers less than 600 calories. Calories are kept through all in the middle full of fresh, crunchy salad. Choose Leggera La Reine—a combination of ham, black olives, mushrooms, light mozzarella, and tomatoes on a thin base—and you’ll get some veggies, a salad with your meal, and a pizza for under 500 calories.

    Costa egg mayonnaise sandwich is one of the healthiest fast foods

    A sandwich full of protein will keep you full for longer

    7. Costa Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Cappuccino

    Calories: 432 | Saturated fat: 2.5 grams

    There are some nice but troublesome things to eat in Costa. Although toast is delicious, it is too high in saturated fat to be on this list. But Costa’s healthy option (by company acceptance) is the protein-enriched egg mayonnaise sandwich on oat bread. It contains 316 calories and 2.1 grams saturated fat. If you mix it with a medium cappuccino made with skim milk (by the way a great source of calcium) you get a serving of 432 calories and only 2.5 grams of saturated fat.

    ZInger Salad is a low-calorie fast food from Kentucky Fried Chicken

    Kentucky Fried Chicken Salad version of the fave burger is a low-calorie alternative.

    8. Kentucky Fried Chicken: Zinger Salad

    Calories: 350 | Saturated fat: 2.3г

    For fans of the Zinger Burger this is the healthiest option. Marinated chicken fillet slices on top of crunchy lettuce, diced tomatoes, sweet corn with garlic dressing, the calorie content is a respectable 350 calories. By choosing this, you are avoiding the refined white bread and creamy dressing that come in the burger of the same name.

    Starbucks Banana Bread One of the Healthiest Fast Food Options at Starbucks

    Banana bread is one of the best baked goods you can eat

    9. Starbucks: Banana and Almond Bread Latte

    Calories: 448 | Saturated fat: 2.6г

    If you prefer sweets, avoid high-quality products like the almond croissant and go for a slice of banana bread with walnuts and walnuts. Nuts provide protein and a slow release of energy, plus the loaf has bananas instead of chocolate or butter. Serving 374 calories and 2.3g saturated fat Combine it with a tall latte made with almond milk (lower in saturated fat compared to other milk options) and you’ve got a sweet breakfast that doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels. All for 448 calories and 2.6 grams of saturated fat. Add one of these low-calorie Starbucks drinks and you’ve got a healthy fast-food option.


    Leon’s delicious chicken burger comes with gut-friendly kimchi

    10. Leon: Korean Crispy Chicken Burger

    Calories: 471 | Saturated fat: 3.4г

    There are more and more Leons popping up across the country, and while they serve fast food, the company is arguably better focused on health and the environment than other brands. Korean burger stuffed with chicken nuggets, raw kimchi slaw, and korean mayonnaise. Not only is it a carbon-neutral product, you’re doing your bit for the planet as well. Fast food that you can enjoy without feeling guilty.

    Burger-king-kids-junior meal

    It might be delicious, but BK isn’t great for low-calorie fare

    11. Burger King: Kids Hamburger Small Meal

    Calories: 462 | Saturated fat: 7.6г

    Burger lovers will find it hard to find fast, low-calorie meals at Burger King. The best we could find was the kids’ hamburger mini-meal containing a hamburger (no cheese), mini fries and a bottle of water for 462 calories but 7.6g of saturated fat. You can eat a baby hamburger (245 calories and 3.7g saturated fat) with 6 onion rings (225 calories and 2.2g saturated fat), which is marginally better, but if you really like a burger and want to keep your calories down Maybe avoid BK for now.

    Taco Bell Crunchy Taco

    You can eat a couple of tacos and never go over the 500 cal mark

    12. Taco Bell: Crunchy Beef Taco

    Calories: 159 | Saturated fat: 3.5 grams

    A favorite in Taco Bell’s Mexican chain, the crunchy corn taco comes with a choice of beef, roast chicken, or black beans, plus lettuce and cheddar cheese. The crispy beef taco will provide 159 calories and 3.5 grams of saturated fat — good if you only want one but two will increase your saturated fat intake to 7 grams. So, if you’re hungry, opt for the one chicken and black bean taco. This duo contains 263 calories and 3.9 grams of saturated fat combined. Not only that, but lean white meat and black beans that are rich in protein are better than red meat. If you want to add something green to the mix, add a side of guacamole for 23 calories and 0.3g of saturated fat.

    Greggs ham, egg and salad sandwich is one of the healthiest fast food ever

    Stay away from the sausage rolls and opt for sarnie

    13. Greg’s: Honey Grilled Beef Roll with Egg Salad

    Calories: 329 | Saturated fat: 1.2 grams

    It’s so tempting to eat one of Greggs’ famous sausage rolls, you’re eating 12g of saturated fat instead of just 1.2g if you eat this white, whole-grain roll stuffed with honey-roasted pork, free pasture-raised eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad leaves mixed with a little of mayonnaise. Add a little fair trade orange juice to your lunch and you’ll still only consume 398 calories, plus the juice will save you one of your 5 a day.

    Pret A Manger: Nicoise Tuna Salad

    This stuffed salad contains a large amount of protein

    14. Brit A Manger: Nice Tuna Salad

    Calories: 455 | Saturated fat: 4.9 g

    You can count on Pret to serve up fresh salads full of lean protein like salmon, tuna, chickpeas, chickpeas and beans. This classic salad is a hearty mix of pole-and-line-caught tuna, hard-boiled eggs, kalamata olives and red onions, plus salad leaves, cucumbers, baby plum tomatoes, and a bowl of French Brits dressing. The healthiest fast food, although we appreciate that not everyone wants to choose a salad.

    Nando's chicken wings are the healthiest fast food

    Cut out carbs and stick to protein and vegetables

    15. Nando’s: 3 chicken wings and cole slaw

    Calories: 499 | Saturated fat: 4.5 grams

    Although garlic bread isn’t on the menu, eat three flame-grilled chicken wings filled with beloved PERI-PERI heat Nando’s, plus your choice of seasoning, along with a regular serving of coleslaw, and you’ll get protein-and-lunch. Stuffed with vegetables for 499 calories and 4.5 grams saturated fat.

    McDonald's Egg McMuffin Meal

    McDonald’s serves low-calorie brekkies

    16. McDonald’s: Egg & Cheese McMuffin Meal

    Calories: 347 | Saturated fat: 4.8 grams

    McDonald’s breakfast is nothing short of symbolic, so it’s encouraging to know that you can have a healthier version. McDonald’s currently offers two low-calorie breakfast ideas, but we love the Egg & Cheese McMuffin with Apple & Grape Fruit Bag and the plain black coffee option. This meal provides protein from eggs, a serving of fruit for one of 5 meals a day, and unadulterated coffee to energize you. Keep in mind that McDonald’s breakfast starts at 5 AM and ends at 11 AM.

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