Eat Fast Food and Lose Weight: Here’s How!

It’s no secret that fast food is bad for us, but sometimes the reality of life leaves us with no other option. But that doesn’t mean you should just throw your diet out the window!

These days, nearly all fast food places and restaurants have healthy options available. Read on, and we’ll help you pick what to eat at some many popular eateries, and what to do when you’re somewhere that’s not on our list of healthy fast food options!

fast-food-what-to-eatImage Credit: alux.com

Some of the choices you’ll see below are salads, which can quickly have their benefits ruined with the wrong choice of dressing. We’ve made suggestions where possible, but most places will have a solid low-cal option available if you just ask.

If you don’t see your destination of choice in the list below, click here (or scroll to bottom of the article) for tips that help you make healthy choices no matter where you’re eating!

Arby’s

fast-food-arbysImage Credit: arbys.com

Arby’s doesn’t have a lot of great choices, but you’re not completely out of luck. Avoid the Market Fresh sandwiches like the plague. The Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon is a diet-killing 800 calories while the Roast Turkey & Swiss isn’t much better at 710 cals.

Your best option: Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad

230 calories, 8g carbs (2g dietary), 13g fat, 22g protein

Your next best choice: Roast Turkey & Swiss Wrap with No Mayo

410 calories, 38g carbs (4g dietary), 16g fat, 30g protein

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Burger King

Skip all of BK’s breaded chicken options (including nuggets and chicken fries) as they’re packed with fat. If you opt for the Tendergrill sandwich and want to keep the bun, you’ll add 220 calories, 38g carbs, 5g fat, and 2g protein.

Your best option: Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich with No Bun and No Mayo

130 calories, 2g carbs, 4g fat, 24g protein

Your next best choice: Garden Grilled Chicken Salad with Tendergrill

320 calories, 16g carbs (2g dietary), 14g fat, 36g protein

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Carl’s Jr. / Hardees

Believe it or not, the chain that’s going full speed ahead with unhealthy options actually has some solid choices. If you opt for the salad, choose their Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, which adds only 60 calories and 5g carbs.

Your best option: Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich (without bun)

180 calories, 11g carbs, 4g fat, 24g protein

Your next best choice: Charbroiled Chicken Salad

320 calories, 27g carbs (3g dietary), 11g fat, 31g protein

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Chick-fil-A

fast-food-chickfila-2Image Credit: chickfila.com

Avoid all of their sandwich and salad options which use fried chicken. The Grilled Chicken Sandwich is not a bad choice, but loses out here due to its bun, which adds 40g of carbs (just 3 of which are dietary). Be careful to use their dipping sauces & salad dressings in moderation.

Your best option: Grilled Nuggets (8 count)

140 calories, 4g carbs (0g dietary), 3g fat, 23g protein

Your next best choice: Grilled Market Salad

200 calories, 17g carbs (4g dietary), 5g fat, 23g protein

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Five Guys

You won’t have a lot of options here unless you ditch the bread. Five Guys’ buns total about 260 calories just for the ‘Little’ options, and their sandwiches are no help — the Veggie, for example, is loaded with 440 calories and 60g carbs. Go bunless or go elsewhere.

Your best option: Bunless Little Burger

220 calories, 0g carbs, 17g fat, 16g protein

Your next best choice: Bunless Dog

285 calories, 1g carbs, 26g fat, 11g protein

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McDonald’s

Your best option purely from a nutritional standpoint is their bunless Artisan Grilled Chicken sandwich. But if you’d like a choice that hasn’t had a significant ingredient removed, the Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken is a great, guilt-free alternative. Just be sure not to top it off with their Ranch dressing and instead go with the Newman’s Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette they offer (just 35 calories and 5g of carbs).

Your best option: Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich (without bun)

140 calories, 2g carbs, 3.5g fat, 25g protein

Your next best choice: Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken

310 calories, 9g carbs (3g dietary), 14g fat, 38g protein

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Taco Bell

fast-food-taco-bellImage Credit: eatthis.com

Go for the Fresco menu! All items there will be under 350 calories and 10g of fat. You can also make any other item ‘Fresco-style,’ meaning things you’ll want to avoid like cheese, sour cream, guac, etc. will be replaced by pico de gallo.

Your best option: Fresco Chicken Soft Taco

140 calories, 16g carbs (2g dietary), 3.5g fat, 10g protein

Your next best choice: Fresco Steak Soft Taco

150 calories, 16g carbs (2g dietary), 4g fat, 12g protein

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Wendy’s

If you’d like to keep the bun on the Chicken Grill sandwich, add 160 calories, 29g carbs, 2g fat, and 4g protein to the numbers below. The Grilled Chicken Wrap (270 cals, 24g carbs, 10g fat, 20g protein) is a good option if you’re eating on the run.

Your best option: Bunless Ultimate Chicken Grill

180 calories, 5g carbs, 6g fat, 28g protein

Your next best choice: Mediterranean Chicken Salad (Half-Size)

230 calories, 21g carbs, 8g fat, 20g protein

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Tips for eating out

Hopefully, this list of what to eat at fast food restaurants will help you stay on track the next time you dine out. But if you didn’t find your desired eatery on our list, here’s some tips that will help you find something that works:

  • Ask for no mayo and you’ll save yourself around 80 (or more) empty calories
  • Going bunless typically saves about 200 calories and 30g of carbs
  • Look for options high in lean protein like those with ham, turkey, or grilled chicken
  • Be very careful with dipping sauces, buffalo sauce is usually low-cal but very high in sodium
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing is usually a safe bet (though you should still read the nutritional info to be sure)
  • Don’t add ranch dressing or croutons to any salad

Find out more about taking your diet to the next level by reading our article on the 7 Secrets of Skinny Girls!

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