Healthy “Fast Food” Awards

“Fast food” is taking a turn for the better. It is no longer (necessarily) associated with grease, fat, and god-knows-what-that-is. Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s still have quite a ways to go, but it seems that everyone is at least putting in an effort.

Here is a list of my go-to fast food restaurants for when I’m traveling, out of food, or simply don’t feel like cooking. Like all fast food, they must be enjoyed in moderation; it is always better to cook for yourself, so you can see exactly what goes into what you are eating, but clearly some options are better than others.

1. Panera Bread


This restaurant really caters to its health-conscious customers by listing the calories for just about every item right on the menu board. The You-Pick-Two option allows you to customize your meal with a large selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches from which to choose. Their website also has a Nutrition Calculator that allows you to add multiple items and view all of the nutrition information for your entire meal.

My Favorite Options:

    • 1/2 BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad (250 calories)
    • 1/2 Thai Chopped Chicken Salad (200 calories)
    • 1/2 Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (200 calories)
    • Cup of Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup (110 calories)
    • Cup of Low-Fat Garden Vegetable Soup (110 calories)
    • 1/2 Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (300 calories)

2. Subway


When all else fails, there’s almost always a Subway somewhere close by for me to get my veggie sub fix. With options for whole wheat bread and all the vegetables your heart can handle, you can’t go wrong. I always order the Veggie Delight with low-fat honey mustard dressing, usually topped with swiss cheese and toasted. You can get all this in a foot-long for just over 500 calories. Subway also posts their nutrition information on the menu for all of their basic sandwiches.

3. Starbuck’s


While some items on the Starbuck’s menu are dietary disasters, there are tons of healthy, low-cal options as well.


    • Grande Mocha Light Frappuccino (140 calories)
    • Chocolate Vivanno Smoothie (270 calories)
    • Grande Soy Latte (170 calories)
    • Grande Skinny Latte (170 calories)
    • Unsweetened Iced Green Tea (0 calories)


    • Turkey Bacon, Egg White, Cheddar Breakfast Sandwich (320 calories)
    • Spinach, Tomato, Feta, Egg Wrap (280 calories)
    • Perfect Oatmeal (140-390 calories)

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