We have the best intentions. We plan to work out for thirty minutes a day. We plan to lay out our clothes for the next day every night before bed. We imagine the healthy meals we’ll prepare for our families during the week.

But then the reality of our busy weeks hits, and we’re wrapped up in schedules that often don’t allow us to cook every night. Despite our intentions, we turn to grab-and-go meals and fast food.

Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone.

“Healthy” and “fast food” may not be synonymous, but if your busy schedule pushes you toward the neon lights of the drive thru, remember you have more options than the high-sugar, high-salt items. 

Maintaining your health starts by consuming foods packed with macro-nutrients such as protein without overindulging on potentially harmful additives like sugar and sodium.  
As more Americans grow concerned about the quality of the food they consume, fast food restaurants have taken notice by adding organic, vegetarian, and vegan items to their menus.

Many fast food restaurants have also started transparency campaigns, displaying nutrition facts next to the photos of their food items on their menus. A veggie dish could carry more calories than a burger, so before you order, check out the menu carefully.

No matter how busy you are or the nutrition program you adhere to, there are plenty of diet-friendly finds at your fast food favorites. Check out the four below to help make you make informed decisions at your favorite fast food restaurants.

 1. Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken at McDonald’s

  • Ingredients: Seasoned chicken, black beans, corn, roasted tomatoes, pepper
  • Intake: 330 calories, 11g fat, 4g fat, 90mg cholesterol, 920 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 6g fiber, 33g protein

2. Oven-Roasted Chicken Sandwich at Subway
  • Ingredients: Veggies (spinach, green peppers, lettuce), skip condiments like oil, dressings, and mayo
  • Intake: 370 calories, 10g fat, 23 g protein, 650 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 8 g sugar


3. Soups at Subway

  • Options: Cream of Broccoli, Beef and Barley, Creamy Chicken and Dumplings, Tomato Basil, Homestyle Chicken Noodle, Corn Chowder
  • Intake: 160 calories or less (Subway features two soups daily)


4. Greek Yogurt with Berries Parfait at Starbucks
  • Ingredients: Nonfat Greek yogurt, fruit, topped with crunchy granola
  • Intake: 220 calories, 3 g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 14g protein
  • Contributor: Jasmine Watson
    Twitter: @jayybelle 

Jasmine Watson

Jasmine is the author of That Watson Kid vol. 1, which was released in 2014. Born on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year, the Southside Chicago native will be a December 2016 graduate of Roosevelt University with a concentration in Integrated Marketing Communications. Remember, all graduation gifts are accepted. You can find Jasmine’s book of poetry on Amazon and Createspace.

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