Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (2023)

From McDonald's Breakfast to KFC's Popcorn Chicken, Nando's Chicken Wings, and Taco Bell's Beef Taco, we've rounded up the healthiest fast food options from a variety of popular fast food restaurants.

Fast food is often associated with high calories and saturated fat, but there are some menu items that are actually consideredto eat healthy food(opens in a new tab). These items tend to fall below the 500 calorie mark, but also contain less than 5 g of saturated fat per serving. They are a good option if you are on a diet and don't want to ruin your progress.

Rachel Clarkson, aindoctrinate(opens in a new tab)Dietitian and Nutritionist and Founder ofAbout the DNA Diet(opens in a new tab), says; "Fast food options are often not the healthiest because they are high in inflammatory fats like saturated and trans fats, as well as sodium. They are also high in calories and processed sugars and low in healthy nutrients like protein from quality, fiber and whole carbohydrates.So how can you enjoy fast food in a healthy way?Fast food is best enjoyed as a conscious treat rather than a habit.

"Eat fast food once in a while, in a portion that's right for you, and be mindful of it. You can also make some simple changes and adjustments when ordering to make the food more nutritious," adds Rachel.

"For example; try and order items labeled grilled instead of fried, swap out a high carb side like fries for a salad option with added dressing (most fast food restaurants have a salad option) , Opt for water or sparkling water instead of high-sugar sodas, or remove the bun from a burger or sandwich and enjoy it as an open sandwich.This swap is a healthier option, especially if you wantLose weight without dieting or exercising.

fast but healthy food

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (1)

1. McDonald's: Spicy Veggie Wrap

calories: 363 |Saturated fatty acids: 1.4 grams

You'll often find that vegan and vegetarian options, especially those without cheese, are healthier and lower in calories. Instead of fat mayonnaise, this spicy vegetable wrap contains vegetable dressings, lettuce, tomato and spicy seasoning.

Skip the soda and opt for a natural latte that contains bone-strengthening organic milk. This adds another 86 calories and 1.9 g of saturated fat, leaving the McDonald's lunch with just 449 calories and 3.3 g of saturated fat.

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2. KFC: Regular Popcorn Chicken

calories: 285 |Saturated fatty acids: 1.7 grams

KFC's Popcorn Chicken is made from 100% chicken breast and is a great option in lieu of a high-calorie burger. Eat it with two large ears of corn instead of French fries and add another 165 calories and 0.4 g of saturated fat. That's 450 calories and 2.1 g of saturated fat and a hefty serving of vegetables for your daily allowance. And not a crispy or white hamburger bun in sight.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (3)

(Video) Healthy Fast Food Meal Choices! Under 500 calories – McDonalds, Subway, & more! - Mind Over Munch

3. Pizza Hut: Gluten-Free Veggie Supreme x 3 slices

calories: 363 |Saturated fatty acids: 5,1g

As delicious as it is, pizza is notoriously high in calories, so opt for slices instead of whole. Gluten-free bases are generally lower in calories. So if you split up a gluten-free Veggie Supreme, three slices equals 363 calories and just over 5g of saturated fat. It also includes vegetables (green bell peppers, jalapenos, bell peppers, and red onions) that are more nutritious for your body than processed red meats like pepperoni.

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4. Nandos: Grilled chicken burger

calories: 438 |Saturated fatty acids: 2,2g

Grilled meats are often healthier than grilled or fried meats, and Nando's has several grilled options. Your Grilled Chicken Burger features PERI-PERI infused chicken breast, grilled with a spice of your choice, as well as lemon herb mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and PERI ketchup.

All in a Portuguese bun with less than 450 calories. Eat it with a large tossed salad made up of four greens, baby plum tomatoes, cucumbers and dressing, and your protein-rich lunch comes down to just 465 calories and 2.3g saturated fat.

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5. McDonald's: Chicken McNuggets Meal

calories: 275 |Saturated fatty acids: 1.7 grams

McDonald's now offers meal ideas under 400 or 600 calories and we love it. Your Medium Meal Suggestion Chicken McNuggets (6 pieces) with Salad and Sugar Free Coke has just 275 calories and 1.7 g of saturated fat. Even meals 600 calories or less don't include French fries; the consensus is that not adding fries makes a big difference in calorie intake.

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6. Pizza Express: pizza ligera

calories: 432 |Saturated fatty acids: 4.3 grams

Pizza is not a low-calorie option, but there are ways to enjoy it without overeating. The Pizza Express Leggera range offers pizzas under 600 calories. Low calorie, everything sticks in the center stuffed with fresh, seasoned lettuce.

Opt for Leggera La Reine, a combination of prosciutto, black olives, mushrooms, light mozzarella cheese and tomatoes on a thin base, and you'll have some greens and salad to go with your meal and a pizza under 500 calories.


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7. Sanduiche Costa Egg Mayonnaise And Cappuccino

calories: 432 |Saturated fatty acids: 2.5 grams

Costa has some cute, but rather naughty treats. Tostadas, while delicious, are too high in saturated fat to be included on this list. But Costa's healthiest option (according to the company itself) is a protein-enriched mayonnaise sandwich with free-range eggs on oatmeal bread.

At 316 calories and 2.1g of saturated fat, when you combine it with a medium skim milk cappuccino (a great source of calcium, by the way) you have a meal with 432 calories and just 2.5g of saturated fat.

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8. KFC: Salada Zinger

calories: 350 |Saturated fatty acids: 2.3 grams

For Zinger Burger fans, this is the healthier option. A sliced ​​seasoned chicken fillet atop crisp lettuce, diced tomatoes, and corn, drizzled with a garlic sauce, for a respectable total of 350 calories. This avoids the fancy white bun and creamy sauce that comes with the namesake burger.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (9)

9. Starbucks: Banana Bread and Almond Latte

calories: 448 |Saturated fatty acids: 2.6 grams

If you have a sweet tooth, avoid highly refined items like almond croissants and instead opt for a slice of pecan-pecan banana bread. The nuts provide protein and slow-release energy, and the bread uses banana instead of chocolate or lots of butter.

One serving has 374 calories and 2.3 g of saturated fat; Pair it with an almond latte (low in saturated fat compared to other milk options) and you have a sweet breakfast that won't send your blood sugar skyrocketing. And all for 448 calories and 2.6 g of saturated fat. add one of theseStarbucks Low Calorie Drinks(opens in a new tab)and you have a much healthier fast food option.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (10)

(Video) I Ate Healthy Fast Food For A Day

10. Leon: Korean Crispy Chicken Burger

calories: 471 |Saturated fatty acids: 3.4 grams

The Lions are popping up across the country and while they do offer fast food, the company is arguably more focused on health and the environment than other brands.

The Korean burger is stuffed with chicken nuggets, raw kimchi salad, and Korean mayonnaise. Not only are you carbon neutral, but you're also doing your part for the planet. You can enjoy fast food without feeling guilty.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (11)

11. Burger King: Small Burger for Kids

calories: 462 |Saturated fatty acids: 7.6 grams

Burger lovers will have a hard time finding low-calorie fast food at Burger King. The best we could find is the toddler burger meal, which includes a hamburger (no cheese), fries, and a bottle of water with 462 calories but 7.6 g of saturated fat.

You can order the Kinderburger (245 kcal and 3.7 g saturated fat) with 6 onion rings (225 kcal and 2.2 g saturated fat), which is a bit better, but if you really want a burger and want to keep your Calorie intake, maybe BK to avoid for now.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (12)

12. Taco Bell: crispy beef taco

calories: 159 |Saturated fatty acids: 3.5 grams

A favorite of the Mexican chain Taco Bell, the crispy corn tacos come with a choice of seasoned beef, grilled chicken, or black beans, along with salad and cheddar cheese. A crispy beef taco gives you 159 calories and 3.5 g of saturated fat; it's fine if you only want one, but two will increase your saturated fat intake to 7 g.

So if you're hungry, go for a chicken taco and a black bean taco. This duo contains 263 calories and 3.9 g of saturated fat combined. Not only that, lean white meat and protein-rich black beans are better than red meat. If you want to add some vegetables to the mix, add a side of guacamole for 23 kcal and 0.3 g saturated fat.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (13)

13. Greggs: Honey Baked Ham and Egg Salad

calories: 329 |Saturated fatty acids: 1.2 grams

(Video) The Best Low Calorie Fast Food Options

As tempting as it is to eat one of Gregg's famous sausage rolls, you'd be eating 12g of saturated fat instead of just 1.2g if you were eating these Whole Wheat White Rolls Stuffed with Honey Roasted Ham. Free-range egg, tomato, cucumber, mixed lettuce and a little mayonnaise.

Add some Fairtrade orange juice to your lunch and you'll still have just 398 calories, plus the juice gives you one of your 5 a day.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (14)

14. Pret A Manger: Salada Niçoise from Atum

calories: 455 |Saturated fatty acids: 4.9 grams

You can count on Pret to serve up fresh salads packed with lean protein like salmon, tuna, chickpeas, hummus, and edamame beans. This classic salad is a delicious mix of angle-caught tuna, free-range hard-boiled eggs, Kalamata olives, and red onion, along with lettuce, cucumber, baby tomatoes, and a casserole of Pret's French Dressing.

The healthiest fast food there is, although we know that not everyone wants to opt for a salad.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (15)

15. Nandos: 3 chicken wings and coleslaw

calories: 499 |Saturated fatty acids: 4.5 grams

While garlic bread isn't on the menu, grab three grilled chicken wings with the PERI-PERI heat Nando's is loved for, plus your choice of spices, along with a regular serving of coleslaw, and you'll have a veggie-packed protein boost for 499 calories and 4.5g of saturated fat.

Healthier fast food: 16 low-calorie fast food options (16)

16. McDonald's: Egg and Cheese McMuffin Meal

calories: 347 |Saturated fatty acids: 4.8 grams

A McDonald's breakfast is nothing short of iconic, so it's encouraging to know you can get a healthier version. McDonald's currently offers two low-calorie breakfast ideas, but we like the Egg & Cheese McMuffin, which has an apple and grape cone and a regular black coffee option.

This meal includes egg protein, a serving of fruit equal to one of your 5 a day, and real coffee to cheer you up. Remember thatMcDonald's breakfast begins(opens in a new tab)at 5:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 a.m.

(Video) 7 Surprisingly Healthy FAST FOODS You Can Eat

video of the week


What is the number 1 healthiest fast food? ›

10 Healthiest Fast-Food Menu Items
  • Arby's Roast Chicken Entrée Salad. ...
  • Panera's Napa Almond Chicken Salad on Country Rustic Sourdough. ...
  • Chick-Fil-A's Grilled Chicken Sandwich. ...
  • Starbuck's Tomato and Mozzarella Panini. ...
  • Dunkin's Veggie Egg White Omelet. ...
  • Wendy's Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potato.
Dec 28, 2021

What are the healthiest fast food options? ›

14 Surprisingly Healthy Fast-Food Orders, According to Dietitians
  • Wendy's Baked Potato.
  • Chick-fil-A Yogurt Parfait.
  • Subway No-Bready Bowls.
  • McDonald's Egg McMuffin.
  • Taco Bell Black Bean Taco.
  • Chipotle Sofritos Tacos.
  • Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Nuggets.
  • Wendy's Junior Hamburger.
Sep 23, 2022

What is the healthiest fast food place 2022? ›

Other Healthy Fast Food to Try
  • Boston Market: Rotisserie Chicken Bowl.
  • Panda Express: String Bean Chicken Breast.
  • Culver's: Chicken Noodle Soup.
  • Starbucks: Grilled Chicken and Hummus Protein Box.
  • Starbucks: Oatmeal.
  • Dairy Queen: Rotisserie-Style Chicken Bites Salad Bowl.
  • Starbucks: Protein Box.
Feb 18, 2022

What are the top 5 healthiest fast food restaurants? ›

Fast food has a well-deserved reputation for being laden with saturated fat, carbs, and sugar. But today, almost every fast food restaurant offers healthy options, including vegetarian options.
1. Chipotle
  • Chipotle.
  • Chick-fil-A.
  • Panera Bread.
  • Wendy's.
  • KFC.
  • Sweetgreen.
  • Dunkin'
  • Starbucks.
Jun 10, 2022

What is the cleanest fast-food? ›

Chick-fil-A won a blue ribbon for being the cleanest fast-food restaurant in America.

What foods have low calories but fill you up? ›

Here are 13 low calorie foods that are surprisingly filling.
  • Oats. Oats can be an excellent addition to your daily diet. ...
  • Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great source of protein that can be incorporated into a nutritious diet. ...
  • Soup. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Eggs. ...
  • Popcorn. ...
  • Chia seeds. ...
  • Fish.

What foods have close to no calories? ›

Foods that are sometimes touted as being zero-calorie or negative-calorie include:
  • Apples.
  • Asparagus.
  • Beets.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cabbage.
  • Carrots.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Celery.
Apr 3, 2009

How can I eat a lot but have low calories? ›

High-fiber foods not only provide volume but also take longer to digest, making you feel full longer on fewer calories. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains all contain fiber. Popcorn is a good example of a high-volume, low-calorie whole grain. One cup of air-popped popcorn has about 30 calories.

What is the healthiest fast food at McDonald's? ›

Best Healthy Options at McDonald's
  • Filet-O-Fish.
  • Apple Slices.
  • Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait.
  • Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad.
  • McChicken.
  • Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich.
  • Hamburger.
  • Six Piece Chicken McNuggets.
Nov 8, 2022

What fast foods are heart healthy? ›

5 Healthy Fast Food Picks That Are Good for Your Heart
Jul 8, 2020

Is Chick-Fil-A healthy fast food? ›

Chicken is a great source of protein, and Chick-fil-A does offer more healthy options than several other fast food restaurants. However, the restaurant's food is still highly processed, so consider having it only occasionally for optimal health.

Which subway meat is healthiest? ›

Here's a list of the healthiest Subway sandwiches that don't skimp on flavor.
  • Oven Roast Chicken. ...
  • Rotisserie Style Chicken. ...
  • Black Forest Ham. ...
  • Subway Club. ...
  • Roast Beef. ...
  • Carved Turkey* ...
  • Egg and cheese. ...
  • Turkey Breast.
Jan 11, 2018

Which Chick Fil A sandwich is healthiest? ›

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Why It's Healthy: At 320 calories and 6 grams of fat, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich is the healthiest sandwich available at Chick-fil-A. Not many fast food sandwiches come in at less than 400 calories, especially not ones as delicious as the Grilled Chicken Sandwich at Chick-fil-A.

What is the healthiest deli sandwich? ›

Turkey Sandwich comes in at #1 for the most healthy. Turkey contains less fat than most other meats and is rich in protein and potassium, needed for strong muscles.

Is Chinese fast-food healthy? ›

Chinese food is a favorite cuisine among many people around the world, including myself. However, most Chinese dishes have high amounts of fat, sugar, carbohydrates, and sodium, which are terrible for your heart and general health. Look closer at the menu to find some healthier options, or indulge on special occasions!

Is Taco Bell good for you? ›

"Many of the food items at Taco Bell are oversized and also fried, cheesy, or contain beef," says Dr. Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. "This combo is full of too many calories as well as saturated fat which, if consumed regularly over time, can lead to obesity and heart disease."

Who cleans the toilets at Mcdonald's? ›

Fast food restaurants have three levels of cleaning for restrooms. The first level is cleaning several times a day by the staff porter. The second level is an every 15 minute check by the “ lot and Lobby” staffer.

What is a food that you can eat a lot of and not gain weight? ›

Cabbage, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower are your allies in the fight against excess weight. They are rich in nutrients and very healthy.

What can I eat when hungry but don't want calories? ›

In a nutshell, experts say, adding more of these foods to your diet can help curb hunger and help you feel fuller on fewer calories: Soups, stews, cooked whole grains, and beans. Fruits and vegetables. Lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs.

What meat is lowest in calories? ›

Meats that are lowest in calories are the ones that are very lean.
Fat is calorie-dense, so fattier cuts of meat have a higher calorie count.
  1. Eye of round steak. ...
  2. Boneless, skinless chicken breast. ...
  3. Turkey breast. ...
  4. Pork tenderloin.
Apr 26, 2019

What food to eat to lose weight? ›

If losing weight is your goal, these 18 foods may help support a healthy weight loss journey, according to science.
  • Whole eggs. ...
  • Leafy greens. ...
  • Salmon. ...
  • Cruciferous vegetables. ...
  • Chicken breast and some lean meats. ...
  • Potatoes and other root vegetables. ...
  • Tuna. ...
  • Beans and legumes.

What foods burn calories just by eating them? ›

It's claimed that some foods [celery, cucumbers, cabbage and grapefruit are most commonly mentioned] have a "negative calorie effect," meaning that the act of chewing and digesting these foods burns up more calories than the food itself contains.

What snack can I eat a lot of with low calories? ›

25 Super Snacks With 100 Calories or Less
  • 1/2 Cup Slow-Churned Ice Cream. 1/25. Surprise! ...
  • 6 Cups Microwave Popcorn. 2/25. ...
  • Cottage Cheese and Cantaloupe. 3/25. ...
  • Three Crackers With Cheese. 4/25. ...
  • Fourteen Almonds. 5/25. ...
  • Six Whole-Grain Pretzel Sticks. 6/25. ...
  • Baked Apple. 7/25. ...
  • Cheese-Stuffed Pita Pocket. 8/25.
Feb 22, 2022

How can I eat 1200 calories a day and feel full? ›

With a little planning, you can enjoy an array of tasty, high-satiety, low-calorie meals.
  1. Fill up on Fiber. Foods high in fiber help fill you up faster so that you are less likely to eat past your daily 1,200-calorie goal. ...
  2. Eat Water-Dense Foods. ...
  3. Go Whole-Grain. ...
  4. Schedule Meals and Snacks.
Dec 27, 2018

How can I eat only 500 calories a day? ›

It is easier than you may think.
  1. Swap your snack. Many people reach for a snack or two in between meals. ...
  2. Cut one high-calorie treat. ...
  3. Do not drink your calories. ...
  4. Skip seconds. ...
  5. Make low calorie substitutions. ...
  6. Ask for a doggie bag. ...
  7. Just say "no" to fried food. ...
  8. Build a thinner pizza.
Jun 22, 2022

Are Subway healthy? ›

Subway offers a better variety of healthy meal options than many other fast food restaurants. In general, Subway's meals are low in sugar and a decent source of fiber and protein, however, many are also loaded with fat and sodium. Part of Subway's appeal is that you can customize your meal.

What is the healthiest sandwich at McDonald's? ›

Best Sandwich: McChicken

This is the smartest choice among all of McDonald's sandwiches since it contains 350 calories and 15 grams of fat. To us that's a little head-scratching, since it's a fried chicken option that somehow beats out even the Filet-O-Fish, which contains 390 calories and 19 grams of fat.

What is the least unhealthy thing at McDonald's? ›

  1. Hamburger. A plain hamburger at McDonald's contains 250 calories, which means it's one of the lowest-calorie items on the menu. ...
  2. Six-piece Chicken McNuggets. With 250 calories per serving, the six-piece Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's can be a good option if you're trying to lose or maintain weight.
Jun 24, 2021

What foods do cardiologists recommend? ›

a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. whole grains and products made up mostly of whole grains. healthy sources of protein (mostly plants such as legumes and nuts; fish and seafood; low-fat or nonfat dairy; and, if you eat meat and poultry, ensuring it is lean and unprocessed)

Is Panda Express healthy food? ›

Chinese fast food isn't known for being healthy, and Panda Express is no exception. However, the next time you order Chinese fast food, keep these better-for-you choices in mind. This dish (available regionally) consists of wonton wrappers filled with cream cheese and served with sweet and sour sauce.

Is there such a thing as healthy fast food? ›

Not to worry: There is such a thing as healthy fast food (or at least healthier). You can order a meal at most fast food chains with less than 500 calories, moderate amounts of fat and saturated fat, and ample protein and fiber. Here are 10 of the healthiest fast food meals from some of the top fast food chains.

What is the best fast food restaurant? ›

The Most Popular Fast Food Companies
#4Taco BellGlobal
6 more rows
Aug 31, 2022

What is the number 1 fast-food in the world? ›

Top 10 Largest Fast Food Chains in the World by Revenue
RankFast Food ChainNumber of Stores
4Yum China8,484
6 more rows
Jun 22, 2020

Which fast-food is the cleanest? ›

Chick-fil-A won a blue ribbon for being the cleanest fast-food restaurant in America.

What is the number 1 unhealthiest food? ›

1. Bacon
  • Fried food. ...
  • Potato chips. ...
  • Added sugars. ...
  • Processed oils. ...
  • Hydrogenated fats. ...
  • Refined carbohydrates. ...
  • Breakfast sausages. ...
  • Processed meat. Even though it's been explained that processed meats like breakfast sausage, bacon and turkey bacon are horrible for your health, this category of food is unhealthy as a whole.
Jan 30, 2022

Who has the unhealthiest food? ›

Madagascar had the WORST SCORE in terms of food quality. An average of 79% of people's consumption is derived from nutrient-poor cereals, roots and tubers, compared to a global average of 47%.

What is the number 1 fast food in America? ›

McDonald's is by far the most popular fast food chain in the United States. It has about 13,500 locations in the U.S., 40,000 worldwide, and it operates in 118 countries. McDonald's serves 69 million people every day, more than the population of Thailand and the United Kingdom.

What is the best fast food in America? ›

Ranking The Top 50 Fast-Food Chains in America
4Taco BellGlobal
46 more rows

Which is the oldest fast food restaurant? ›

Most historians agree that the American company White Castle was the first fast-food outlet, starting in Wichita, Kansas in 1916 with food stands and founding in 1921, selling hamburgers for five cents apiece from its inception and spawning numerous competitors and emulators.

Is Chick-fil-A healthier than most fast-food? ›

Chicken is a great source of protein, and Chick-fil-A does offer more healthy options than several other fast food restaurants. However, the restaurant's food is still highly processed, so consider having it only occasionally for optimal health.

Is KFC a healthy fast-food? ›

Eating KFC Regularly Makes You fat

The dishes of KFC are mostly deep-fried and are made using tons of oil. So, the regular consumption of KFC can make you gain weight. Therefore, continuous consumption of fast food, chicken, and meat that too with excess oil can lead to heart and fat-related issues.


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