On the Road? 12 Healthy Fast Food Finds

Carmen Roberts, MS, RD, LDN | Aug 30th 2017

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Best fast food finds

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When you’re on the road traveling, or even just headed home from work or sports, you’ll likely stop for a meal along the way. In a perfect world, you will have food prepped with a healthy meal for your whole family, but that’s not always possible. HealthCentral discovered some menu items at national fast food chains that may not be as healthy as your home cooking, but are great choices if you have to grab a meal on the go.

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Chick-Fil-A® Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap

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This hearty wrap is stuffed with grilled chicken, green leaf lettuce, cabbage, shredded carrots, and cheese. The flaxseed flatbread adds a boost of fiber and protein to this delicious wrap.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 350 kcal

Protein: 37 g

Carbohydrate: 29 g

Fat: 14 g

Fiber: 15 g

Sodium: 960 g

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Chick-Fil-A® Grilled Chicken Sandwich

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Served on a multi-grain bun, this sandwich is surprisingly filling for the calorie content. The grilled chicken is topped with fresh green leaf lettuce and tomato and served with a variety of sauce options on the side to cut down on the added fat.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 310 kcal

Protein: 29 g

Carbohydrate: 36 g

Fat: 6 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sodium: 820 g

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Chick-Fil-A® Grilled Market Salad

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This delicious salad rivals any full-service restaurant salad for half the price. Grilled chicken is served over mixed greens and shredded carrots, cabbage, green apples, blueberries, strawberries, and crumbled blue cheese. It comes with harvest granola and a roasted nut blend on the side. Chick-Fil-A® offers a variety of salad dressings to choose from, including lower calorie options.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 330 kcal

Protein: 27 g

Carbohydrate: 26 g

Fat: 14 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sodium: 670 g

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Subway® 6-inch Rotisserie Style-Chicken Sub

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There are many healthy options at Subway®, particularly if you go with one of their “Fresh Fit Choices.” One example is the rotisserie-style chicken sub, served on 9-grain wheat bread. Top your sub with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, and onions to boost the nutrition and fiber content.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 350 kcal

Protein: 29 g

Carbohydrate: 45 g

Fat: 6 g

Fiber: 5 g

Sodium: 660 g

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Subway® Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Salad

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If you have time to sit down and eat, this is a tasty salad that doesn’t even need dressing, since the chicken is already tossed in a sweet teriyaki sauce. The nutrition facts for this salad are based on lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green pepper, and onions only, but you can add as many additional items to this salad and have it chopped together in one large bowl.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 230 kcal

Protein: 19 g

Carbohydrate: 34 g

Fat: 3 g

Fiber: 4 g

Sodium: 650 g

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McDonald’s® Egg White Delight McMuffin®

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Even if it’s not breakfast time, you can get this item all day from McDonald’s® new all-day breakfast menu. They removed the cheese and egg yolk from the classic Egg McMuffin® sandwich, reducing the overall fat and sodium.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 260 kcal

Protein: 16 g

Carbohydrate: 29 g

Fat: 8 g

Fiber: 2 g

Sodium: 750 g

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McDonald’s® Grilled Southwest Salad

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This tasty grilled chicken salad is tossed with black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes, and poblano peppers. It is served on top of a crisp lettuce mix that includes spinach and baby kale. This is another salad that doesn’t need dressing- its marinade and fresh lime juice provide plenty of flavor without the added calories of salad dressing.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 350 kcal

Protein: 37 g

Carbohydrate: 27 g

Fat: 12 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sodium: 1070 g

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Burger King® MorningStar® Veggie Burger

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Burger King® is one of the few fast food restaurants that offer a vegetarian sandwich option. The MorningStar Farms® garden veggie patty is topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and ketchup and served on a sesame seed bun. Ask them to hold the mayo, which is typically served on this sandwich.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 310 kcal

Protein: 22 g

Carbohydrate: 42 g

Fat: 7 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sodium: 990 g

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Panera Bread® Tomato Mozzarella Flat Bread

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Panera® has so many healthy, fresh options — it’s hard to narrow down some of their best items. While not typically considered “fast food,” Panera® now has many drive-thru locations, making it easy to pick up something healthy while on the road. This wholegrain flat bread is a great vegetarian option, packed with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce, and a nut-free pesto.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 350 kcal

Protein: 6 g

Carbohydrate: 35 g

Fat: 18 g

Fiber: 4 g

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Panera Bread® Southwest Chicken Tortilla Bowl

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Looking for something different from fast food? Need a hot meal that’s heartier than soup? Try this delicious broth bowl, which is filled with smoked pulled chicken, quinoa, brown rice, cabbage, pickled red onions, and roasted red peppers.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 480 kcal

Protein: 19 g

Carbohydrate: 50 g

Fat: 16 g

Fiber: 6 g

Sodium: 1680 g

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Dunkin’ Donuts® Veggie Egg White Flatbread

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This tasty breakfast sandwich contains an egg white omelet that’s filled with peppers, mushrooms, green onions, and cheese, and served on a multi-grain flatbread (and it’s way more nutritious than their delicious donuts).

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 330 kcal

Protein: 18 g

Carbohydrate: 33 g

Fat: 7 g

Fiber: 3 g

Sodium: 570 g

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Chipotle Mexican Grill® Chicken Burrito Bowl

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If you have a “burrito bowl addiction,” the key is choosing the best ingredients. Chipotle’s® website has an interactive nutrition calculator so that you can see how each ingredient changes the nutrient breakdown. A chicken burrito bowl filled with black beans, fajita vegetables, and fresh tomato salsa shown below is a great option. Avoid the added sauces to limit the fat and calories.

Nutrient breakdown:

Calories: 355 kcal

Protein: 41 g

Carbohydrate: 28 g

Fat: 9 g

Fiber: 9 g

Sodium: 1220 g

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The bottom line

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We know that eating out isn’t always healthy, but sometimes you can’t avoid it, especially when on the road. Eating freshly prepared meals at home is the best way to achieve a balanced diet and to avoid excess sodium that is found in all prepared foods. You can find healthy options at any restaurant if you look carefully. When eating out, try to choose foods that are grilled or baked instead of fried, avoid added sauces and dressings, and omit the “extras” such as fries and sodas.