The 18 Healthiest Fast Foods You Can Eat
Fast food has a reputation for being unhealthy and high in calories, salt and fat.
Thankfully, there are exceptions. Although many fast foods have been processed, refined or deep-fried, some fast food restaurants now offer healthy options.
To make a healthier selection, look for items that include vegetables, lean sources of protein or whole grains. Additionally, opting for foods that are grilled or baked rather than fried can significantly reduce the calories and fat in your meal.
Here are 18 healthy fast foods that you can enjoy guilt-free. Some restaurants have more healthy options than others, so these will appear more than once.
1. Saladworks: Farmhouse Salad
This salad features a wide assortment of vegetables that are high in fiber, including kale, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts.
Fiber moves slowly through the body undigested. Eating it helps promote feelings of fullness while supporting regularity and lowering the risk of certain conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes (1).
This salad delivers an impressive 5 grams of fiber, which can fulfill up to 20% of your daily needs.
Top this salad with your choice of vinaigrette dressing to keep it light yet delicious.
This is the nutrient content for one Farmhouse Salad with Italian vinaigrette (2):
- Calories: 420
- Fat: 28 grams
- Protein: 14 grams
- Carbs: 30 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
2. Panera: Strawberry Poppyseed Salad With Chicken
This salad is low in calories, sodium and fat, but high in protein and fiber.
It also contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, which provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
These include romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple.
Panera offers this salad in a whole or half serving. A half serving makes a perfect side dish when paired with a soup or sandwich, while a whole serving can be a filling meal on its own.
This is the nutrient content for a whole serving of Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with chicken (3):
- Calories: 340
- Fat: 12 grams
- Protein: 30 grams
- Carbs: 32 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
3. Pret A Manger: Coconut Chicken & Miso Sweet Potato Balance Box
Superstar ingredients in this nutrient-packed meal include chargrilled chicken, maple miso sweet potatoes, avocado, pomegranates and a seed mix over spinach, brown rice, chickpeas and red quinoa.
This meal meets the criteria for a healthy fast food, as it’s high in protein and fiber, low in calories and includes a good mix of whole grains, vegetables and healthy fats.
The coconut chicken, chickpeas and quinoa bump the protein up to 30 grams per serving. Meanwhile, avocado delivers some heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
This is the nutrient content for one 14.4-ounce (409-gram) serving of Coconut Chicken & Miso Sweet Potato Balance Box (4):
- Calories: 500
- Fat: 26 grams
- Protein: 30 grams
- Carbs: 58 grams
- Fiber: 13 grams
4. Starbucks: Sous Vide Egg Bites
If you’re looking for a nutritious breakfast on the go, these egg bites are a healthy and delicious option.
Sous vide is a cooking technique in which foods are vacuum-sealed in a pouch and then cooked in a water bath to achieve a precise level of doneness.
In addition to egg whites, these bites contain Monterey Jack cheese, spinach and fire-roasted red peppers. Each serving squeezes in 13 grams of protein.
Some studies have found that a high-protein breakfast may help with weight loss.
A 2015 study compared 57 young adults who either skipped breakfast or ate a high- or normal-protein breakfast.
The high-protein breakfast group experienced reduced hunger and food intake throughout the day, and gained less body fat compared to the no-breakfast and normal-protein breakfast groups (5).
Enjoy these egg bites on their own for a light breakfast, or pair them with another healthy breakfast food, like Greek yogurt or oatmeal, for a protein-packed meal.
This is the nutrient content for two Egg White & Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites (6):
- Calories: 170
- Fat: 7 grams
- Protein: 13 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
5. Chick-fil-A: Grilled Nuggets and Superfood Side
These grilled nuggets are healthy, high in protein and a perfect option for when you’re on the go.
Opting for nuggets that are grilled rather than fried makes a huge difference in terms of nutrition.
For example, compared to the traditional chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A, the grilled nuggets have nearly half the calories, one-third the amount of fat and less than half the sodium (7).
Pair them with the Superfood Side, which includes broccolini, kale, dried cherries and a nut blend with a maple vinaigrette. This adds extra fiber, vitamins and minerals to your lunch.
- Calories: 400
- Fat: 14 grams
- Protein: 42 grams
- Carbs: 28 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
6. McDonald’s: Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
Though you might not associate McDonald’s with healthy food, they do have a few healthy options on the menu.
In addition to being high in protein, it also contains a few ingredients that make it especially nutritious, including grilled chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, poblano peppers, kale, spinach and red leaf lettuce.
Drizzle it with just a small amount of your favorite dressing to prevent loading up on calories, and opt for some fresh fruit on the side rather than fries.
- Calories: 400
- Fat: 13.5 grams
- Protein: 37 grams
- Carbs: 35 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
7. Boston Market: Rotisserie Turkey Breast Bowl With Fresh Steamed Vegetables and Rotisserie Potatoes
Boston Market is a fast-casual restaurant that prepares home-style meals and boasts a menu with quite a few healthy choices.
The market bowls are a good option, in particular. They come with your choice of protein and optional sides and sauces.
The Turkey Breast Bowl is high in protein to keep you full, but it’s also low in calories and weight loss friendly. Order it with a side of steamed vegetables and rotisserie potatoes to increase the fiber content, plus squeeze in extra vitamins and minerals.
Other healthy side dish choices that go well with the turkey breast bowl include sweet corn, Caesar side salad or cinnamon apples.
This is the nutrient content for one Turkey Breast Bowl, along with Poultry Gravy and a side of…