Healthy Fast Food Meal Choices! Under 500 calories – McDonalds, Subway, & more! – Mind Over Munch
*sigh* I’m running late!
I know I need to eat, but there’s no time!
Do you have anything…healthy?
Hey Munchies! I’m Alyssia if you’re new, welcome to the channel!
After my recent 3 healthy Chipotle bowls video, where I went into the nutrition facts pretty deeply,
I had LOADS of requests for other restaurants,
so I decided to compile that into one GRAND video where I share a healthy meal choice
at EACH of these 10 FAST FOOD restaurants,
that ARE NOT salads, even though there may be a side salad to bulk.
I tried to keep choices between 300 and 500 calories, which can mean some of these are more of a snack than a meal,
but sometimes we just need to get something small at these restaurants to stay on track.
We don’t have to be left out of the experience, but we don’t have to over-indulge, either.
I also looked for choices that are around 20 grams of fat, at least 15 grams of protein, and under 1000 milligrams of sodium—
not to say that you MUST stick to those macronutrient frames at a snack or meal,
but I had to have some kind of guidelines and structure here,
and that’s a pretty common caloric meal goal.
1000 milligrams of sodium is actually quite a bit for one meal,
but sodium is just one of those fairly unavoidable things when eating out that we need to be aware of,
and I discuss that more in my Chipotle video.
Before we begin, a quick disclaimer for the haters:
Let’s get to it!
Instead of a regular Egg Mcmuffin, grab an Egg White Delight Mcmuffin
to save on fat and calories while keeping protein high.
That English muffin is still made with refined flour, but there aren’t any whole-grain options
so that’s a sacrifice we’ll have to make.
Remember, ONE meal with LESS fuel won’t make you fat,
just like ONE healthy meal won’t make you skinny,
so don’t beat yourself up too much if you can’t find the perfect meal,
just be honest with yourself about your overall diet.
I’ve also added apple slices and a mandarin orange for some extra volume and healthy fuel-filled carbohydrates.
Total meal: 310 calories, 17 grams of protein, 41 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fat, 750 milligrams of sodium.
It may be surprising, but a regular cheeseburger could be worse.
It’s moderate in sodium, and actually has LESS calories, fat, and carbs
than the grilled chicken sandwich, which to many would seem like the healthier choice.
I’m adding a side salad for volume and some nutritious fuel,
and keeping the fat-free ranch dressing on the side so I can be in control of how much is used.
Remember, salad dressings can do a LOT more damage than people realize.
Total meal: 370 calories, 17 grams of protein, 41 grams of carbs, 16 grams of fat, 1195 milligrams of sodium.
But remember, you likely won’t need that entire dressing packet, which is a sodium bomb.
Wendy’s offers some pretty fancy salads,
but most of them are specifically damaging when you account for the dressing.
Luckily, they offer items other than classic sandwiches, too, like wraps!
This grilled chicken wrap has moderate stats, although it IS on the small side.
I’m adding apple slices on the side for volume and nutrition,
although notice how little fiber the apples actually add because the serving size is so small.
Total meal: 305 calories, 20 grams of protein, 33 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat, 620 milligrams of sodium.
The west coast chain’s “not-so-secret” menu offers a great option to lighten the load—
a protein style burger, which replaces the bun with a lettuce wrap!
The only problem: In-N-Out doesn’t offer sides other than fries,
which are obviously high in fat. Instead, I opted to get a regular hamburger.
Now, as-is, this would be 19 grams of fat, but if you replace the special spread
with mustard and ketchup on a burger, you cut 9 grams of fat! Nutso!
Total meal: 310 calories, 16 grams of protein, 41 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fat, 730 milligrams of sodium.
I LOVE Taco Bell, but one of the hardest things to deal with nutritionally
is that most of my favorite items are SUPER high in sodium!
I ended up going with a Gordita Supreme with Chicken.
It’s moderate in sodium and fat, and offers protein.
Yes, it’s made with refined grains, but that’s pretty unavoidable.
The power bowls were something I considered, but that sodium content was just too high.
Instead, I added a side of black beans to my dish for added volume, flavor and nutrition,
plus look at the nice fiber boost!
Total meal: 340 calories, 20 grams of protein, 41 grams of carbs, 10.5 grams of fat, 740 milligrams of sodium.
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Chick-Fil-A is the place to go to eat more chikin!
Who knows why the C is missing from the chicken?
Admittedly, many of the menu items use FRIED chicken,
which is a tough sell when it comes to providing fuel.
For that reason, I went with the grilled chicken nuggets, which are made of leaner breast,
and they’re obviously grilled instead of fried.
It’s NOT a sandwich, meaning I get to skip the refined grains
and capitalize on more protein for less calories.
I went with the zesty buffalo dipping sauce, because as is the case with the dressings,
dipping sauces can be pretty detrimental to the overall meal macronutrients, too.
I also added a fruit cup, and a side salad with the light Italian dressing—
this was the ONLY dressing I could justify because most just have TOO much added sugar!
I wanted to add the superfood side salad because it sounded SO healthy
with the kale and broccolini,
but it had 18 grams of sugar and that’s mostly added from the dressing. Bummer!
Total meal: 340 calories, 30 grams of protein, 24 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat, 1730 milligrams of sodium.
But remember, the dressing AND dipping sauce are the sodium bombs
and they are on the side, so you don’t NEED to eat the entire packs.
If you consume HALF of each, you’d be at less than 1000 milligrams for the meal.
Subway lets you know which sandwiches are from their “FRESH FIT” selection
to make healthy choices easier,
which is nice because it can be JUST as easy to make a nutritionally damaging choice here, too.
I went with the 6” rotisserie style chicken on wheat bread,
which is moderate in calories, sodium, and fat, and high in protein.
That also includes the basic toppings of lettuce, tomato, onions, green bell peppers, and cucumbers,
which is great for a bit of actual fuel.
Keep in mind, NONE of the bread loaves at subway (even the 9-grain wheat) are ACTUALLY whole grain.
All of them include refined grains, and that’s probably why they taste so good…
I also passed on the chips and added apple slices.
Total meal: 385 calories, 29 grams of protein, 54 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, 660 milligrams of sodium.
I haven’t eaten much Panda Express in my day, but upon researching
I found calories and sodium can add up pretty quickly at this chain.
The string bean chicken breast was a moderate choice, but I figured it might not be enough food on it’s own,
so I added a side of HALF brown rice, and HALF mixed veggies, offering some extra fuel and volume.
Total meal: 440 calories, 20 grams of protein, 64 grams of carbs, 11.5 grams of fat, 870 milligrams of sodium.
The “gourmet” feel can fool you into thinking their choices are healthier, but beware!
Some of those sandwiches are just the same as other fast food joints.
The reduced fat turkey bacon and egg white breakfast sandwich was a decent choice,
even though it contains refined grain bread and isn’t a particularly large serving.
I added some whole-grain oatmeal to supplement,
and I like that Starbucks provides plain oatmeal with toppings on the side so you’re in control.
I also got a grande caffé Americano—it IS Starbucks after all—
but this drink requires no added sweeteners or sugars.
Total meal: 405 calories, 22 grams of protein, 59 grams of carbs, 8.5 grams of fat, 700 milligrams of sodium.
Doughnuts may be refined and packed with sugar,
but many are surprised to find the doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts aren’t nearly as bad
as some of those breakfast sandwiches!
The egg white veggie flatbread is a decent choice, at least.
The “multigrain flatbread” contains MULTIPLE GRAINS,
which does not mean multiple WHOLE GRAINS, rather it means multiple TYPES of grains,
many of which are refined—SO sneaky!
I also added a medium coffee with a splash of milk rather than sugar.
Total meal: 340 calories, 19 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat, 580 milligrams of sodium.
And there you have it! 10 healthier snack and meal choices for these 10 fast food restaurants.
If you have a healthier go-to choice at any of these, feel free to share it in the comments,
and remember to get creative and make your OWN meal choices.
These are just here as a starting point to get you to start thinking
about choosing more FUEL when possible.
I obviously did not include Chipotle since there’s already a whole video on that,
so be sure to check that out now if you want more info like this!
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I will see you next week, and remember, especially when it comes to fast food,
it’s all a matter of Mind Over Munch!