"Healthy fast foods" are not words you commonly hear together. Although there is no truly healthy fast food, there are some healthier options that will not overload us on sodium, fats, and empty carbs. It may surprise you to know which counter service and drive thru restaurants make the cut, and what ones do not. Here is a quick list of healthy fast foods from a few companies that might take you by surprise.
1. Egg McMuffin
I know, who expected McDonald’s to have a healthy fast food option? I did not, and I am the one making the list! Although most of the foods at McDonald’s are extremely high in sodium and carbs, the Egg McMuffin is surprisingly low. The Egg McMuffin has 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 27 grams empty carbs, and 18 grams of protein. No, this is not a kale smoothie, but in terms of fast food breakfasts, 18 grams of protein to 27 grams of carbs is pretty great.
2. Jason’s Deli Organic Vegetarian Vegetable Soup
Yes, a fast food option that is organic! But what is even better than the organic label is this soup’s nutritional information. One bowl of this soup has 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, no saturated fats, 13 grams carbs, and 2 grams protein. A cup of this soup is better than any of those 100 calorie snacks and will fill you up a whole lot faster too!
3. Panera Bread’s Greek Salad
Most of the things from Panera Bread are pretty high on the calories, fats, and sodium charts. But, there are a handful of foods that are pretty good. One of my favorites is the Full Greek Salad. This salad is massive and only has 380 calories, 33 grams fat, 10 carbs not from fiber, and 8 grams protein. Sadly, 8 grams of those fats are saturated. This may not be the best daily lunch, but it sure does make for a healthy weekly splurge that is filled with oils from the dressing and tons of feta cheese!
4. Moe’s Burrito Bowl
The Burrito Bowl from Moe’s is my favorite item on their menu. A burrito bowl with black beans, tofu, lettuce, cilantro, guacamole, tomatoes, and corn pico is surprisingly low in almost every category... other than protein. This bowl of goodness has 20 grams protein, 359 calories, 14 grams fat (2 saturated), and 23 non-fiber carbs.
5. Jason's Deli Vegetarian French Onion Soup
If you are like me, you love French onion soup but hate the nutritional information. Get ready to have your life changed: Jason’s Deli has a healthy French onion soup! A cup of this soup has 280 calories, 20 grams fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 29 grams fiber-free carbs, and 2 grams protein. Okay, it may not be super healthy, but for a cheesy soup, this is quite fantastic.
6. Chipotle Tacos
Of course, the hormone free, organic, and locally purchased fast food poster child would be on a healthy fast foods list. This is one of the only fast food Mexican restaurants that has healthy tortilla options. Three Chipotle tacos filled with fajita veggies, lettuce, tomato salsa, green chili sauce and cheese on a corn tortilla will run you 340 calories, 10.5 grams fat, 51 grams carbs, and about 16 grams protein. This may seem high, but these tacos include cheese and tortillas, two ingredients you will be hard pressed to find on any healthy food list.
7. Taco Bell Fresco Crunchy Taco
The fresco options at Taco Bell are filled with chicken and come with fresh salsa instead of the cheese and sour cream. Each taco has 140 calories, 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 290 mg sodium, 13 grams carbs, and 6 grams of protein. If you love the Taco Bell spicy sauces, all you will be doing is doubling up on the sodium. I am not sure how Taco Bell does it, but the hot sauces do not have any fats or carbs.
Sure, these fast foods are not a heaping plate of steamed broccoli, but they are a whole lot better for you than what you may have expected. It is a bit surprising how few salads are on this list, but when it comes to fast food, salads can be one of the least healthy options. What are some fast foods that surprise you in their healthy or not-so-healthy nutritional content?