For a long time people went to fast food restaurants and literally had no idea how many calories they were taking in when they loaded up with a Big Mac, large fries, and supersized Coke. But today more and more restaurants are clearly marking the number of calories per item, which can help people make smarter meal decisions.

What fast food can you eat that’s fairly low in saturated fat/cholesterol, rich in protein, and under 500 calories? Here’s a handy guide:

Burger King– Though you’re used to beef, pick the veggie burger at BK and tell ‘em “no mayo.”

Chick-Fil-A– Try the grilled chicken cool wrap and a fresh fruit cup.

Chipotle– Get a chicken burrito bowl without cheese or sour cream. Ask for brown rice and pinto beans in it.

Dunkin’ Donuts– Eggs are healthier than donuts, so get the egg white flatbread here.

McDonald’s– The artisan grilled chicken sandwich is good for you. Anytime you can choose grilled over fried, do so. Also, the egg McMuffin is a good breakfast choice.

Panera Bread– Their sandwiches are so tasty! The best healthy option is the smoked turkey breast on Country bread.

Papa John’s Pizza– Choose two slices of their garden fresh pizza.

Pizza Hut– Similar to Papa John’s, you’ll want to go with their “garden party” thin crust pizza– two slices.

Shake Shack– One single hamburger or a chicken dog are good choices here. Good luck avoiding their superb milkshakes.

Starbucks– Choose a spinach and feta wrap, along with a Greek yogurt.

Subway– With so many choices, what should you choose? How about the six-inch turkey breast sub with no cheese… but do add avocado.

Taco Bell– The fresco chicken burrito supreme uses salsa, which is better than others using sour cream and cheese.

Wendy’s– The Asian cashew chicken salad tastes great. It’s a little high in sugar, but at 380 calories, not bad, right?


When you go to a fast food place, it’s generally best to avoid fried foods and opt for salads instead. The less dressing you can put on your salad, the better, health-wise. Also, if fresh fruit, veggies and/or yogurt is available, go for those over fries. Finally, if and when you can survive without putting cheese and/or creams/sauces/dressing on foods, you’ll save yourself a lot of calories that would otherwise need to be worked off via a sweat session at the gym.