Panera may not be the first restaurant that comes to mind when you hear fast food, but this fast casual eatery has a delectable variety of breakfast and lunch items that will keep you on track with your diet. Our favorite picks: Bowl of Low Fat Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto (160 calories, 3.5 grams of fat) and a half of a Smoked Turkey Sandwich without mayo (230 calories, 1.5 grams of fat) – you get a filling, healthy meal for fewer than 400 calories. To design your own healthy meal, visit www.paneranutrition.com.
Voted as one of "Health" magazine's America's Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants, Einstein Bros. Bagels offers a wide array of bagels, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more. When you're hungry for something other than bagels, do the half-order of the Chipotle Salad – it's a vegetarian salad composed of mixed greens, roasted corn and black bean salsa, tomatoes, two cheeses, and chipotle vinaigrette with tortilla strips. It will only set you back 290 calories and 18 grams of fat. Visit www.einsteinbros.com to peruse the nutritional info of all of their fast food menu options.
Diet-friendly fast food choices aren't solely salads (and even salads can be diet nightmares when drowned with dressing and other high-fat ingredients). If you're craving Mexican fast food, Taco Bell's Fresco Bean Burrito is a healthy, high-fiber fast food option. At 350 calories, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 12 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of protein, the Fresco beats the eatery's high-calorie, high-fat burrito options, such as the Grilled Stuft Beef Burrito (700 calories) and Grilled Stuft Chicken Enchilada Burrito (690 calories). The only drawback of the Fresco is that it has more than 1000 milligrams of sodium, so watch the sodium level of the rest of the foods in your daily diet. Visit www.tacobell.com for nutritional information on all of Taco Bell's menu offerings.
McDonalds is known for its Happy Meals and burgers, but the popular fast food restaurant has a variety of chicken-based sandwiches and wraps that can fit in a healthy diet. The Grilled Honey Mustard Snack Wrap is a tasty combination of grilled chicken, cheddar and jack cheeses, and tangy honey mustard sauce. At 260 calories and 9 grams of fat, you can pair this fast food wrap with a green salad ( go light on the dressing) for a balanced fast food meal that is under 350 calories. Visit www.mcdonalds.com to view the nutritional information of other McDonalds' menu options.
When Wendy's is your only fast food option, order the small chili (220 calories), side salad without croutons and light on the dressing (140 calories), and mandarin oranges (90 calories) for a well-rounded fast food meal. Other healthy fast food options include Ceasar Side Salad light on the dressing (200 calories) and Sour Cream and Chives Potato with broccoli but free of cheese, bacon, and butter (330 calories). The potato is large, so you may want to split it with someone. Visit www.wendys.com for nutritional information on all of Wendy's menu options.
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