10 Healthy Fast Food Choices that Satisfy Any Cravings

Next time you're facing down a fast food craving, know which choice is better for your health.

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Fan of fast food?

Fan of fast food?
You can make healthy choices. Too many people equate healthy food with pricy organic or specialized ingredients. It’s time to see things more simply: Oven-roasted chicken is yummy, filling, and healthy—and still cheaper and better for you than its fried cousin. We’ve randomly chosen highly popular but not-so-nutritious foods in 10 different categories, and found healthier alternatives for each that cost the same (and often, less) money. Prices may vary based on location and time of year. Even so, these examples illustrate just how easy it is to make smarter decisions without worrying about cost.

Fast-Food Dinner for Three

Fast-Food Dinner for Three
Craving: KFC 8-piece Bucket, Extra Crispy
breast 510 calories/33 g fat; drumstick 150 calories/10 g fat; thigh 340 calories/24 g fat; wing 190 calories/13 g fat
$11.96

Healthier Choice: Subway Fresh Fit 6-inch Oven Roasted Chicken, three subs
320 calories, 5 g fat (per sub)
$10.50
 

Fast-Food Burger

Fast-Food Burger
Craving: Burger King Half-Pound Whopper
670 calories, 40 g fat, 11 g sat fat, 28 g protein
$2.39

Healthier Choice: Burger King Veggie Burger
410 calories, 16 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 22 g protein
$2.29

Note: While the Veggie Burger is lower in calories and fat, both of these choices are high in sodium. If you're concerned about high blood pressure, you may want to order a salad.

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From the Grill

From the Grill
Craving: Ball Park Frank
One hot dog with bun, relish, mustard, and ketchup
326 calories, 17 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 40 mg chol, 35 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 9 g protein
88¢

Healthier Choice: Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Try:

Arnold Stone Ground 100% Whole-Wheat Bread
, one slice; two reduced-fat 2% Kraft Singles; two tsp Promise margarine spread
283 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 20 mg chol, 28 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 14 g protein
82¢

Fast-Food Dessert

Fast-Food Dessert
Craving: McDonald's Hot Fudge Sundae
330 calories, 54 g carbs
$1

Healthier Choice: McDonald's Fruit 'N Yogurt Parfait
160 calories, 31 g carbs
$1
 

Breakfast On-The-Go

Breakfast On-The-Go
Craving: Dunkin' Donut
Plain Glazed
260 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g sat fat, 31 g carbs, 3 g protein
99¢

Healthier Choice: Luna Protein Bar
Chocolate Peanut Butter
190 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 20 g carbs, 12 g protein
99¢
 

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Potato Chips

Potato Chips
Craving: Lays Classic Chips
10 g fat, 180 mg sodium, 15 chips per serving
10.5 oz. bag
$3

Healthier Choice: Cape Cod Potato Chips
40% Reduced Fat Original Kettle Cooked
6 g fat, 110 mg sodium, 23 chips per serving
8 oz. bag
$2.99
 

Ice Cream

Ice Cream
Craving: Ben & Jerry's
(Chocolate Fudge Brownie)
220 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g sat fat
3.6 oz. single cup
$1.25

Healthier Choice: Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwich
(Vanilla/Chocolate Combo Low-Fat Ice Cream Sandwich)
140 calories, 1.5 g fat, 1 g sat fat
24 oz., 6 count package
96¢ per sandwich
 

Cookies

Cookies
Craving: Oreo Cookie
160 calories, 7 g fat, 24 carbs, 14 g sugar per serving
15.5 oz. package
$3

Healthier Choice: Keebler Oatmeal Cookie Country Style
130 calories, 6 g fat, 19 carbs, 8 g sugar per serving
13 oz. package
$2.50

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Pastry

Pastry
Craving: Kellogg's Pop-Tart
(Blueberry, one pastry)
210 calories, 6 g fat, less than 1 g fiber
14.7 oz. box, 8 count
32¢ per pastry

Healthier Choice: whole wheat toast with jam. Try:

Arnold Stone Ground Bread
(100% Whole-Wheat one slice)
Polaner All Fruit with Fiber
Blueberry Spreadable Fruit, one tbsp
100 calories, 1 g fat, 5 g fiber
31¢ per slice
 

Cereal

Cereal
Craving: Kellogg's Frosted Flakes
27 g carbs, 11 g sugar per serving
14 oz. box
$3.69

Healthier Choice: Wheatena
32 g carbs, 0 g sugar, 5 grams fiber, 5 g protein per serving
20 oz. box
$2.79
 

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16 thoughts on “10 Healthy Fast Food Choices that Satisfy Any Cravings

  1. Why aren’t you including SODIUM in your nutritional analysis?  That will be a “deal breaker”  for most of your suggestions Bruce K
    Anderson, San Jose, CA

  2. Yes, but then you are eating a disgusting veggie burger. Can’t fix that. :(

  3. You showed the Original Cape Cod chips but described the reduced fat ones. Which information is correct?

  4. You showed the Original Cape Cod chips but described the reduced fat ones. Which information is correct?

  5. You showed the Original Cape Cod chips but described the reduced fat ones. Which information is correct?

  6. KFC is the WORST of all chains! FILTHY, Lousy service (mostly by Illegals) and improperly handled Chicken…… a combination that can be DEADLY!

  7. KFC is the WORST of all chains! FILTHY, Lousy service (mostly by Illegals) and improperly handled Chicken…… a combination that can be DEADLY!

    1. its all in the genes baby my mom lived to 102
      you would not believe the crap she ate

    2. its all in the genes baby my mom lived to 102
      you would not believe the crap she ate

  8. Generally, I consider “healthy” and “fast ‘food'” to be an oxymoron.

    The Burger King veggie burger is a Morningstar Farms burger and I can get a box of those at WalMart for the same price (if not less) than what Burger King charges. Also, Burger King uses white bread and it comes with mayonnaise, unless one requests it without. (I like the Boca vegan veggie burgers for everyday and they are only 70 calories. I pair it with the 70 calorie a slice bread that I get at the bread store outlet for around $1 and it’s cheaper and healthier.)

    The Promise spread contains palm oil, which is a saturated fat and Promise is also not vegan. Also, my husband who is not a vegan, won’t even eat Kraft slices as they are questionable (at best). However, Light Life veggie dogs contain 50 calories each. Even my husband likes them, but doesn’t eat them as he gets his meat from the meat market and our four-year-old, 19-month-old and I eat them already.

    How is the McDonald’s yogurt healthy? The granola is probably loaded with sugar as well as the fermented, sour milk. I’ll just take the fruit. However, McDonald’s is not worthy of my money.

    Why eat potato chips? At least Wendy’s has a baked potato for around $1.40. I take advantage of that when we are on day trips, or on vacation…. (Actually a baked potato is the one way my husband and I have yet to figure out how to prepare good.)

    Trader Joe’s has a a brand Soy Creamy and an ice cream sandwich within that brand for “only” 90 calories. The box of eight sandwiches is around $3, I think. (Also, So Delicious has ice cream sandwiches as well for no more than 100 calories.)

    There are a plethora of vegan oatmeal raisin cookie recipes (and recipes that can be made vegan) with whole wheat flour that are cheaper and healthier than the store bagged ones. (Most brands.)

    This comes from my life experience.

  9. How do you make a grilled cheese sandwich with just one slice of bread and two slices of cheese? That just sounds wrong. Add the extra slice of bread or be ready for a lot of goo all over the place!

    1. Um, wouldn’t you just cut the one slice of bread into 2 pieces (meaning you basically have half a sandwich)?

    2.  Why would the cheese go all over the place? it’s called an open-faced sandwich. I made them all the time and never have the cheese start trying to escape. You put down one slice of bread and two slices of cheese on top. How hard is that? Cheese isn’t known for growing legs and wondering around the skillet, it tend to just stay on top of the bread.

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