Decoding the Fast Food Menu

An occasional visit to a fast-food joint never killed anyone. Burgers and fries are still the staples on these menus, but the restaurants are now offering a greater selection of healthier fare. True, you’ll have trouble locating a decent vegetable, but you can keep the fat and calorie damage under control by ordering grilled sandwiches, salads, and even vegetarian burgers, chili, soup, and low-fat dairy desserts. Aim to make your meals “fast” ones less than once a week.

Decoding the Fast Food Menu You can make good choices at fast food restaurants.

Your Game Plan


  • 1.

    Opt for simple grilled fare, if you can find it.

    If there’s a grilled chicken sandwich and the chicken isn’t breaded, that’s a good start. Wendy’s Ultimate Chicken Grill (360 calories) is a good choice, as is McDonald’s Chicken McGrill.

  • 2.

    A simple hamburger isn't bad either -- if you order the smallest one.

    At 280 calories, Wendy’s Jr. Hamburger is a low-cal burger. (By contrast, a Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese has 1,060 calories.) Another good option is a vegetarian burger. Burger King regularly offers vegetarian burgers (the BK Veggie; 380 calories), and McDonald’s has them at some locations (the McVeggie; 350 calories).

  • 3.

    Order a la carte.

    A meal that includes fries and a big soft drink is often cheaper, but it’s no nutritional bargain. Skip the soft drink and ask for water — or orange juice, hot tea, coffee, or low-fat milk — instead. If it’s a special treat, get the fries but buy the smallest size.

  • 4.

    Take advantage of the salads.

    Just skip the cheese, bacon bits, and other add-ons. Ask for vinaigrette dressing. Try a salad as an entrée. Good choices include Burger King’s Fire-Grilled Chicken (with vinaigrette) and Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad (with Oriental sesame dressing).

  • 5.

    Have yogurt.

    At Wendy’s, you can get fresh fruit with yogurt (220 calories); McDonald’s offers Fruit ‘n’ Yogurt Parfait (160 calories).

Just Say No

  • French fries
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Fried fish or chicken sandwiches
  • Onion rings
  • Special sauce
  • Bacon
  • Double burgers
  • Cheeseburgers

See Also:

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

Funny Jokes

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

Funny Jokes

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


Funny Jokes

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.