10 Healthy Fast Food Choices that Satisfy Any Cravings | Reader's Digest

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?

    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

    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

    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.

    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

    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

    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¢
     

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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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    Your Comments

    • Del

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

    • veryvanilla27

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

    • veryvanilla27

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

    • veryvanilla27

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

    • Hagar2935

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

    • Hagar2935

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

    • Az-nancy

      Thank you to VeganLaura.  I learned A LOT from you!!!

    • Az-nancy

      Thank you to VeganLaura.  I learned A LOT from you!!!

      • Hshain123

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

      • Hshain123

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

    • VeganLaura

      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.

    • Shambie

      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!

      • Mjhovey99

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

        • 12345

          SHE IS BLONDE DUH

      • Del

         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.