The Healthiest 400-Calorie (or Less) Picks at Popular Fast Food Chains

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
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The Healthiest 400-Calorie (or Less) Picks at Popular Fast Food Chains

So you’re working really hard on meeting your health goals, and then your coworker invites you out to lunch. Good news: It’s possible to stick to calorie and nutrition goals when eating out—even at fast food chain restaurants—if you make smart choices. To make it easy, we’ve put together a list of dietitian picks, tips and tricks for eating out on 400 calories or less.

Restaurant: Panera Bread

Healthiest pick under 400 calories: Turkey Sausage, Egg White & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich

Stats: 400 calories, 11g fat, 50g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 16g protein

Why it made the cut: Clocking in right at 400 calories, this breakfast sandwich contains 16 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and offers something that many people forget about at breakfast time—veggies!

Dietitian’s tips: Although this sandwich is made on a sprouted grain bagel flat, a closer look at the ingredient list reveals that unbleached enriched wheat flour is one of the main ingredients! Currently, Panera Bread does not offer any 100% whole-grain breads, which would be a healthier substitute.

Close contenders:

  • Lentil Quinoa Bowl with Chicken: This makes for a power-packed lunch or dinner option (that is, if you’re not watching your sodium intake, since it contains 1,370mg).
    • Stats: 390 calories, 9g fat, 48g carbs, 8g fiber, 33g protein “You Pick 2” ½ Classic with Chicken Salad tossed in Reduced-Fat Balsamic
  • Vinaigrette & Cup of Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup: This pick is low-calorie and high-protein; just make sure to pass on the side of baguette that comes with it.
    • Stats: 360 calories, 13g fat, 42g carbs, 28g protein, 8g fiber

Restaurant: Subway

Healthiest pick under 400 calories: Double Chicken Chopped Salad

Stats: 220 calories, 4.5g fat, 10g carbs, 4g fiber, 36g protein

Why it made the cut: This 220-calorie option is packed with 36 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, all with only 4.5 grams of fat. This nutritional information is calculated assuming you’d order lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.

Dietitian’s tips: When picking a dressing, choose the 110-calorie Subway vinaigrette over the honey mustard. While honey mustard is nearly half the calories, it contains 11 grams of added sugar! Ordering the Subway vinaigrette will save you 9 grams of sugar. For a side, ditch the chips and cookies, and add a bag of apple slices to boost your fruit and fiber intake. Veggie-loaded, protein-packed, and complete with healthy fats and fiber-rich fruit— now that’s a balanced meal right at 400 calories.

Close contenders:

  • 6-inch Oven Roasted Chicken on 9-Grain Wheat Bread: While the 9-grain whole grain wheat bread contains whole grains, it’s also a sneaky source of enriched wheat flour (aka the white stuff).
    • Stats: 320 calories, 5g fat, 45g carbs, 5g fiber, 23g protein
  • Subway Club Chopped Salad: Boost the protein in this salad by ordering double meat.
    • Stats: 140 calories, 3.5g fat, 12g carbs, 4g fiber, 18g protein

Restaurant: Chipotle

Healthiest pick under 400 calories: Salad Bowl with Romaine Lettuce, Chicken, Black Beans, Fajita Vegetables and Fresh Tomato Salsa

Stats: 350 calories, 8.5g fat, 33g carbs, 15.5g fiber, 42g protein

Why it made the cut: At 350 calories, this chicken salad bowl contains 42 grams of protein and 15.5 grams of fiber and only having 8.5 grams of total fat. While your taste buds might long for rice and guacamole, this option is the healthiest one for keeping calories in check.

Dietitian’s tip: If you’re aiming to eat less than 400 calories, your options at Chipotle become limited. If you have to add toppings like sour cream, cheese and guacamole, go light. These toppings quickly create fat-laden and calorie-dense meals. The burrito flour tortilla itself contains a whopping 290 calories! Instead, order a burrito bowl with a small portion of brown rice to boost your fiber and carbohydrate intake. Consider ordering your favorite burrito bowl, and only eat half of it. Box it up and take the rest home to use for another meal.

Close contenders:

  • Salad Bowl with Romaine Lettuce, Fajita Vegetables, Brown Rice, Black Beans and Fresh Tomato Salsa: Skipping out on meat and ordering fajita vegetables as your filling allows caloric room to add a base of brown rice. Although this option is lower in protein, it is a good meatless variation to the chicken salad bowl.
    • Stats: 370 calories, 8.5g fat, 65g carbs, 17.5g fiber, 13.5g protein
  • Kids Build Your Own Tacos (2): 2 soft corn tortillas, sofritas (tofu), fajita vegetables, romaine lettuce, and fresh tomato salsa. Ordering a kid’s meal at Chipotle is an easy way to stay under 400 calories. These tacos are loaded with fajita veggies and lettuce to add to your daily servings of vegetables.
    • Stats: 335 calories, 11.5g fat, 50g carbs, 10.5g fiber, 13g protein

Restaurant: PF Chang’s

Healthiest pick under 400 calories: Buddha’s Feast – Steamed

Stats: 260 calories, 4g fat, 32g carbs, 10g fiber, 26g protein

Why it made the cut: This dish is filled with baked tofu, asparagus, shitake mushrooms, broccoli, carrots and soy sauce—all for only 260 calories! The low-calorie tofu provides you with 26 grams of protein, while the pile of veggies adds on 10 grams of fiber.

Dietitian’s tips: A high-protein, high-fiber, low-calorie option like the Buddha’s Feast will keep you feeling full, and fueled for longer. Be sure to choose a healthy side dish such as the Shanghai cucumbers—refreshing, nutritious and only 70 calories! Be wary of sauces too, as they are often laced with high levels of sodium and sugar.

Close contenders:

  • Dynamite Scallop Roll: California roll topped with scallops & sriracha sauce
    • Stats: 400 calories, 12g fat, 52 g carbs, 5g fiber, 20g protein
  • Chicken Satay: This is a small-plate option, 3 skewers of marinated chicken with Bibb lettuce cups and vegetable slaw
    • Stats: 250 calories, 10g fat, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 30g protein

Restaurant: Starbucks

Healthiest pick under 400 calories: Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl

Stats: 360 calories, 15g fat, 850mg sodium, 38g carbs, 8g fiber, 19g protein

Why it made the cut: This 360-calorie salad is a blend of grilled chicken, black beans, quinoa, corn, tomatoes, jicama and spring greens, and it provides 19 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. The diversity in vegetables and fiber content make this the best choice on the menu.

Dietitian’s tips: Many of the sandwich and panini options at Starbucks are high in fat—and not the good kind! Aim for an option with high protein and high fiber to keep you feeling satisfied with all the right stuff. Be sure to grab a Venti water with your bistro box instead of a sugar-filled specialty drink.

Close contenders:

  • Chicken & Hummus Bistro Box: Although the pita bread in this box is labeled wheat, a closer look at the ingredient list reveals that it still contains a small amount of enriched flour.
    • Stats: 270 calories, 7g fat, 29g carbs, 4g fiber, 20g protein
  • Chicken & Greens Caesar Salad Bowl: The fat in this salad is on the higher side from the Caesar dressing, but the grilled chicken, kale and tomatoes redeems it a bit.
    • Stats: 340 calories, 25g fat, 10g carbs, 3g fiber, 19g protein

About the Author

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kristina is a board certified sports dietitian located in Orlando, Florida where she specializes in intuitive and mindful eating. She is the author of the food and nutrition blog, Love & Zest where she shares {mostly} healthy recipes with simple ingredients that are meant for real life. As a new mom, she knows that eating well and living an active lifestyle isn’t always easy… but it’s always worth it!! Kristina loves spending time outdoors with her family, sweaty workouts, and a good cup of coffee. Get in touch with her for one-on-one nutrition coaching (virtually or in person), or connect with her on PinterestInstagramFacebook  and YouTube.

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107 responses to “The Healthiest 400-Calorie (or Less) Picks at Popular Fast Food Chains”

  1. crackers8199 says:

    tip for chipotle that my wife and i have started using: if you are getting a bowl, ask for sour cream and guac on the side for one of your bowls and each use half. cuts about 175 calories or so (115 guac / ~60 sour cream)

  2. Tina Baily says:

    I like to get a 6″ turkey on 9 grain wheat with no cheese, and most veggies. It is 280 calories, high in fiber, and not so bad on sodium if the olives, pickles, and pepperoncinis are avoided. I only have mustard and lots of black pepper put on it for seasoning.

    • Michelle5154 says:

      If you are in need for extra payment with average of $50-$300 on daily basis for doing work over internet at your home for 3-4 hours each day then check this out…

  3. Ralph W. says:

    Sodium content for most of these items are way too high. Might be ok if you don’t eat anything else for the day.

    • Karen says:

      Make 90 bucks a day for working online from your home for several hr’s each day… Get regular payment on a weekly basis… Everything you need is a laptop or computer, connection to the web, and some free-time…

    • Anne Klein says:

      Oh for gosh sake. As long as you do not have high blood pressure and don’t eat every day, there shouldn’t be a problem. Drink more water that day.

    • David Claude Warlick says:

      Rhwoe is right and Ann is not. Sodium at Panera Bread and other cited stores can easily reach 1 gram. Switch over to Panera’s Classic Salad with Chicken, use lemon for the dressing, and apple for the side, and you are down to almost nothing for sodium and corn syrup.

  4. Jennifer Hawkins says:

    My problem with the way they’ve listed these items is that they don’t say how much fat is saturated, what the cholesterol is, and what the sodium is. Having high blood pressure and cholesterol i need more info than they’re probiding. Also even some of the “healthy” options they show have very high sodium contents.

  5. Leslie Napolitano says:

    I don’t know why people still think that unfermented tofu is healthy.

  6. Sarah says:

    It’s really too bad that I only have Subway or Starbucks near me and Starbucks here only does breakfast sandwiches. For the most part, the “healthy” choices restaurants provide pretty nasty and assuming that someone in the kitchen isn’t free handing oil and salt. If I eat out, I consider the meal a write off treat and log it the best I can and move on with my life.

  7. DetroitSinkhole says:

    Funny that carbs aren’t mentioned at all…..or added sugar.
    Archaic way of selecting these dishes…..embrace the fat, get rid of the sugar(carbs).

    • Jan Hogle says:

      My thoughts, too! Cutting carbs and greatly increasing the fat caused my weight to just melt off, and my blood pressure and cholesterol dropped significantly, too. These recommendations are based on the discredited idea that fat makes you fat.

      • DetroitSinkhole says:

        Yep. I have lost almost 40 pounds in the last year by eliminating all sugar except whole fruits, and limiting carbs to those I get from fruits and veggies. I rarely eat grains anymore….quinoa and oat groats once in awhile. I eat good fats including dairy, animal fats, nuts, coconut oil……and the pounds keep melting away……and I feel great!
        Oh…..and I eat when I am hungry…..no deprivation!

    • …but it is mentioned… did you read the article…?

      • DetroitSinkhole says:

        The author’s definition to determine “healthy” is based on low fat and total calories. The carb content was not considered as a negative factor…..almost all of the recipes are very high in carbs.

      • DetroitSinkhole says:

        My point was that the article is skewed towards fat being a negative factor in nutrition and it has been proven over and over that sugar is worse than healthy fat. All those carbs were making me fat, not fat!

    • David Claude Warlick says:

      If you buy something with sugar at Panera Bread, ask for a cup and knife. Pry all the fixings off and soak these exterior items in hot water. Use your knife to trim the outside of what remains, so you can discard all the drizzled burnt crust. Then eat the inside and the de-sugared fixings. For example, the dark brown overcooked Pecan Roll at Panera Bread becomes a handful of healthy pecans and a small cinnamon bun after you do these two tricks.

  8. Sue says:

    What do you mean by “vinaigrette” under the Panera listing? Vinaigrette is a salad dressing!

  9. SeaMistress says:

    Always interesting to read these suggested choices. Disappointing in that FitBit is supposed to cover Australian food and only two brand names are here and not the choices listed.

  10. Thunder Schaeffer says:

    Non of these are fast food they are very pricey sit down establishments save for subway

  11. Lea Wilson-Reynolds says:

    I wish you would do a feature on low sodium foods and where to find them. I had a stroke and my sodium is limited to 1500 per day. It would be great to include sodium content when you do your articles on foods. Without that information , your articles are useless to me.

    • surprisinglyfastforafatman2 says:

      If they tried to accommodate every restriction that anyone might possibly be subject to, then there’d be no food recommendations at all!

      Just looking at the comments so far, we have yourself (low sodium requirement), a couple of diabetics who can’t take carbs, at least one person on a restricted financial budget and an Australian who doesn’t have any of the mentioned brands available! Locally, I only have a Subway nearby, none of the others. I have at least one cousin who’s extremely gluten sensitive, which rules out pretty much all the above recommendations (esp. Subway), so what are we to do?

      Here’s an idea – have you found a low-sodium fast-food meal you can eat? Why not share it in these blog comments? Then everyone benefits…

      I’m very fortunate in that I have virtually no dietary restrictions (I don’t think not being able to drink Southern Comfort counts), but find dieting incredibly difficult, so articles like this are very useful to me.

      • Anne Klein says:

        Thank you! I am floored by some of the comments here. I have had Gastric Bypass. This is a general guide, Not an individual diet plan.

      • Jan Hogle says:

        In the US, approximately 50% of the population is diabetic or pre-diabetic type 2 and 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. Considering the preponderance of research pointing to carbs as detrimental to the diet of the majority of the US population…the couple of carb limiters who chimed in here are just trying to stop the perpetuation of misinformation about relative value of fat in one’s diet. At the risk of sounding overzealous, please look at The Art and Science of Low Carb Living. And I do appreciate research but I appreciate it more when it is accurate and current. Sorry, I don’t mean to sound snarky. Just tired of folks perpetuating the conclusions of falsified studies.

        • David Claude Warlick says:

          I routinely read the receipts that people leave at Panera Bread. While the store offers healthy food, it is a very rare receipt that purchased such food. Most people seem to buy the chocolate chip cookie, soup, latte, bacon sandwich, etc. I’ve never seen a healthy salad on a forgotten receipt. But I myself buy the single low-salt salad (Classic with Chicken). If I were to write an article, I would realize that the preponderance my audience is the chocolate chip lover, not the Classic Salad lover, and write about foods they love to buy.

          • John says:

            Really David?

          • David Claude Warlick says:

            Well, at least the receipts that have reward codes. A person can type in four of those codes per month as “missed visits.” My particular Panera has a lot of middle-school patrons, who tend to leave coins and receipts behind. I read the receipts and put the coins in the tip jar. If anyone eats healthy at Panera, then they are meticulously neat about putting their waste in the trash, as no available receipts show healthy eating.

    • David Claude Warlick says:

      See my comment above about the Classic Salad with Chicken, at Panera Bread. Buy it with lemon rather than dressing and you have a truly healthy meal (actually, due to the salad’s large size, you have two or more healthy meals).

  12. Allison says:

    Why so many complaints here? Obviously the best choice is always to prepare your own food. This article is trying to provide healthier options for when – for whatever reason – you have to (or choose to) go out to eat. I think it was helpful.

    • Captain Jeff says:

      I see the article for those on the run. Todays working world is insane. Too many people are in their cars on the road all day or stuck in office w/ limited lunch time. For some its hard to prepare own food, or just arent interested in doing so, or just arent food prep pros yet. For whatever reason they must eat on the run sometimes.

      Eat right & work out with a lot of determination. In 2012 I lost 30Lbs in 60 days on a very high protein vegetarian diet that cut sugar & gluten out o my diet. Eat right means eat the right foods at the right times to keep up with metabolism. Work out means strength train (muscle burns fat) and cardio (30-60mins/day). If you arent able to do so, you need to acquire the determination somehow. Get motivated!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Alley says:

    I am never going to understand why people are so critical of these articles. If you’re going out to places like this, options are going to be limited, and the MFP staff did a really great job of laying out some of those options. Obviously this is not an every day meal. And yes, almost all restaurants do jack up the sodium; that’s just part of eating out. This article is meant to help those counting calories and macros stay within a typical range. We’re all going to have different dietary preferences. I’m vegetarian, but I’m not going to sit here and complain that they didn’t keep me in mind. Come on, people. How about we appreciate this helpful starting point instead of beating it with a stick?

    • Johnny realtor says:

      Thank you Alley, if anything, I’m no pro at choosing the proper foods. At least gives me recommendations on way better foods that I would have deemed healthy. If it’s too complicated, I’m out. #newbelly

    • PJparker says:

      I LOVE articles like this. I print them out (with citation), make 6 copies and give them to my weight loss group. They put it in their cars in the glove compartment so they are ALWAYS ready if they’re not going to make it home for their pre-planned dinner or don’t feel like cooking. Two in my group just made sure they had theirs available while they drove across country on a vacation of a lifetime (six weeks on the road!).

      Love it, love it, love it.

    • David Claude Warlick says:

      If Alley is making a list, the cited Panera choice is NOT the healthiest. At Panera Bread, order the Classic Salad with Chicken. Order it to go in a paper box (even if eating there). Order it online with Rapid Pickup, as online you get an extra five “modifications.” Add any 5 extra items you want to really fill your box (corn, tomatoes, spinach for sure). Ask for the salad dressing on the side (use the comment box, not the modification box, or you will be charged one mod.) Ask for lemon in the comment box and use the lemon for your dressing. Pick an apple rather than the bread as your side. If you order coffee, get the cheap espresso rather than the slightly more expensive coffee, in a paper coffee cup, and then refill your cup as often as you want with regular coffee. When you order the salad and coffee, you are entitled to a 99 cent sweet (normally up to $2.79 each). Ask for the pecan roll, pry off the pecans, soak the pecans in Panera’s free hot water to remove the sugar, and cut off the burnt outside saturated parts of the roll, leaving you with just the unsugared pecans and the undrizzled inside of the roll (it is now a cinnamon roll rather than a pecan roll, as you have removed all the pecan features). Add the pecans to the salad. Pay with a gift card (Panera offers a 20% discount on gift cards) and use your reward card (worth about 25 cents per visit in future prizes). Then you have, for about $8 net, a very very large unsalted salad (at least two meals), handful of pecans, apple, and coffee, (And yes, as full disclosure, I own stock in Panera Bread. Loving it. Own very profitable stock in MCD too, but won’t eat there.)

      • Sabtina Vurchio says:

        This is amazing! Thanks for all the information =) I haven’t eaten there since I’ve really started to watch what I eat. Now I feel I can go back for time to time.

  14. Diana says:

    As a diabetic, I think that any healthy recommendation that includes 40+ carbs is hardly a healthy alternative!!!

    • Kaitlyn Howard says:

      I’m also a diabetic. Yeah, a ton of carbs is ridiculous, but you have to think that there are tons of foods good for you with a lot of carbs in them. Not all of the carbs are unhealthy. Just make sure to pay attention to everything else on the nutrition label.

    • Elona Boykin says:

      It is a healthy alternative if you are on the run and looking for something other than a salad for healthy eating. There is nothing perfect on the planet Earth but the Creator,

  15. Michael Frankovich says:

    What’s the deal about Subway’s flatbreads. Is it better to get the wheat bread?

  16. John says:

    Thanks for this. I wonder if MyFitnessPal has ever considered adding these things as automatic items to add in user’s diaries. They would be much easier to recall that way. Maybe under a tab such as MFP blog?

    • Tom Foogleflump says:

      If you enter the item once (say the “oven roasted chicken on whole wheat bread subway”), MFP listed 5 entries that matched the author’s specs. Select one of them, then the next time you order one, that entry will still be on your phone/tablet for easy selection. Once you’ve entered it the first time, the next time all you’ll have to do is search “subway” and that last entry will be found on your device, narrowed down to that one you ate before 🙂

  17. Craige says:

    I am always surprised when restaurant menu reviewers avoid comparing food values along with nutritional values. For example – Subway is much less expensive than Panera or Chipotle. I suspect, like movie reviewers, they always get there products for free or they are only catering to those, price is no object, consumers.

  18. Dana Starr McDowell says:

    Thank you!! I needed this info. I always struggle looming at the menu for some of these places. I make the best judgements I can because I know generally what’s good and what’s bad but it’s nice to put some numbers to it.

  19. Katie Callahan says:

    I really enjoyed this and will try the foods! Thank you!!

  20. jaide says:

    At subway, a 6″ ham sandwich is only 300cals and is less than 5g of fat!

  21. Bo Boo Bartus says:

    When you give the stats, could you also list the sodium content please? That also determines whether or not a meal is healthy. Sodium content in most of these foods is murder!

    • David Claude Warlick says:

      Use Panera’s online Rapid Pickup system. Just before clicking on an item, click on the word “nutrition.” If you like the data, then add the item to you shopping cart.

  22. Lynne Holder says:

    Very helpful, even if I don’t eat out much. 🙂

  23. KH says:

    Hello! Do you think you could look for vegetarian options for chains? Saw two on here but looking to see if there is more. Thanks!!

    • Anne Klein says:

      Panera’s has a secret menu.

      • David Claude Warlick says:

        Yep, Panera will sell you almost anything you want. They call it a “Miscellaneous Food” for $0.99 each. That is an egg white for me. I assume if you order something more complex, it might cost two or more units of miscellaneous food.

  24. Anu says:

    Are you serious? This is not fast food. They’re all like mid-tier eateries. When I read fast food I assumed you were gonna have things from mcdonalds or burger king.

    • Perdurabo0 says:

      Agreed, none of these are fast food.

      • Mike Keller says:

        Some Paneras DO have drive-thrus now. And most all Subways have drive-thrus and you get your food about as fast as many classic fast-food restaurants. Ever sat in the drive-thru at Hardees?

        • Perdurabo0 says:

          Fast food is food prepared ahead of time. Subway and Panera don’t do that. Of course I’ve been in a Hardees drive-thru, since Hardees has always been fast food.

          • Mike Keller says:

            Just because Subway builds the sandwich after you order doesn’t mean the food wasn’t prepared ahead of time, it just means you can have it your way. You can have it your way at McD’s, BK and other places if you just change the items you want on your sandwich.

    • Tim Plaster says:

      I think maybe we should just stay away from the real fast food. The restaurants are all options as replacements for fast food. And with the fast food prices like they are, they are also financially similar.

    • Commenter says:

      Seriously, authors on the internet don’t really take that kind of stuff seriously. But seriously, time how long it takes to get your food from the time you order, and that is what defines whether food is fast or not

    • Andy V says:

      It is not fast food if there isn’t a drive through.

    • linda says:

      If you have to stop at traditional fast food, stick with McDonalds only because they have been proactive in clearly showing the calorie amount for each item they sell. At least you can make an informed choice.

  25. Nicole Huntington says:

    Thank you, I know for me this summer with all the conventions I will have to attend this helps me with better food choices.

  26. Captain Jeff says:

    My all time fav’s…chipotle, pollo tropical, pei wei (subsid of PF changs), burger-fi & Sonny’s Gelato (fam owned yummy)….all of the above places have some or tons of vegetarian options

  27. mapu123 says:

    natives foods, tender greens, souplantation

  28. Anne Klein says:

    Fantastic information! I forgot about Starbucks as an option.

  29. ckcmcbee says:

    Thank you for your research. This was great!

  30. ckcmcbee says:

    Just a suggestion for those who want additional restaurants and low sodium, vegetarian options, etc….do your own research. This is not a blog that you paid to have completed. It is rude to complain about someone’s hard work.

  31. Gracie says:

    Thank you for giving us tips about low calorie foods in these restaurants. But honestly these aren’t really fast food places.

    • David Claude Warlick says:

      Some people call them fast casual food places. If you use Panera Bread’s online Rapid Pickup system, food is ready when you arrive. And you get more food (more ounces) and more options with Rapid than you do with the human cashier.

  32. DL2 says:

    Too much chicken! Surely you can offer alternatives to all the vegetarians out there! (Note: see the film The Peaceable Kingdom and you will NATURALLY let go of eating meat of any kind given the torturous way we raise it in this country.)

  33. Rancidgumbo says:

    Starbucks is no restaurant

  34. Andre Payne says:

    I recommend Sharkys all organic restaurant. Healthy items from top to bottom.

  35. Jeff Riedl says:

    Almost a full day’s worth of carbs in every one of the items featured. Hey Kristina … we diabetics would like some choices too!

  36. PRiNCESSgIgI says:

    did subway take that HORRIBLE additive out of the bread? im sooo LEARY of them now!

  37. Erryl Mendenhall says:

    You can get healthy, vegan meals at some of these restaurants. I wouldn’t make these choices.

  38. shorty says:

    Great info Alley…I’m healthy with no food restrictions and I contribute that to never eating out unless I have to. Such as going on a road trip or something. Eating at home is always best, but when out and about, I always have almonds and water in my car.

  39. Kym Hall says:

    Love articles like this as you always dont want the go to with the stand by salad with protein with dressing on side. If you want to go further and get more calories and info about more dishes in resteraurants is a,great free app called fast food nutrition. Get it from Google play.

  40. Chris says:

    I’m thinking that Chipotle is more of a weight loss option given the recent news.

  41. ballhawk says:

    Interesting and helpful content – however, the title is a bit misleading. I’d hardly consider any of these restaurants to be “fast food chains”. Well, okay, maybe Subway. But when one hears “fast food”, I’m pretty sure places like McDonal’ds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Arby’s and Taco Bell come to mind. That’s where the real value in knowing the best (or least worst) option to order would be realized.

  42. Craig Mcara says:

    Is there any such choice @ McDonald’s?

    • Janet Manley says:

      There is a grilled chicken sandwich at McDonalds that is very tasty. Never eat anything there but oatmeal when traveling. But happened upon this while traveling and looking for a decent bite to eat on the run.

  43. Mike Keller says:

    For everyone complaining about the article, Kristina is a sports dietitian, so she’s not concentrating on “heart healthy” (which is my interest) or diabetic or other medical issues. So these are not healthy choices, they are “healthy if you have to eat out and don’t want to kill yourself” choices. But every one of these restaurants has a nutrition guide available that you can ask for in the restaurant, or (since you’re online reading this) you can look it up online. I have a Subway nutrition guide laying on my desk right now, so I can choose my own “least likely to kill me” lunch option when I don’t bring my lunch from home.

  44. Crambone says:

    Good article. Helpful. Very much appreciated. You know, I’d also like to see a version of this that highlighted high protein (but not out of control calories, maybe 450 or less?) choices at fast food places. Could you do that for us?

  45. Colin Reilly says:

    So…salad right?

  46. Joan M says:

    I’m surprised there was no mention of McDonald’s salads. Order any of them with the Light Balsamic and grilled chicken, and they’re healthy & delicious. You can get double meat for an extra buck.

  47. L B says:

    I’ve never been a huge fan of raw veggies, but I appreciate the heads up on the breakfast sandwich at Panera. There is one very close to where I work, and ANY alternative to the crap I’ve been eating is much appreciated. Thanks for that one. 🙂

  48. Larry says:

    next time list the sodium numbers. Panera soup is loaded with sodium.

  49. RickJ says:

    Thank you for including at least one non-meat offering. I wish there had been more vegetarian/vegan options listed, though.

  50. lyds85 says:

    So… basically you’re saying order a salad and put down the cheeseburger. Thanks for writing a whole article to tell us that

  51. Life says:

    Yes calorie count is important. You don’t need an article to tell you that. You can read it online. I will not call low calorie low sugar is healthy though for these restaurant. Look at the ingredient. Half iof it are unnatural ingredients. Did you ever read the ingredients for example of banana peppers at subway. Preservative. Yellow #5 and several others I cannot pronounce.

    It is about time people stop saying low fat low sugar is healthy. Healthy is natural ingredients.

    I lived in France for eight months and I ate bread, butter and cheese sandwiches everyday and lost more weight than I ever did trying to eat “healthy in the US”. France uses real ingredients that taste great but give you small quantities. That is what is considered “healthy”. Natural ingredients in small portions

  52. Lynda says:

    In our area only one of these fast food places exist. I wish I could find something like this on the nation wide fast food chains. It would sure help me since we end up in Wendy’s, Kentucky fried and Burger king most of the time.

  53. east297 says:

    Pot Belly has many low cal offerings…sandwiches and salads.

  54. milkmaid1 says:

    We love the burrito bowls at Chipotle. Our trick is to ask for extra romaine on the side. We then scoop out half of the bowl contents onto the extra romaine, making it easier to avoid eating more than half of the bowl. Also, guacamole on the side is key!

  55. Faye Patterson says:

    I would have thought the VeggieDelite wrap with vinegarette would have been healthier at Subway. And always opt for the apple slices over chips and go with water 275 calories and will fill you up.

  56. Otakulover says:

    Thank you ….this was helpful….

  57. Julie Rodriguez Jones says:

    Just wondering if you can include the sodium content in future articles for those of us who may need to watch our sodium intake.

  58. Betty says:

    Why is sodium content in the reviews? There can be high sodium in the ingredients and on the dressings.

  59. Betty says:

    OOPS I meant to say why is sodium content NOT in the rewiew?

  60. Shery says:

    I really appreciate these options. I recently joined a pre-diabetes class and I’m counting my calories and fat. It’s tough finding good options at restaurants. Bob Evans is the worst. When they say farm fresh, they mean high fat. I commented this, on their website
    I’m anxious to see if they make any changes. My daughter really wanted to go there, so I did. But it won’t be my regular hangout.

  61. byron gillespie says:

    Panda Express has excellent low calorie options by choosing the steamed vegetables (vs rice or noodles as the bases) and they publish the calorie count on their meat choices.

  62. Valery Clark says:

    I found some really great things at captain D’s. Grilled salmon, broccoli, green beans, and rice. The rice wasn’t super, but I don’t want to eat white rice anyway. I did spend a little more than at mcD’s, but you get what you pay for. They do have a drive through, but there was a little bit of a wait.

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