The food category known as “fast-food” has been synonym to obesity and death since forever. And ever since the 2012 health craze (you know the everything must be green-gluten-free-detox-vegan) hit everybody has been broke trying to get the top-of-the-line organic, vegan food. But heading to McDonald’s for a healthy lunch could actually be a thing you do.
The Business Insider: Science took the liberty of checking out the lunch and breakfast fare at a variety of on-the-go restaurants — from Chik-Fil-A to Wendy’s to Starbucks — to provide a simple guide to some of the healthiest items they offer.
All of the choices that were picked has less than 500 calories, are fairly low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and include 15 or more grams of protein.
Here’s a list of sandwiches, salads, bowls and burgers for a lighter (on your wallet also) on-the-go option:
Chipotle — Chicken Burrito Bowl with brown rice & pinto beans, no cheese or sour cream — 500 calories
Chipotle has lots of fresh, healthier options. The Burrito Bowl has 500 calories, 42 g of protein, 13.5 g of fat (which is a little on the high side), 57 g of carbs and 805 mg of sodium.
Starbucks — Spinach and Feta Wrap — 290 calories
Starbucks’ hot breakfast items, like this wrap, are likely a healthier, more filling anytime meal. This wrap has 290 calories, 19 g of protein, 10 g of fat, which is not too low but not too high. The carbs are pretty high at 33 g, and sodium is at 830 mg.
Chick-fil-A — Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap — 340 calories
This mouth-watering cool wrap is a great healthy option at Chick-fil-A, the “home of the original chicken sandwich.” It has 340 calories, which is pretty low as far as lunch items go; you might want to pair this with a yogurt, a small salad, or some fresh fruit. The wrap has a great amount of protein, packing 36 g of it, 13 g of fat, 30 g of carbs and 900 mg of sodium.
Wendy’s — Strawberry and Mango Chicken Salad, full size — 470 calories
A sweet & juicy diced mango and strawberries salad, with honey roasted sunflower seeds. Also a grilled chicken breast and to top it all off with crumbly feta cheese and honey citrus vinaigrette dressing. This fruity salad has 5 g of fiber, a whopping 39 g of protein, and only 14 g of fat.
Shake Shack — Single Hamburger — 360 calories
A single burger, with lettuce, tomato is a great lighter option at Shake Shack. Ditch the cheesy fries and you’re good to go! This burger has only 360 calories, 26 g of protein, 17 g of fat (which is on the higher side, but not a deal-breaker), 25 g of carbs and only 460 mg of sodium.
McDonald’s — Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich — 360 calories
It’s definitely not the tastiest item that McDonald’s has to offer, but if you’re craving the big yellow “M”, then opt for a sandwich with grilled rather than fried meat, and hold the mayo to curb your fat intake. This sandwich only has 360 calories, a hefty amount of protein at 33 g, only 6 g of fat, 43 g of carbs and 960 mg of sodium.
Dunkin’ Donuts — Egg White Flatbread — 280 calories
Yes, Dunkin’ Donuts do sell food besides donuts. And their egg white flatbread is surprisingly delicious, and very healthy. It has 280 calories, which is pretty low as far as lunch goes; pair with a side salad, some fruit, or a yogurt. It’s packed with 15 g of protein, 9 g of fat, 33 g of carbs and 690 mg of sodium.
Pizza Hut — Garden Party Thin Crust Pizza, two medium slices — 460 calories
Pizza Hut recently attempted to redo its brand, and as as part of this transition Pizza Hut began offering healthier choices, with more fresh veggies. The Garden Pizza (two slices) has 460 calories, 18 g of protein, 18 g of fat, which is on the higher side. Two slices contain 60 g of carbs and 900 mg of sodium.
Burger King — BK Veggie Burger, no mayo — 310 calories
The same rules as those for McDonald’s apply to Burger King: Avoid mayo and fried options and go for sandwiches instead of meals. The BK Veggie has 310 calories, a hefty amount of protein at 22 g, 7 g of fat, 42 g of carbs and 990 mg of sodium.
Subway — 6-inch Turkey Breast Sub, no cheese, add avocado — 340 calories
It’s actually very easy to eat fresh at this chain, where you can get lean meats or just fresh veggies on whole-wheat bread with a variety of low-calorie, low-fat dressings. The turkey breast is 340 calories, has 18 g protein, 9 g of fat, 40 g of carbs and 670 mg of sodium.