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Fast Food Best And Worst Choices Revealed

Let me ask you a few questions. Does your job or busy schedule often tempt you to eat at fast food restaurants? Do you suffer from a lack of energy and feel lethargic after eating fast food meals? Are you confused on what the best choices really are when fast food is the only choice?

If you answered “YES!” to any of these questions this post will help you to do your best to eat healthy when fast food is the last resort!

 

Let me be perfectly clear about something before we get started. This is by no means an endorsement of eating fast food because I’d rather you didn’t eat it period.

But I have a busy schedule just like you and often times when I’m traveling I’ll find it’s sometimes fast food or nothing. If you’re prepared with healthy snacks and bottled water you can do without the fast food option, but I understand this isn’t always going to be the case. The good news is the fast food industry has come a long way towards providing healthier selections.

It’s not always a matter of traveling either. Let me paint you a picture…

It’s been a long day and you’re just getting finished with work at around 8:00PM. You’re starving but don’t feel like sitting down at a restaurant by yourself to eat a late dinner (that is if you can even find anything open). You just want to get something fast and head to the house.

You see the drive through sign and like a magnet it pulls your car in that direction. Now it’s decision time and only you are responsible for your choices.

Nobody is going to hold a gun to your head and make you order the number two, “Biggie Sized!”

If you look closely enough at the menu you can make the best out of this situation. By the time you finish reading this post you’ll be armed with the information you need to make a better choice.

Remember you always have a choice!

I can’t stress that enough. You’d be surprised at how you can custom order at fast food restaurants. When they say “have it your way” I take them up on it. I encourage you to do the same. And if they won’t cooperate with you, give someone else your business.

Throw away the bun on your grilled chicken sandwich and cut up the chicken breast yourself for a grilled chicken salad if need be.

Now I can’t change your busy lifestyle but I can help you look at feel your best in today’s world. Isn’t that what we all really want, to look and feel our best? I’m not going to preach to you about always eating solely from organic, unprocessed foods.

Yes, I want you to eat whole, natural, organic foods as much as possible, but this is the real world and like you I’m just living in it. As a general rule if God made it eat it, if he didn’t leave it alone! That will take you a long way towards a healthier, leaner body.

But when fast food is the only choice from time to time you can still stay on track. Alright, without further ado here are my best and worst choices from some of the most popular fast food restaurants.

 

Fast Food’s Best And Worst Choices Based On Calories, Fat, Carbs, And Sodium.

 

Burger King®

Best

Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad
240 calories,  9 grams fat, 8 grams carbs, 33 grams protein, 720 mg sodium

Tendergrill Chicken Sandwich
450 calories, 10 grams fat, 53 grams carbs, 37 grams protein, 1210 mg sodium

Worst

Triple Whopper Sandwich w/cheese
1230 calories, 82 grams fat, 52 grams carbs, 71 grams protein, 1590 mg sodium.

Triple Whopper Sandwich
1130 calories, 74 grams fat, 51 grams carbs, 67 grams protein, 1160 mg sodium.

 

Arby’s®

Best

Martha’s Vineyard Salad
277 calories, 8 grams fat, 24 grams carbs, 26 grams protein, 451 mg sodium.
(w/out dressing or croutons).

Santa Fe Salad w/Grilled Chicken
283 calories, 9 grams fat, 21 grams carbs, 29 grams protein, 521 mg sodium.
(w/out dressing or tortilla strips).

Ham & Cheese Melt Sandwich
275 calories, 6 grams of fat, 35 grams carbs, 18 grams protein, 1118 mg sodium.

Worst

Sausage Gravy Biscuit
961 calories, 68 grams of fat, 107 grams of carbs, 19 grams protein, 3755 mg sodium.

Classic Italian Toasted Sub
828 calories, 46 grams of fat, 69 grams carbs, 37 grams protein, 2496 mg sodium.

Roast Turkey Ranch & Bacon Sandwich
834 calories, 38 grams fat, 75 grams carbs, 49 grams protein, 2258 mg sodium.

 

Wendy’s®

Best

Mandarin Chicken Salad
300 calories, 13.5 grams fat, 20 grams carbs, 26 grams protein, 590 mg sodium.
(w/out crispy noodles & dressing)

Ultimate Chicken Grilled Fillet Sandwich
270 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 32 grams carbs, 27 grams protein, 900 mg sodium.
(w/out condiments)

Roasted Turkey Breast Sandwich
240 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 36 grams carbs, 17 grams protein, 1100 mg sodium.

 

 

Worst

Triple w/everything and cheese
980 calories, 59 grams fat, 38 grams carbs, 70 grams protein, 2090 mg sodium.

Baconator
830 calories, 51 grams fat, 35 grams carbs, 57 grams protein, 1920 mg sodium.

Double w/everything and cheese
700 calories, 40 grams fat, 38 grams carbs, 48 grams protein, 1500 mg sodium.

McDonald’s®

 

Best

Asian Salad w/Grilled Chicken
300 calories, 10 grams fat, 23 grams carbs, 32 grams protein, 890 mg sodium.
(w/out dressing)

Caesar Salad w/Grilled Chicken
220 calories, 6 grams fat, 12 grams carbs, 30 grams protein, 890 mg sodium.
(w/out dressing)

Chipotle BBQ Wrap w/Grilled Chicken
260 calories, 8 grams fat, 28 grams carbs, 18 grams protein, 820 mg sodium.

Worst

Double Quarter Pounder w/Cheese
740 calories, 42 grams fat, 40 grams carbs, 48 grams protein, 1380 mg sodium.

Any Big Breakfast size!
>720 calories, >46 grams fat, >49 grams carbs, >27 grams protein, >1500 mg sodium.

Premium Crispy Chicken Club Sandwich
660 calories, 28 grams fat, 63 grams carbs, 39 grams protein, 1720 mg sodium.

Hotcakes and Sausage
780 calories, 33 grams fat, 106 grams carbs, 15 grams protein, 1020 mg sodium.

Big Mac
540 calories, 29 grams fat, 45 grams carbs, 25 grams protein, 1040 mg sodium.

Chick-Fil-A®

 

Best

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich
270 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 33 grams carbs, 28 grams protein, 940 mg sodium.

Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad
180 calories, 6 grams fat, 9 grams carbs, 22 grams protein, 620 mg sodium.
(w/out dressing or croutons)

Worst

Chicken Deluxe Sandwich
420 calories, 16 grams fat, 39 grams carbs, 28 grams protein, 1300 mg sodium.

Chicken Caesar Cool Wrap
480 calories, 16 grams fat, 44 grams carbs, 41 grams protein, 1640 mg sodium.

Chick-fila-A Chicken Sandwich
430 calories, 17 grams fat, 38 grams carbs, 30 grams protein, 1410 mg sodium.

 

Chick-N-Strips Salad
400 calories, 20 grams fat, 21 grams carbs, 34 grams protein, 1070 mg sodium.

 

Subway®

 

Best

Oven Roasted Chicken Breast
310 calories, 5 grams fat, 48 grams carbs, 24 grams protein, 830 mg sodium.

Turkey Breast Sandwich
280 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 46 grams carbs, 18 grams protein, 1000 mg sodium.

Veggie Delite Sandwich
230 calories, 3 grams fat, 44 grams carbs, 9 grams protein, 500 mg sodium.

Oven Roast Chicken Breast Salad
140 calories, 2.5 grams fat, 11 grams carbs, 19 grams protein, 390 mg sodium.
(w/out croutons and dressing)

Worst

Double Chicken Bacon Ranch
710 calories, 35 grams fat, 48 grams carbs, 55 grams protein, 1890 mg sodium.

Double Meatball Marinara |
860 calories, 42 grams fat, 82 grams carbs, 40 grams protein, 2480 mg sodium.

Double Italian BMT
630 calories, 35 grams fat, 49 grams carbs, 34 grams protein, 2850 mg sodium.

Note: the salads are shown without dressing which can lead to a LOT of calories especially from fat. Now I don’t expect you to eat a salad without dressing but use (estimated) 1-2 tbsp and not the whole packet. The best choices are vinaigrette and oil & vinegar. Avoid creamy dressings which are high in fat.

This list could have included several more of the “best and worst” as the menus constantly change at fast food restaurants. Here are some general guidelines though…

  • Never order any sandwich that contains the words (king, big, thick, double, triple, extra, monster, mac, whopper, baconator, super, pounder and this list goes on….as these names are red flags for BIG time calories and fat.
  • Pass on the fries and choose a baked potato, fruit cup or salad.
  • Choose chicken breast over burgers as they’re always the better choice.
  • Choose grilled over fried every time.
  • Choose bottled water instead of the fountain drink (many restaurants now have milk for the kids). A 20 oz Pepsi or Coca Cola has over 50 grams of sugar!
  • Chili, baked potatoes, salads, fruit cups, grilled chicken breasts, soups and other favorable choices can be found at most fast food restaurants instead of greasy burgers and fries.
  • Hold the mayo which contains a lot of saturated fat and sodium.
  • Ask for whole wheat bread instead of white.
  • Choose turkey breast over roast beef, ham and other meats higher in saturated fats.

For more nutritional information about specific foods from fast food restaurants go to their websites.

http://www.mcdonalds.com/usa/eat.html

http://www.arbys.com/nutrition/

http://www.wendys.com/food/NutritionLanding.jsp

http://www.chickfila.com/Nutrition.asp

http://www.burgerking.com/bkglobal/

http://www.subway.com/subwayroot/index.aspx

The Hidden Culprit In Fast Food Meals

While we can make better choices at fast food restaurants there is one key element that makes almost all of their food poor choices. The important point to remember is that their objective is to get your food to you fast. That means they need to cut down on the preparation time.

What is the one additive we’ve been using for years to help preserve food? You guessed it….salt. Fast food is notoriously high in sodium which makes it extremely unhealthy.

The American Heart Association recommends that adults keep their sodium intake to under 2300 milligrams per day. If you look at many of the sandwiches a single serving can get close to or even exceed your daily recommendations (ex. Arby’s Classic Italian sub).

This is a reality that will always be there with fast food. If you have to eat at a fast food restaurant try and make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruits which contain potassium that will help to balance your electrolytes.

Don’t Forget About “The Not So Innocent” Coffee!

 

This report would not be complete without briefly talking about coffee. While I’m not against a cup or two of black coffee a day there are some things you should know about the specialty coffee drinks at your favorite franchise store.

Be very careful of the fat and sugar that can be loaded into some of these drinks. There’s one coffee drink below that has more fat than a McDonalds Quarter Pounder with Cheese! Do your homework and at least be informed with what you’re taking in as far as calories goes.

It can make the difference between success and failure on a weight loss program. Yes, you can drink too many calories- it’s not just about the food.

Listed below are some examples of HIGH calorie coffee drinks:

Product Serving Size Calories Fat (g) Sugar (g)
Starbucks® Frappuccino w/ Blended Creme 16 oz 470 15 63
Starbucks® Caramel Macchiato 16oz 270 10 31
Starbucks® Cinnamon Dolce Cream-whip 16oz 390 19 41
Starbucks® Caffe’ Mocha-whip 16oz 360 19 32
Starbucks®Caffe’ Latte 16oz 220 11 16

If you’re going to drink coffee limit your intake to (2) cups per day and go easy on the cream and sweetener. The extra calories and negative effect on your insulin levels from the sugars can make fat burning very difficult if not impossible. Moderation is the key.

 

Who Doesn’t Have A Busy Lifestyle With Little Time For Exercise These Days?

 

We can talk all day long about how society has changed and the negative impact it has had on our health but where does that get us? Nowhere! The reality is, well…it is what it is!

Things have changed and we must change with it or suffer the consequences. Here are some truths that most of us can’t deny.

  • We won’t get most of our food daily from the market or from the garden like our parents and grandparents.
  • We won’t walk to work or do much physical labor at our jobs. There are exceptions but the majority of people sit all day long behind a desk or the wheel of a car.
  • We won’t eat fruits and vegetables at every meal. As much as I would like to and like you to do the same, this probably won’t happen.
  • We will just have days when eating on the run is a fact of life. Hence the popularity and growth of fast food restaurants.
  • We will find it difficult to make time for exercise due to busy schedules, meetings, deadlines, housekeeping, the kids baseball practice and the list goes on…

I know things are looking pretty dim right now. Wait, there’s hope! That may be reality but it’s also a reality that we’re all given 24 hours in a day and we can still make our own choices. Be glad you’re living in the good ol’ US of A.

The first thing you need to do is prioritize your daily activities. Write down every hour from the time you get up until the time you go to bed and record what you do at each hour. If you look carefully enough you’ll be able to find 30 minutes for exercise and a few extra minutes for healthy meal preparation.

Running out the door without eating breakfast or without packing some healthy snacks for the day is a CHOICE! Tupperware, plastic bags and coolers are cheap, that’s not the problem. It’s our priorities that are the problem.

Be truthful with yourself and determine what’s important in your life. When you lose your health what’s left? Think about it…

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts. With a staff of over 10 certified fitness professionals, Shaping Concepts provides personal fitness training in Charleston with a specialty on weight loss and body transformation. You can receive a FREE, no-obligations personal training trial and consultation to experience the difference for yourself.

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Category: Nutrition.