22 Healthy Fast Food Options (under 500 Calories)
We all know as a rule, when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating fast food is usually off limits. Making healthy meals at home is the best option, but sometimes life happens! But that doesn’t mean you get to throw in the towel on your healthy eating plan. I’ve rounded up a list of 22 healthy fast food options (under 500 calories) at a few of the most popular fast food chains. You can thank me for busting your excuses later!
*I do not have an affiliate relationship with the companies mentioned in this post. The links I have included are simply to help you find the nutritional information for their menu.
Healthy Options at Starbuck’s Coffee™
Because let’s face it, that’s why most of us stop at Starbuck’s, right?
Since there are so many varieties and customization for coffee and tea, I’ll just let you head on over to the website for the info on your favorite drink.
But basically anything with flavored syrups, cream or whole milk in it should be avoided. If you absolutely HAVE to have one of the fancy-schmancy drinks, ask for the sugar free, non-fat version of your favorite coffee drink.
*funny random thought alert: I am so impressed with the professional Starbucks customers–they have the skills of those livestock auctioneers rattling off their drink order… LOL!!*
Spinach, Feta & Cage-Free Egg White Wrap— 280 cals, 8g fat, 34g carb, 20g protein
Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Sous Vide Egg Bites–170cals, 8g fat, 11g carb, 12g protein
Classic Oatmeal with toppings–385cals, 11g fat, 57g carb, 7g protein. Without toppings.– 160cal, 2.5g fat, 28g carb, 5g protein
Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage-Free Egg White Sandwich–230cal, 5g fat, 28g carb, 18g protein
Honey BBQ Sriracha Chicken— 370cal, 8g fat, 54g carb, 22g protein
Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens–420cal, 17g fat ,42g carb, 27g protein
Healthy Fast Food Options at McDonald’s®
*These are individual items, not for the combos*
Egg McMuffin–300 cal, 12g Fat, 30g Carb, 17g protein
Lunch or Dinner
Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad w/ Newman’s Own Creamy Southwest Dressing—400 calories, 16g fat, 30g carb, 34 g protein
Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich–430 Calories–15g Fat, 40 carb, 34g protein
Visit McDonald’s website to see complete nutrition information.
Healthy Fast Food Options at Chick Fil-A®
Egg White Grill— 290 cal, 8g fat, 29 g carb, 26g protein
Greek Yogurt Parfait with cookie crumbs or granola — 280 calories, 8g fat, 33-37g carb, and 12-13g protein . (granola topping added 1g more of both carb and protein than cookie crumbs).
Lunch or Dinner
Grilled Chicken Sandwich— 320cal, 6g fat, 40g carb, 28 g protein. Many of the other chicken sandwiches had a large amount of sodium
Grilled Chicken Club with NO CHEESE— 380 cals, 10g fat, 41g carb, 33g protein. The cheese adds an extra calories, fat, and sodium, so just leave it off.
8-piece Regular Chicken Nuggets–250cal, 11g fat, 11g carb, and 27g protein. Although these aren’t a bad option, the sodium content is HUGE–1210 grams for 8! The American Heart Association recommends only 2300mg PER DAY, with an ideal limit of 1300mg. So as you can see, this one entree puts you pretty close to the limit without even taking into account the rest of your snacks, drinks, and meals.
Spicy Southwest Salad w/ Grilled Filet (Cold)– 450 cal, 19g fat, 38g carb, 35 protein. The nutrition info includes the creamy salsa dressing (280 cals–over HALF the calories for the entire salad!) Opt for one of the other dressings below:
- Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing-80 calories
- Fat-free Honey Mustard Dressing-90 calories
- Light Italian Dressing-25 calories
For your drink, opt for Unsweetened Tea or Water. Stay away from soda, even if it’s diet. Visit the Chick-Fil-A website for complete nutrition information.
Healthy Food Options at Subway®
Since virtually every 6-inch sub with a few exceptions is under 500 calories, so I’m not going to list them all here. The key here is to choose whole grain bread, skip the mayo and cheese, and add lots of fresh veggies.
The easiest option is to order one of their 8 fresh-fit sandwich options. If you are careful what you add to your sandwich, you can probably afford to add a small bag of Lays Baked potato chips to your meal as well.
The baked chips are around 120 cals, 3.5g of fat, 22g carb, 2g protein. If you are trying to limit your carbs, probably best to skip the chips… the bread has enough already. You can, however, opt for salad as well.
“What about the wraps? Are they better?” you ask.
Surprisingly almost all of them have sodium levels ABOVE 2000mg. There are only 6 of them under 500 calories. This may be due to the dressings they add, so just leave them out or switch to a lighter dressing.
You can find the nutrition information for Subway’s entire menu by visiting their website.
Healthy Food Options at Wendy’s®
Lunch or Dinner
Grilled Chicken Sandwich–370 cals, 10g fat, 36g carb, 34g protein
Full Apple Pecan Chicken Salad- 570 cal, 24g fat (w blue cheese), 51g carb (mostly sugar from dressing), 39g protein. (no image available. Pictured is the Buffalo chicken salad).
You can reduce the amount of fat, sugar, and calories by using a very small amount of dressing and eliminating the blue cheese The full salad comes with 2 packets, but just use as little as possible.
Any of the other salads you would need to order the half size to stay under 500 calories.
Chili Cheese Baked Potato–460 cals, 11g fat, 73g carb , 19g protein. You can save yourself some fat and calories by leaving off the cheese. 73g of carbs is a bit high, but its a pretty big potato and has lots of fiber. The carbs we are most worried about are the ones coming from sugar. In this case, total sugar only amounts to 6 grams, so we’re ok!
Large Chili-250 cal, 6g fat, 29g carb, 21g protein
Double Stack Burger w/ mustard,NO CHEESE -312 cals, 12g fat, 25g carb, 19g protein. A burger is not the healthiest choice in the world, but in a pinch (which is the purpose of this post), it will meet the requirements. Again, NO fries… if you need something extra get a side salad or fruit cup.
Visit Wendy’s menu to see complete nutrition information.
A Few More Places with Healthy Options
Here’s a few other places you can find healthy fast food options
- Panera Bread®–pick items under 500 calories, 10g of fat, under 50g of carb, and above 10g of protein
- Chipotle-go for a burrito bowl with chicken or steak, light beans or brown rice (not both!), veggies, salsa, and lettuce. No cheese.
- Panda Express®–Get an entree that’s not swimming in sweet sauces. Pair it with steamed brown rice and/or super greens
- Taco Bell™–order the Fresco items, or pick items that are under 500 calories, under 50g of carb, and under 12g of fat.
See, you don’t have to completely blow your healthy eating goals! You just have to get a little creative and be willing to say NO to the other stuff on the menus.
Again, this isn’t meant to be a daily thing! Get in the habit of making your meals at home. It’s much cheaper and you know exactly what’s in your food. If you need a very simple, no frills plan, check out this post to read what worked for me when preparing for a fitness show.
Hope this list helps you the next time life gets in the way of your meal prepping plans. Don’t beat yourself up for it, just make the best choices you can.
You can do this!
Keeping a food journal is a great way to see exactly how you are doing on your diet and where you need to improve. Grab Your Free Food Journal Here