As someone who is focused on their health, you know that healthy fast food is hard to come by. So, you will ideally avoid the drive-thru whenever possible and instead stuff yourself with fresh meat, vegetables and fruit at home. You will meal prep. You will be prepared. You will eat healthy!
But unfortunately, we are human and sometimes we do get caught in situations where we need to eat on the go. Needing something fast doesn’t mean you have to give up all your hard work towards eating better. We’ve put together some of our favorite healthy fast food options for when you’re in a bind.
11 Healthy Fast Food Options
An order of grilled chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A with a side of their new superfood salad (kale, broccolini, sour cherries and nuts) is a filling lunch or dinner option for under 300 calories. If broccolini isn’t your thing, their fruit side also makes a lovely addition without the heavy carb punch that fries will carry.
We wish we could advocate a sub sandwich as a semi-healthy food option, but unfortunately the gobs and gobs of bread put it just out of reach for us.
However, Subway does give you the option to create your own salad. Not only are the salads large enough to fill up even those with the highest metabolisms, but you can also choose which ingredients you’re down with and which ones you’d rather skip.
Remember when choosing a dressing that the more translucent a dressing is, the healthier it tends to be. Try sticking with a vinaigrette or just request a light drizzle of oil to top off your greens instead of gravitating towards the more dairy-based dressings like ranch, blue cheese and 1000 Island.
Chipotle is another chain that gives you the option to build your own food. Despite the vast amount of negative media attention the chain has received lately for food-borne illnesses associated with their food, Chipotle is also one of the only chain-style restaurants that boasts using “real” food in their stores.
Grab some shredded chicken and top it with some fajita veggies and guacamole for a super clean meal. Feel free to add beans or cheese if you’re feeling a little frisky.
4. Your Local Mexican Restaurant
Although this isn’t necessarily a “fast” food option, ordering a to-go plate from your local Mexican restaurant can be the perfect option when you’re just not feeling the chicken breast you packed for lunch or when your girlfriends want to grab a bite after hours.
Stay away from taco shells and burritos and lean more towards meat and vegetables and the options are endless in a Mexican restaurant. Enjoy a chicken fajita without the tortilla. Grab a taco salad and don’t eat the tortilla bowl.
But beware, Mexican restaurants aren’t for the faint of heart. Don’t ruin your attempts at eating clean by indulging in a pound of chips and salsa or a margarita. Stay strong!
5. Mooyah Burger
Mooyah Burger is a burger boutique with a feature that you’ve probably started to notice we’re a fan of — build your own.
They also offer turkey burgers, lettuce buns and sweet potato fries. It’s our kind of joint! For our vegetarian friends, Mooyah also has a killer black bean veggie burger and some pretty legit salad options.
Build your own strikes again!
Not only are they happy to see you at Moe’s, but they also have lots of healthy options to build your own custom salad bowl with six different types of meat (including tofu…and bacon!) and lots of yummy veggies.
7. Whole Foods or Your Local Health Food Store
Most health food stores usually have several options for grabbing take out food. Whether it’s pre-made meals in the deli, a fresh daily buffet or an actual mini-cafe inside the store, the options are endless.
However, beware. Not everything they sell at health good stores is healthy. Buying a slice of pizza at Whole Foods is the same as buying one around the corner at your local pizzeria. Don’t be fooled by the healthy hype and the promise of fresh, all-natural ingredients.
8. Panera Bread
Panera generally has several different options for the healthy eater.
Between their seasonal salads and their broth bowls, I never have a hard time finding something that fits my macro or Paleo needs. Grab a cup of coffee to complete your meal or one of their yummy iced teas and enjoy!
Remember, don’t make eye contact with the pastries.
You may not think of a coffee shop as the first place to grab a healthy meal, but Starbucks actually offers several options for those who are watching their diet carefully.
Although you’ll probably want to stay away from the frappachinos, Starbucks does offer Bistro Boxes filled with things like boiled eggs, fresh fruit and hummus as well as tasty salads, both of which are great on days when you forgot your breakfast on the kitchen counter.
You may be laughing about the idea of a restaurant with “fried’ in the name offering a relatively healthy option, but it’s true. KFC, like every smart fast food restaurant, has taken advantage of the trends towards eating better and has started offering grilled chicken. That combined with a veggie side like green beans or cole slaw makes for a relatively low-calorie meal that will leave you full and satisfied.