Top 10 Surprisingly Healthy Fast Food Items

By SRK Editor

| Last updated September 5, 2019

SRK Vegan Asian Salad

Healthy fast food? Sounds like an oxymoron, but you can find healthy fast food items if you know where to look!

Firstly, we must define what “healthy” means. In a previous blog article, titled “The Real Definition of ‘Eating Healthy’” we addressed the notion that the term “healthy” is subjective and changes from person to person.

When you think about healthy food, try to think about it more broadly than you have before. Your health is individualized to you and your needs, and should always be that way. Sometimes even food you don’t typically associate with healthy eating can be healthy for you, while foods most people associate with healthy eating can be very unhealthy for you.

With that said, while most fast food restaurants serve food high in calories and fats, here are some lighter options for when you’re on the go and need a quick meal.

SQUARE ROOTS KITCHEN

Vegan Asian Salad – 437 calories

With a fully customizable menu, Square Roots Kitchen is a go-to destination for healthy eaters looking to keep an eye on their macros while grabbing healthy, delicious food on the go. When it comes to ready-made menu items (before any customization), the Vegan Asian Salad already sits well below the 500 calorie mark, packing a hefty amount of protein too!

  • Protein – 21.75 grams
  • Fats – 18.1 grams
  • Carbs – 41.5 grams

CHIPOTLE

Chicken Burrito Bowl – 500 calories

For Chipotle to be a choice, you need to skip the tortilla and opt for one of their burrito bowls; they can be a nutritious meal without the extra fat or carbohydrates. You’re going to want to order this one without the cheese or sour cream, but guacamole is fine since it’s full of healthy fats.

  • Protein – 42 grams
  • Fats – 13.5 grams
  • Carbs – 57 grams

MCDONALD’S

Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich – 380 calories

We are aware of the stigma surrounding the nutritional value of its meals since Super Size Me, but McDonald’s has been working hard to rebrand their food. Their Artisan line is their best yet move yet in serving meals of more substantial nutrition and their grilled chicken sandwich is only 380 calories and tasty too!

  • Protein – 37 grams
  • Fats – 7 grams
  • Carbs – 44 grams

STARBUCKS

Spinach, Feta, and Cage-Free Egg-White Breakfast Wrap – 290 calories

You will want to stay away from Starbucks’ pastries when grabbing breakfast on the go there, but you can count on this breakfast wrap to fill you with some pretty good nutritional values and at only 290 calories

  • Protein – 19 grams
  • Fats – 10 gram
  • Carbs – 33 grams

PANERA

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken – 340 calories

If you are like me, you probably first thought all of Panera’s menu was fairly healthy. WRONG! While Panera is not your fast food restaurant, a lot of its options are still really high in calories and fat. The trick is to look past the sandwich and flatbreads and opt for their highly nutritious salads like this one that is packed with flavor.

  • Protein – 25 grams
  • Fats – 13 grams
  • Carbs – 31 grams

TACO BELL

Two fresco soft tacos with steak – 280 calories

Healthy taco bell? That’s right! The steak version of the fresco taco is your go-to for flavor, and when paired with a serving of black beans and rice, you’re still under 500 calories which is fantastic (and rare!) by Taco Bell standards.

  • Protein – 20 grams
  • Fats – 8 grams
  • Carbs – 35 grams

JACK IN THE BOX

Grilled chicken salad w croutons and low-fat balsamic vinaigrette – 345 calories

This grilled chicken salad that doesn’t skimp on flavor, and with 31 grams of protein, you will be satisfied for a long time.

  • Protein – 31 grams
  • Fats – 13.5 grams
  • Carbs – 12 grams

JACK IN THE BOX

Grilled chicken salad w croutons and low-fat balsamic vinaigrette – 345 calories

While we wish we had Jack In The Box in Chicago, we must still include their grilled chicken salad as a healthy fast food option for anyone traveling to States where they can avail themselves of it. This salad is tasty and packs a full 31 grams of protein, keeping you full for a while.

  • Protein – 31 grams
  • Fats – 13.5 grams
  • Carbs – 12 grams

SUBWAY

6-inch Turkey Breast Sub, no cheese, add avocado – 340 calories

Choose the lean turkey and load up on veggies, and you can add avocado instead of cheese for a healthier fat substitution without sacrificing flavor and texture.

  • Protein – 18 grams
  • Fats – 9 grams
  • Carbs – 49 grams

IN-N-OUT

Protein-Style Cheeseburger with spread – 240 calories

While we may never get the popular West Coast chain in the Midwest, California’s favorite fast food restaurant provides extreme flavor while also remaining healthy. Go protein style, swapping out the bun for lettuce while still getting your fix.

  • Protein – 22 grams
  • Fats – 27 grams
  • Carbs – 3 grams

There you have it, 10 quick healthy fast food options you can find practically anywhere in the country, including our very own home right here in Chicago.

Further, Square Roots Kitchen provides healthy catering options for your office lunches, meetings and special events. For more information on SRK’s healthy catering offerings in Chicago click here.