The Healthiest Meals to Order at Fast Food and Chain Restaurants
Sticking to a diet while eating out is possible! From garlic-butter shrimp to a juicy sirloin, these menu items take the guesswork out of ordering.
The Cheesecake Factory
CHICKEN SOFT TACOS Calories: 510 Listed on the "Skinnylicious" menu, this dish has fewer than half the calories of their traditional tacos—and is packed with fresh ingredients like avocado and tomatoes.
California Pizza Kitchen
BANH MI POWER BOWL Calories: 540 Made with juicy grilled chicken, a super grain and lots of colorful veggies, this Vietnamese-inspired dish is a nutritional powerhouse that really satisfies. To try making it yourself, get the adapted recipe for home cooks HERE.
GOOD MORNING BREAKFAST Calories: 370 A hearty meal of scrambled egg whites, turkey-sausage patties, cheesy grits and fresh fruit will fill you up without weighing you down.
Special Sirloin While their Bloomin’ Onion gets most of the glory, diners are still all about the steak.
EGG McMUFFIN Calories: 300 Breakfast all day means you can have this classic menu item for any meal, but it’s not as caloric as you might’ve thought. And for 40 fewer calories, try it with egg whites instead of a whole egg.
HERB-GRILLED SALMON Calories: 460 Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fats (and a slathering of garlic butter for good measure), this seafood dish is served with Parmesan broccoli for an it-only-tastes-decadent dinner.
CHICKEN FRIES Calories: 290 Get ready for a shockingly waist-friendly fried-chicken alternative! A 9-piece box of these breaded chicken strips clocks in at 140 fewer calories than a 10-piece order of chicken nuggets.
TURKEY GYRO Calories: 470 A combination of thinly sliced roast turkey, shredded lettuce, onions, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce all wrapped up in a soft pita is the go-to if you’re hungry for something healthy.
3-PIECE KENTUCKY GRILLED CHICKEN WITH GREEN BEANS Calories: 465 Ignore the “F” in KFC by skipping the deep-fried stuff without sacrificing all the flavor of the Colonel’s secret seasoning blend.
VEGGIE POWER BOWL Calories: 480 Think way outside the bun with this fresh combo of pico de gallo, lettuce, guac, black beans and a conservative amount of sour cream and shredded cheese on a bed of rice. One serving contains 100 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. And if you’re a carnivore at heart, add grilled chicken or steak to your order for an extra 100 or 110 calories, respectively.
SHRIMP FRA DIAVOLO WITH FETTUCCINE
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
3-PIECE BLACKENED CHICKEN TENDERS Calories: 170 Add green beans to these batter-free, non-breaded tenders for an additional 55 calories.
CLASSIC GRILLED CHICKEN SANDWICH Calories: 460 The drive-in restaurant uses all-white-meat grilled chicken breast, light mayonnaise and a whole-grain ciabatta bun to form a sandwich free from all eater’s remorse.
Hard Rock Cafe
CAULIFLOWER 'WINGS' Calories: 691 These alternatives to chicken wings come off the pan crispy and so delicious you won’t even miss the meat. Try this oven-baked version, which is inspired by the restaurant's recipe, for an even lighter option HERE.
6-OZ. SIRLOIN WITH GRILLED AVOCADO Calories: 420 Yes, you can eat steak while watching your diet! This plate of grilled steak, avocado, roasted tomatoes and a mixed-greens salad tastes like a cheat meal.
Noodles & Co.
JAPANESE PAN NOODLES Calories: 330 Pasta and dieting don’t have to be mutually exclusive! This portion- controlled bowl of noodles is packed with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, sprouts and cilantro.
Jack in the Box
CHICKEN FAJITA PITA Calories: 346 Grilled chicken and veggies are nestled in a whole-grain pita fora protein- and fiber-packed sandwich.
APPLE PECAN CHICKEN SALAD Calories: 560 Sweet red and green apples and dried cranberries are complemented by savory tangy blue cheese, roasted pecans and warm grilled chicken. It’s also available in a half size if you’re practicing portion control.
WEDGIE BURGER Calories: 430 Go carb-free with this protein superstar made up of a beef patty, bacon, guacamole and tomatoes between layers of iceberg lettuce. And try to avoid the bottomless steak fries.
SIMPLE & FIT 2-EGG BREAKFAST Calories: 400 Skip the pancakes and opt for this platter of egg whites, turkey bacon, fresh fruit and whole-wheat toast for a well- rounded breakfast.
BOURBON BARREL CHICKEN WITH TOMATO MOZZARELLA SALAD Calories: 380 Substitute the mashed potatoes that come with the sweet and smoky grilled chicken with a Caprese-style salad for a fresh twist.
GARLIC-GRILLED SHRIMP Calories: 350 The skewers are lightly glazed with garlic butter for a rich char flavor and served over a bed of warm, pillowy rice.
THAI SHRIMP SALAD Calories: 390 Many salads are secret calorie bombs, but thanks to a light chili-lime vinaigrette, this is a bowl of greens you can feel good about eating.
SAVORY GRILLED CHICKEN SLIDER Calories: 180 The chain’s beef sliders may be iconic, but this sandwich—marinated, lightly seasoned all-white-meat chicken breast on a signature bun—packs twice as much protein.
8-PIECE GRILLED NUGGETS WITH A SUPERFOOD SIDE Calories: 330 Complement your nuggets with a salad of chopped broccolini, kale, dried cherries and roasted nuts for a nutrient boost that lives up to the name. (And if you can’t resist the fried nuggets, you can still feel good about all those veggies.)
CHICKEN BLT SALAD Calories: 270 This generous portion of grilled chicken over romaine lettuce, shredded cheddar, tomatoes, red cabbage, carrots and, yes, bacon comes with your choice of dressing. Opt for light Italian for the most calorie-conscious choice.