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How Can I Find Healthy Foods While on the Go?

Q: My lifestyle finds me on the move almost every day, so good food choices are sometimes elusive. I believe I need to reduce my carb load and focus on protein. My weakness is desserts — I succumbed to a blueberry cheese danish at the airport. What fast food choices can you recommend so I can ward off that danish?

Although it may seem like nutritious meal and snack options are limited at airports, rest stops, and convenience stores, knowing which items to look for can broaden your choices for healthy fast foods.

Airports tend to have a high concentration of fast food restaurants and junk food offerings. However, most airports also have restaurants that offer healthy meal choices or shops that stock their shelves with nutritious snacks and beverages.

For example, visiting a sit-down restaurant or bar over a fast-food establishment can help you make better choices and eat less throughout the day.

When choosing a meal or snack, take a moment to consider what it can offer your body in terms of nutrition. Ask yourself if the item you want is a filling choice that will keep you satisfied, which is key to maintaining a healthy body weight.

Meals and snacks that are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats can help keep you feeling full longer than foods low in protein and high in refined carbs and added sugars (1).

Although the blueberry cheese danish most likely satisfied your sweet tooth, chances are it didn’t keep you full for long. Plus, items like danishes are high in added sugars and refined carbs, which can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels — possibly driving hunger and harming your health (2, 3).

Thus, getting nutritious, protein- and fiber-rich meals and snacks should be a priority.

What to Eat Instead

When at an airport restaurant, try ordering a dish that consists of plenty of fresh or cooked vegetables served with a filling source of protein, such as a garden salad with grilled chicken or a hard-boiled egg. Salad toppings like nuts, seeds, cheese, and avocado offer healthy sources of fats that can help increase feelings of fullness.

When choosing a snack item from convenience stores or gas stations, opt for minimally processed, protein- and fiber-rich items, such as:

  • nuts
  • cheese sticks
  • nut butter and fruit
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • hummus and veggie packs
  • trail mix

Additionally, it’s best to forgo calorie- and sugar-laden beverages, including sweetened coffee drinks, sodas, and energy drinks. Opt for water or unsweetened herbal teas to keep your calorie and sugar intake in check.

Jillian Kubala is a Registered Dietitian based in Westhampton, NY. Jillian holds a master’s degree in nutrition from Stony Brook University School of Medicine as well as an undergraduate degree in nutrition science. Aside from writing for Healthline Nutrition, she runs a private practice based on the east end of Long Island, NY, where she helps her clients achieve optimal wellness through nutritional and lifestyle changes. Jillian practices what she preaches, spending her free time tending to her small farm that includes vegetable and flower gardens and a flock of chickens. Reach out to her through her website or on Instagram.

Author and wellness expert David Zinczenko is sharing the top 50 healthy foods and snacks from Eat This, Not That! to help you make the best food choices when you have to eat in a hurry.

When we’re on the go, we often don’t make the healthiest food choices; after all, the most convenient foods tend to be the worst for us. However, it is possible to grab staples for your pantry and fridge that will keep you satisfied and on-track with your healthy eating plan. Just use this list!

‘Eat This, Not That’ Awards: Find out which foods won

Feb. 8, 201805:11

With the options below, you’ll never need to stop at the vending machine or second-guess yourself at the grocery store. Low in empty calories and packed with satiating nutrients, they’re the 50 most recommended foods from the editors of Eat This, Not That! Eating better is simply a matter of making a healthier choice.

1. Skinny Dipped Variety Pack, $26 for a pack of 4, Amazon

1. Skinny Dipped Variety Pack, $26 for a pack of 4, Amazon

Per 1.2-ounce serving: 180 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 7 g protein

2. Oloves Basil & Garlic, $12 for a pack of 10, Amazon

2. Oloves Basil & Garlic, $12 for a pack of 10, Amazon

Per pouch: 50 calories, 5.5 g fat (0.8 g saturated fat), 0.3 g sodium, 0.3 g carbs (0.6 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0.4 g protein

3. Sargento Balanced Breaks Natural White Cheddar Cheese with Almonds and Dried Cranberries, $3, Jet

3. Sargento Balanced Breaks Natural White Cheddar Cheese with Almonds and Dried Cranberries, $3, Jet

Per tray: 180 calories, 11 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 7 g protein

4. Frontera Chicken Fajita Bowl, $4, Walmart

4. Frontera Chicken Fajita Bowl, $4, Walmart

Per bowl: 260 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 700 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (8 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 22 g protein

5. Modern Table Lentil Rotini, $25 for a pack of 6-pack, Amazon

5. Modern Table Lentil Rotini, $25 for a pack of 6-pack, Amazon

Per 2/3 dry cup: 200 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 11 g protein

6. EPIC Lamb Currant-Mint Bar, $29 for a pack of 12, Amazon

6. EPIC Lamb Currant-Mint Bar, $29 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per bar: 130 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (1 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 8 g protein

7. Spindrift Strawberry Sparkling Water, $30 for a pack of 24, Amazon

7. Spindrift Strawberry Sparkling Water, $30 for a pack of 24, Amazon

Per 12-ounce can: 9 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein

8. gimMe Sriracha Almond Seaweed Thins, $37 for a pack of 12, Amazon

8. gimMe Sriracha Almond Seaweed Thins, $37 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per package: 100 calories, 7 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (6 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein

9. Larabar Bites Mint Chocolate Truffle, $38 for a pack of 6, Amazon

9. Larabar Bites Mint Chocolate Truffle, $38 for a pack of 6, Amazon

Per 4 bites: 130 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 2 g protein

10. Epic Chicken Sriracha Bar, $26 for a pack of 12, Amazon

10. Epic Chicken Sriracha Bar, $26 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per 1.5-ounce bar: 100 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 400 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 15 g protein

11. Zupa Noma Cucumber Avocado Soup, $5, Amazon Fresh

11. Zupa Noma Cucumber Avocado Soup, $5, Amazon Fresh

Per bottle: 110 calories, 4.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (4 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 3 g protein

12. Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder, $11, Amazon

12. Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein Powder, $11, Amazon

Per 3 tablespoons: 90 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (8 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 15 g protein

13. Blue Diamond Almonds Low-Sodium Lightly Salted, $9 for a 25-ounce bag, Amazon

13. Blue Diamond Almonds Low-Sodium Lightly Salted, $9 for a 25-ounce bag, Amazon

Per ounce (about 28 nuts): 170 calories, 16 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 6 g protein

14. Alter Eco Seeds & Salt Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters, $4, Thrive Market

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Per 1/4 cup: 160 calories, 13 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 2 g protein

15. Barnana Himalayan Pink Sea Salt Organic Plantain Chips, $5, Amazon

15. Barnana Himalayan Pink Sea Salt Organic Plantain Chips, $5, Amazon

Per ounce: 140 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 135 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein

16. KIND Double Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bar, $28 for a pack of 12, Amazon

16. KIND Double Dark Chocolate Nut Protein Bar, $28 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per bar: 250 calories, 17 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (5 g fiber, 8 g sugar) 12 g protein

17. Purely Elizabeth Maple + Almond Butter Granola, $7, Purely Elizabeth

17. Purely Elizabeth Maple + Almond Butter Granola, $7, Purely Elizabeth

Per 1/3 cup: 140 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein

18. KIND Fruit Bites Mango Pineapple Apple, $36 for a pack of 40, Kind Snacks

18. KIND Fruit Bites Mango Pineapple Apple, $36 for a pack of 40, Kind Snacks

Per pouch: 60 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g sodium, 14 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 0 g protein

19. Maranatha Organic No-Stir Creamy Peanut Butter, $6, Jet

19. Maranatha Organic No-Stir Creamy Peanut Butter, $6, Jet

Per 2 tablespoons: 200 calories, 17 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 65 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein

20. Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced Organic 21 Whole Grains and Seeds, $8, Jet

20. Dave’s Killer Bread Thin-Sliced Organic 21 Whole Grains and Seeds, $8, Jet

Per 2 slices (56 g): 120 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (6 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 6 g protein

21. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Pepperoni Turkey Stick, $30 for a pack of 16, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co.

21. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Pepperoni Turkey Stick, $30 for a pack of 16, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co.

Per 1-ounce stick: 60 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 420 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 9 g protein

22. Peeled Snacks Chili Mango, $5, Peeled Snacks

22. Peeled Snacks Chili Mango, $5, Peeled Snacks

Per 1/2 cup: 130 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (2 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 2 g protein

23. Munk Pack Oatmeal Raisin Spice Protein Cookies, $3, Amazon

23. Munk Pack Oatmeal Raisin Spice Protein Cookies, $3, Amazon

Per 1/2 cookie: 160 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 9 g protein

24. Annie’s Organic Cheddar Squares, $10, Amazon

24. Annie’s Organic Cheddar Squares, $10, Amazon

Per 27 crackers: 150 calories, 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 3 g protein

25. Vea Snacks Andean Quinoa and Spices, $4, Amazon Fresh

25. Vea Snacks Andean Quinoa and Spices, $4, Amazon Fresh

Per 18 pieces: 130 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 2 g protein

26. I Heart Keenwah Dark Chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt Chocolate Puffs, $21 for a pack of 6, Walmart

26. I Heart Keenwah Dark Chocolate Himalayan Pink Salt Chocolate Puffs, $21 for a pack of 6, Walmart

Per ounce: 140 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 3 g protein

27. LÄRABAR Maple Cinnamon Nut & Seed Bars, $17, Amazon

27. LÄRABAR Maple Cinnamon Nut & Seed Bars, $17, Amazon

Per bar: 200 calories, 16 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 5 g protein

28. Bumble Bee Sensations Lemon & Pepper Seasoned Tuna with Crackers, $20 for a pack of 12, Amazon

28. Bumble Bee Sensations Lemon & Pepper Seasoned Tuna with Crackers, $20 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per pack (with crackers): 160 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 385 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 19 g protein

29. GT’s Organic Gingerade Kombucha, $5, Jet

29. GT’s Organic Gingerade Kombucha, $5, Jet

Per 8 fluid ounces: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 0 g protein

30. That’s It Apple and Blueberry Fruit Bars, $13, Amazon

30. That’s It Apple and Blueberry Fruit Bars, $13, Amazon

Per bar: 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (4 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 1 g protein

31. Rhythm Kool Ranch Kale Chips, $19, Amazon

31. Rhythm Kool Ranch Kale Chips, $19, Amazon

Per 1/2 package: 140 calories, 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 6 g protein

32. Mission Meats Graze Sticks, $20 for a pack of 12, Amazon

32. Mission Meats Graze Sticks, $20 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per stick: 80 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 320 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 7 g protein

33. Crazy Richards Pure PB Peanut Powder, $20, Amazon

33. Crazy Richards Pure PB Peanut Powder, $20, Amazon

Per 2 tablespoons: 50 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 g sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 6 g protein

34. Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, $3, Target

34. Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter, $3, Target

Per 2 tablespoons: 180 calories, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), 115 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 8 g protein

35. RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt, $24 for a pack of 12, Amazon

35. RXBAR Chocolate Sea Salt, $24 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per bar: 210 calories, 9 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (6 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 12 g protein

36. Blue Moose of Boulder Roasted Red Pepper On-the-Go Hummus, $3, Amazon Fresh

36. Blue Moose of Boulder Roasted Red Pepper On-the-Go Hummus, $3, Amazon Fresh

Per 5.25 ounces: 200 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 300 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 8 g protein

37. Beanitos Black Bean Chips, $19 for a pack of 6, Amazon

37. Beanitos Black Bean Chips, $19 for a pack of 6, Amazon

Per ounce: 130 calories, 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (4 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 4 g protein

38. HIPPEAS Sriracha Sunshine Organic Chickpea Puffs, $36 for a pack of 24, Amazon

38. HIPPEAS Sriracha Sunshine Organic Chickpea Puffs, $36 for a pack of 24, Amazon

Per 1-ounce bag: 130 calories, 5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 750 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 4 g protein

39. Health Warrior Mint Chocolate Superfood Protein Bars, $18 for a pack of 12, Amazon

39. Health Warrior Mint Chocolate Superfood Protein Bars, $18 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per bar: 190 calories, 8 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (7 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 11 g protein

40. Pure Organic Wildberry Apple Fruit &Veggie Strips, $35 for a pack of 24, Amazon

40. Pure Organic Wildberry Apple Fruit &Veggie Strips, $35 for a pack of 24, Amazon

Per strip: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein

41. Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Light Kettle Corn, $4, Jet

41. Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Light Kettle Corn, $4, Jet

Per 3¼ cups: 120 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 110 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 2 g protein

42. Vega One All-in-One French Vanilla Nutritional Shake, $58, Amazon

42. Vega One All-in-One French Vanilla Nutritional Shake, $58, Amazon

Per scoop: 160 calories, 6 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 30 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (6 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein

43. Good Health Eat Your Vegetables Sour Cream & Onion Chips, $34, Walmart

43. Good Health Eat Your Vegetables Sour Cream & Onion Chips, $34, Walmart

Per ounce (14 chips): 130 calories, 7 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 135 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein

44. Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, $9, Amazon Fresh

44. Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, $9, Amazon Fresh

Per 1/2 cup: 80 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 340 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 1 g protein

45. Soul Sprout Cayenne Cacao Almond Butter Sprouted Truffles, $18 for a pack of 6, Amazon

45. Soul Sprout Cayenne Cacao Almond Butter Sprouted Truffles, $18 for a pack of 6, Amazon

Per 2 truffles: 140 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 4 g protein

46. Purely Elizabeth Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Superfood Oatmeal Cup, $33 for a pack of 12, Amazon

46. Purely Elizabeth Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Superfood Oatmeal Cup, $33 for a pack of 12, Amazon

Per cup: 230 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (7 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 10 g protein

47. Justin’s Classic Almond Butter, $12, Amazon Fresh

47. Justin’s Classic Almond Butter, $12, Amazon Fresh

Per 2 tablespoons: 190 calories, 18 g fat (2.5 g saturated), 0 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 7 g protein

48. Wholly Guacamole Classic Minis, $4, Amazon Fresh

48. Wholly Guacamole Classic Minis, $4, Amazon Fresh

Per cup: 120 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

49. Near East Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa and Brown Rice Blend, $3, Target

49. Near East Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa and Brown Rice Blend, $3, Target

Per 1/3 cup dry: 200 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 320 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (3 g fiber, <1 g sugar), 6 g protein

50. ALOHA Organic Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder, $26, Amazon

50. ALOHA Organic Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder, $26, Amazon

Per 2 scoops: 150 calories, 4.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 18 g protein

Want more great no-diet weight loss solutions from the experts at Eat This, Not That!, including our famous restaurant swaps and a list of not-so-healthy “health” foods? Get a full year of Eat This, Not That! Magazine for 1/2 off here.

We’ll cross into 90-degree weather this weekend, so I rounded up a collection of seasonal tacos, salads and pastas for you. These recipes are light and fresh, so the only “trick,” if you want to call it that, will be to eat enough to fill you up. I know you can do it.

If you don’t see exactly what you’re craving below, be sure to check out my full summer recipe archives. We just got a grill as a group wedding gift, so I’ve been playing around with that and you can expect some grilled recipes soon. Cheers to summertime!

1) Veggie Sushi Bowls

Gluten free, with vegan suggestion in notes

“OH my goodness Kate, I have loved every recipe I’ve made from your site….but I have to say the Sushi Bowl is the best yet, YUM!!” – Charlene

2) Kale, Black Bean and Avocado Burrito Bowl

Gluten free and vegan

“I’m not vegan but this is delicious. I used leftover beans and it turned out great. My aunt (who is vegan) has asked me make it two nights in a row. Thanks for the recipe it was the only one I found that I had all the ingredients in hand.” – Emma

3) Zucchini Noodles with Basil-Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Gluten free and vegan

“We are volume eaters in my household and we need large quantities of food to feel full! This pesto was a total hit, my kids were shovelling down the whole meal and begging for more. VEGETABLES. MORE VEGETABLES? That’s a first! THANK YOU!” – J Marie

4) Lemony Broccoli, Chickpea & Avocado Pita Sandwiches

See notes for gluten free and vegan ideas

“I just had to come here to say that my husband LOVES this recipe. He begs for it every week and even told me he loves it just as much as pizza! haha 🙂 Of course I love it too – so easy and delicious!” – Erin

5) Arugula, Dried Cherry and Wild Rice Salad with a Zippy Lemon Dressing

Gluten free and easily vegan

“I made this salad for our family and they LOVED it!!! I’m making it again this week on their request!” – Deb

6) Caprese Pasta Salad

Easily gluten free

“I loved this pasta! It was so easy and fast to make, and so fresh even when I heated it up the next couple of days. I’ll definitely be making this again.” – Rachel

7) Vegetable Paella

Gluten free and vegan

“Wow – This dish is amazing! The smoky rice and colorful veggies make this recipe pop both in flavor and aesthetically. My first time making Paella and it came together easily. I was even successful with the socarrat. Thanks for another delicious recipe :-)” – Dani

8) Sweet Corn & Black Bean Tacos

Gluten free and easily vegan

“I made these last night and they were WONDERFUL! I loved the flavor; the lime adds a lot. I followed the recipe exactly and they are fabulous the next day for lunch!” – Laura

9) Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Easily gluten free and easily vegan

“I made this yesterday and it was soooo good! We have a heat wave here in Germany right now so this was the perfect balance between refreshing and something warm for lunch. Will definitely make again :)” – Sam

10) Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Sauce

Gluten free and vegan

“These tacos are so good and filling! The sauce was super easy to make too. I live in Austin and have eaten a lot of tacos and salsa – these are one of the best I’ve tasted.” – Alice

11) Summertime Pasta Salad

Easily gluten free and easily vegan

“I made this last night to pack for lunches this week. Easy ingredients, simple to pull together, incredibly delicious, and so beautiful! I’ll definitely be bringing this as a side to summer cookouts!” – Lauren

12) Green Goddess Hummus Sandwich

Vegan

“This was amazing!! My husband and I made this for lunch today with your GG hummus recipe and we both loved it. The smoothness of the hummus did not fail. What an amazing tip. Thanks for another great recipe.” – Tara

13) Double Tomato Pesto Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles

Easily gluten free and easily vegan

“Made the double tomato pesto last night! Whoa–it was soooo delicious!! I served it to the fam with a combo of pasta and zoodles, but I had mine with all zoodles. The flavors were fresh and complex and everyone, even the teenager, loved it. Thanks for the great ideas!” – Michelle

14) Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Gluten free and easily vegan

“I made this last week. It was delicious! This was a hit with my entire family including two picky preschoolers.” – Brenna

15) Pesto Squash Noodles and Spaghetti with Burst Cherry Tomatoes

Easily gluten free and easily vegan

“This recipe is divine! I’m a newlywed looking for easy, but delicious recipes and this was exactly it; my husband loved it! Plus I just planted basil…making a perfect excuse to make this all the time!” – Grace

16) Heart of Romaine Salad with Pico de Gallo and Avocado Dressing

Gluten free and vegan

“Wow, just wow! I made this for supper tonight with salsa chicken burgers, and I am SO glad that I made enough pico, avocado dressing and black bean puree to have leftovers, because this ROCKED!I didn’t add any crumbled feta, and I don’t think it needed any, it was soooooo flavourful. Thank you SO MUCH for developing and sharing this!” – Denise

17) Cilantro-Pepita Pesto with Squash Ribbons and Fettuccine

Easily gluten free and vegan

“Not only was this delicious when I made it, the leftovers were just as good – a major plus for me because I always want to have good leftovers to bring to work for lunch. I added some roasted sweet potato to one of my portions of leftovers and the flavors worked well together. I know this has been up for awhile, but thanks for another great recipe Kate!” – Amanda

18) Build-Your-Own Buddha Bowl

Gluten free

“LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. The carrot ginger dressing is so delicious! A great vegetarian dish. Even my die hard carnivore husband loves it for dinner.” – M

P.s. More recipe roundups: 24 meatless recipes that carnivores will love and 23 cooling summertime recipes (no cooking required!). You can shop my essential kitchen equipment here. Don’t forget to follow us on Pinterest for a steady stream of recipe inspiration!

Sept. 6, 2013— — intro: Hey, girl, we won’t tell, but where do you like to cheat on your diet? Let us guess: steamy sessions with French fries in the car? Furtive licks of a Frosty during your 4 pm crash? It’s only human.

Sometimes, you just don’t have access to health food, and in the moment, a double-chalupa’ed-McWhopper might not sound like a bad idea. Luckily, help is here.

These 10 delicious (and, believe it or not, nutritious) meals will help keep you honest in the face of deep-fried temptation.

quicklist: 1 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Chipotle: Barbacoa And Guacamole Salad url: text: Here’s an awesome little secret: You can eat 100 percent GMO free at Chipotle.

When the company decided to disclose their ingredients online this summer, they went an extra step further and became the first to list foods containing GMOs in its online menu. Unfortunately, most of their corn and soy contains GMOs, which is par for the course since these are the two most common genetically modified crops. But Chipotle makes it easy to choose other options with simple color-coding: anything with a pink square and a “G” is GMO, along with other designations for preservatives, organic, and responsibly raised meats.

Make your own salad with no-hormone-added barbacoa, which doesn’t use unnecessary antibiotics (chicken, pictured here, is also a great choice). Add romaine lettuce, guacamole, a little sour cream, and tomatillo-green chili salsa. It’s definitely a sodium splurge, but full of MUFAs and quality ingredients.

*Extra bonus for Cali! You can try Chipotle’s new Sofritas: shredded organic (and non-GMO) tofu braised with chilies and spices. They’re only available in California right now, but fingers crossed they’ll expand all over.

Nutrition (per salad): 585 cal, 37 g pro, 40 g carb, 19 g fiber, 31 g fat, 11.5 g sat fat, 1215 mg sodium

These 5 South Beach Salads will fill you up without packing on pounds.

quicklist: 2 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Domino’s Pizza: Veggie Pizza With Gluten-Free Crust url: text: Who knew fast-food pizza could be gluten-free-friendly? Domino’s is, thanks to its GF crust with—truly!—nothing bad in it.

Load it up with baby spinach, fresh mushrooms, and diced tomatoes, none of which have preservatives. Plus, there’s no partially hydrogenated oil (code for trans fat) here, unlike in Pizza Hut’s thin crust—code for trans fat. These ingredients are the best you can hope for large-chain pizza.

Nutrition (per 1/6 pizza): 133 cal, 4 g pro, 16 g carb, 2 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 327 mg sodium

Discover how to eat right even when eating out with these 400-Calorie Restaurant Meals.

quicklist: 3 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Starbucks: Protein Bistro Box And Juice url: text: Sweet, meet savory!

Your portable lunch comes equipped with a cage-free hardboiled egg, cheddar cheese, multigrain bread, peanut butter, apple slices, and grapes. After you meet 15% of your daily calcium requirement, sip an Evolution Fresh Sweet Greens and Lemon juice, with no additives and 10 different fruits and veggies.

No need to feel guilty about giving into your coffee habit—here are 4 Surprising Coffee Cures.

Opt for this hearty, fresh salad, which comes with mixed greens, black beans, corn, cheese, and tortilla strips. To keep it extra-light, hold the chicken and wield the lime wedge instead of dressing.

Nutrition (without chicken): 140 cal, 6 g pro, 20 g carb, 6 g fiber, 4.5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 150 mg sodium

Has your weight loss workout not been, well, working out? Try these 10 Slim-Down Strategies You Can Count On.

quicklist: 5 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Pret A Manger: Wild Salmon Salad url: text: If you live in Boston, New York, DC, or Chicago (or Hong Kong, the UK, or France) you’re in luck! Pret A Manger is your no-brainer answer for all quick lunches.

With a fresh and truly healthy menu, you really can’t go wrong, but our favorite pick of the moment is the Wild Salmon Salad, featuring cucumbers, tomatoes, greens, tzatziki sauce, and lemon. Pret uses wild salmon, which has way less fat and more zinc than farmed fish (check out the differences between wild salmon vs. farmed salmon). It doesn’t get tastier than that.

Nutrition (per salad): 170 cal, 23 g pro, 13 g carb, 3 g fiber, 3 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 820 mg sodium

12 Hunger Fighting Power Salads

quicklist: 6 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Wendy’s: Sour Cream And Chive Potato url: text: Blind yourself to the corn syrupy Frosty and beeline for the classic Wendy’s side: the fabulous baked potato.

Dressed with reduced-fat sour cream and chives, it’s one of the healthiest picks on the menu. Spuds are packed with potassium, folate, and fiber (just remember to eat the fiber-rich skin). And don’t play hot potato! Let them cool down first—cool potatoes have much more resistant starch, which gets fermented in your colon and becomes food for your gut.

Nutritional (per serving): 320 cal, 8 g pro, 63 g carb, 7 g fiber, 3.5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 50 mg sodium

Energize your workout with these 14 Snacks That Power Up Weight Loss.

quicklist: 7 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Panera Bread: Power Chicken Hummus Bowl url: text: This member of Panera’s hidden menu (just ask) is a favorite of Prevention’s RD Ashley Koff. She applauds the antibiotic-free chicken and mix of fibrous veggies. A dollop of hummus later, and the dish packs 33 grams of lean protein—without many calories, thanks to a satisfying squeeze of lemon in lieu of dressing.

Nutrition (per bowl): 330 cal, 33 g pro, 23 g carb, 8 g fiber, 13 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 590 mg sodium

Chicken doesn’t have to be boring! Try one of these NEW Slimming Chicken Dinners tonight!

quicklist: 7 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Boston Market: Roast Turkey Breast url: text: When you’re craving meat on the road, Boston Market’s not a bad place to pull over.

Choose their roasted turkey breast meal, which has a relatively short ingredient list: just good ol’ turkey breast, with a solution of water, salt, lemon juice concentrate, and vinegar. Pair it with a side of fresh steamed vegetables, and you’ve got a guilt-proof pit stop.

Nutrition (5 oz turkey breast plus fresh steamed vegetables): 260 cal, 40 g pro, 8 g carb, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1g sat fat, 780 mg sodium

These 10 Slimming Chicken Dishes are packed with protein and oh-so-easy to prepare.

quicklist: 8 category: Healthy Fast-Food Meals title: Chick-Fil-A: Side Salad And Fresh Fruit url: text: While diving into the ingredient lists, we realized why Chick-Fil-A chicken tastes so irresistible: monosodium glutamate is one of the first ingredients. But in terms of fast-food salads, theirs is one of the cleanest around, with Romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, red cabbage, carrots, and a smattering of cheese.

Pair it with a fruit cup of apples, strawberries, and grapes, and you’ve made a respectable choice on the run.

Nutrition: (side salad plus fruit cup) 140 cal, 5 g pro, 21 g carb, 5 g fiber, 4.5 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 110 mg sodium

Get healthy recipes and eating tips to help you lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more with our Eat Up Slim Down weekly newsletter.

Friends, we’ve all had the “what should we eat for dinner” dilemma. And when you’re trying to eat healthy and stay on track, last minute dinner decisions can make or break your progress! Today, I’m sharing 50+ of my favorite “go-to” quick, healthy dinner recipes with you guys. Feel free to save this list on Pinterest or bookmark this link to keep it with for those last minute moments!

50+ Easy Fast Healthy Dinner Recipes:

Healthy Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos

Healthy Chicken Cobb Salad Recipe

Creamy Healthy Chicken Enchilada Skillet

10-Minute Margherita Pita Bread Pizzas

One-Pot Basil Chicken Baked Ziti

Chili Mango Zesty Quinoa Salad

Easy Healthy Taco Salad w/ Ground Turkey

Easy Spicy Vegan Potato Curry

Spicy Southwest Whole30 Stuffed Peppers

30-Minute Blackened Salmon Tacos

Spicy Grilled Shrimp w/ Pineapple Sauce

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Mediterranean Salad Bowls w/ Lebanese BBQ Meatballs

Healthy Sriracha Lime Shrimp Tacos

Vegan Spicy Thai Tofu Tacos w/ Peanut Sauce

Vegan Loaded Mashed Potato Bowls

Spicy Southwest Butternut Squash Casserole

Healthy Chicken Broccoli Pasta Casserole

10-Minute Protein Loaded Nachos

BEST Lemon Balsamic Lentil Salad

Easy 30-Minute Chicken Fried Rice

Lightened-Up Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Dairy-Free Tuscan Chicken Skillet

Baked Chicken With Turmeric Sauce

Paleo Chicken Mushroom Casserole

BBQ Chicken Power Bowls

Healthy Chicken Fajita Tacos

Meal Prep Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls

Vegan Meal Prep Black Bean Quinoa Bowls

Spinach & Mushroom Naan Pizza

Quinoa & Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Easy Lemon Garlic Shrimp & Quinoa

Turmeric Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Golden Beet Pecan Detox Salad

Baked Sweet Potatoes w/ Chickpeas & Broccoli Pesto

Broccoli & Chickpea Rainbow Power Bowls

Lentil Turmeric Detox Soup

Kale Quinoa Curry Salad w/ Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Shrimp Guacamole Tostadas

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta

Skillet Sweet Potato & Kale Hash

Mahi-Mahi Taco Bowls

Turmeric Sweet Potato Pasta Salad

Chicken Fajita Casserole

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp

Roasted Sweet Potato Black Bean Salad

Vegetarian Spicy Korean Bibimbap Bowls

Roasted Radish, Arugula, & Havarti Pita Bread Pizzas

Miso Roasted Mushroom Noodle Bowls

Cherry Plum & Goat Cheese Summer Salad

Kung Pao Shrimp Tacos w/ Jalapeno Sauce

Turmeric Tahini & Roasted Beets Power Bowls

Vegan Spring Rolls w/ Spicy Turmeric Coconut Sauce

Sun-Dried Tomato & Arugula Lentil Salad

Mushroom & Spinach Pasta Bake

One-Pot Shrimp Scampi w/ Zucchini Noodles

One-Pot Honey Rosemary Chicken & Vegetables

Jerk Chicken Tacos w/ Mango Avocado Salsa

Grilled Avocado Goat Cheese Toast

52 Healthy Meals in 12 Minutes or Less

1. Cacao and Blueberry Smoothie

Um, YUM. This smoothie is full of amazing flavors from blueberry, vanilla, coconut milk, and of course, cacao powder. You can whip this up in under five minutes, but if you’re especially lazy in the morning, just make at night to take on the go the next day.

2. Honey Lemon Ricotta Breakfast Toast

Say goodbye to boring toast. This version dresses up a piece of bread with ricotta, lemon, figs, honey, and pistachios for a fancy (but super fast) breakfast treat. Pro tip: these guys work great as apps if you put them on crostinis instead.

3. Poached Egg and Avocado Breakfast Salad

You can have salad for breakfast, too. Just whip up a poached egg (or any other style you love) and toss it in a bowl with some tomatoes, lettuce, cooked quinoa, avo, and pistachios for an added crunch. Just cook the quinoa the night before if you want it truly under 12 minutes.

4. Healthy Single Serving Blueberry Muffin

This healthy breakfast is a little more of a healthy dessert, but we’ll let it slide. Made from healthier subs like sorghum flour, applesauce, almond milk, and flaxseed, this quick microwavable muffin is a guilt-free way to start your morning.

5. Pina Colada Yogurt Parfaits

Take a trip to the tropics with this pineapple and coconut flavored breakfast. We love pairing these sweet fruits with the bitterness of Greek yogurt to balance out the flavors.

6. Blue Corn Breakfast Tacos With Scrambled Eggs

It doesn’t get much better (or easier!) than breakfast tacos. This version stuffs eggs, avocado, and smoked salmon inside of blue corn tortillas for a rainbow colored breakfast. Feel free to switch up the recipe with some of your favorite fix-ins, too.

7. Homemade Flavored Instant Oatmeal

This blogger has recipes for four different flavors of awesome instant oats: blueberry vanilla, chocolate banana, walnut and date, and strawberries and cream. You can store them in the fridge for up to five days and make them in minutes whenever you’re ready!

8. Peanut Butter Breakfast Toast Four Ways

Peanut butter toast might be a classic, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring! These four variations are awesome for breakfast, or a post workout snack. If you’re gluten-free swap out regular toast for a rice cake or a gluten-free bread.

9. Egg Breakfast Wraps with Bacon, Avocado, and Tomato

These “wraps” are a creative and gluten-free way to hold your B.A.T. (bacon, avo, tomato) combo. Instead of using a wrap, the blogger uses an egg “tortilla,” which is essentially an egg-only omelet that you wrap up. This one will make you feel very fancy.

10. Turmeric Tofu Scramble

This vegan scramble is perfect for rushed mornings or lazy-night dinners. Just combine tofu with lots of yummy spices and veggies and eat it ontop of some avo-toast. If you’re vegetarian, not vegan, feel free to throw some scrambled eggs in, too.

11. Paleo Sweet Potato Waffle Breakfast Sandwich

Leggo that Eggo! You can make this killer sweet potato waffle breakfast sandwich in the time it takes that frozen waffle to thaw. Protein-rich and full of good fats, it’s a great way to fill up on the good stuff at the start of the day so you’re not breaking out the snacks an hour later.

12. Whole30 Breakfast Bowl

Whole30 may be one of the toughest diets out there, but that doesn’t mean Whole30 recipes aren’t delicious! This quick breakfast bowl is a yummy twist on your standard bowl of oats: cook up a mashed banana with two eggs then throw it in a bowl with some apples, almond butter, coconut flakes, and cinnamon. YUM.

13. Banana Berry Smoothies

With all the craze surrounding juice and smoothies these days, it can seem daunting to make one in your own kitchen, but there are so many easy recipes that’ll make you realize how far that is from the truth. This version combines bananas, blueberries, raspberry sherbet, frozen yogurt, and juice for a flavorful breakfast or pre-workout treat.

14. Avocado Tortilla Breakfast Pizza

Pizza for breakfast? Yes, really. This “pizza crust” is actually a flat tortilla that you pop in the oven for 10 minutes with some mashed avo, grated cheese, and an egg on top. Best brunch ever.

15. Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato and Feta Omelet

Omelets are a lazy cook’s best friend. They’re easy, healthy, and seemingly fancy. This Mediterranean-inspired version is loaded with sun-dried tomatoes, onions, feta, and red chili flakes for a spicy and super filling breakfast.

16. Strawberry Chocolate Almond Acai Bowls

Smoothies don’t have to be sipped with a straw! This colorful Acai bowl packs in some sneaky greens (spinach or kale) and lots of healthy staples like Goji berries, Acai powder, nuts, and berries.

17. Two-Ingredient Pancakes

Yep, you read that right. Just two ingredients: banana and egg. These “pancakes,” are super easy to make and you can customize them with whatever add-ins your heart desires. Mixing in some protein powder makes these guys a great post-workout snack, too.

18. Simple Muesli Breakfast

Never heard of museli? Just think of it as a different type of oatmeal. This version packs in yogurt, nuts, and berries in addition to the classic base so your breakfast will be far from boring.

19. PB & J No-Bake Oatmeal Bars

Who doesn’t miss a packed PB & J sandwich in their lunch box every day? These easy no-bake snack bars will allow you to indulge your nostalgia. If you make a big batch on Sunday you’ll have a week’s worth of snacks or breakfasts set.

Most modern women are beyond busy and—no matter how much we enjoy it—simply don’t have enough hours in the day to whip up dinner every night. You know what, though? That’s okay! After all, one of the modern world’s greatest perks is the fact that services like Seamless exist, and we can order pretty much any type of grub at any time and have it delivered right to our door. The only problem? Finding healthy takeout takes a little work.

When it comes to typical delivery food, many types of common cuisines are packed with waistline saboteurs like saturated fat, astronomical levels of sodium, and problematic refined flour. The good news is that with a few smart choices, an effortless meal doesn’t have to ruin your diet.

Read on for your healthy takeout cheat sheet that outlines 6 types of common delivery food, and tips to make informed choices for each.

If You’re Ordering… Pizza

We all know that pizza isn’t the best thing for us, but it’s certainly not the worst. That said, there are things you can do to make it a total waistline saboteur. Here’s how to make ordering pizza a healthy takeout option that won’t totally bust your diet.

  • Pile on the veggies. Adding toppings like mushrooms, broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, onions, or salad will allow you get the fiber-rich benefits of produce.
  • Steer clear of meat toppings like pepperoni, ham, or sausage. These are largely processed, and loaded with sodium and fat.
  • Blot! Some folks roll their eyes at this one, but experts say that blotting the oil from each slice can shave around 30 to 40 calories. Not a ton, but better than nothing!
  • If you can, order whole wheat or thin crust. This means less white flour, and less carbs.

  • Try eating a salad before you dig into the pie, which will fill you up.

If You’re Ordering… Sushi

Sushi is one of the healthiest things you can order—nothing terribly wrong with fresh fish and a little white rice—but there are some hidden pitfalls lurking on that takeout menu.

  • As tasty as they are, standard spicy rolls are made with mayonnaise, Philly rolls are made with salty smoked salmon and cream cheese, and anything with tempura means it’s deep-fried, so stay away from these types of rolls.
  • While a California roll isn’t unhealthy, per se, its abundance of avocado and (often) imitation crabmeat aren’t the best choice if you’re already eating spicy rolls, or anything fried.
  • Choose a mix of rolls that only include fish and vegetables like cucumber, radish, scallion, or carrots, and treat yourself to one “treat roll” like Spicy Tuna.
  • If you’re low-carbing it, ask for your rolls to be wrapped in cucumber instead of rice, and fill up on starters like miso soup, a little edamame, or seaweed salad.
  • Instead of dunking each piece into salty soy sauce, try swirling your chopsticks around in the sauce first, then picking up your sushi—you’ll still get the flavor with way less sodium.

If You’re Ordering… Indian

The great thing about Indian food is the fact that everything is so flavorful. However, there are certain dishes that are loaded with saturated fat and calories. With the right choices though, Indian can be a healthy, satisfying meal.

  • Don’t start with samosas—they’re delicious, but they’re also deep-fried and—in many cases—packed with starchy potatoes.
  • While a little basmati rice is often necessary with Indian food, it’s easy to overdo it. Limit yourself to around a half-cup (or roughly the size of your fist.)
  • If you’d rather have bread than rice, skip the empty-calorie naan, which is made from white flour. Pick roti instead, which is the whole wheat version.
  • Anything labeled “tikka masala” means it’s made with high levels of cream and ghee butter. Instead, choose delicious tandoori dishes (which are grilled in a tandoor oven and feature plenty of complex spices.) If you want something creamy, order a side of raita, the refreshing cucumber and yogurt sauce, which is way less fat-filled than creamy dishes.
  • Add an order of protein-rich veggies like chickpeas (chana masala), spinach (saag), or flavorful lentils (daal.)

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MORE: How To Look Skinny in Pictures: 12 Useful Tips

Mexican food is spicy and satisfying, but also can be loaded with saturated fat and sodium.

  • Stay away from refried beans, which are usually filled with lard or pork. Instead, stick with a small serving of black beans.
  • Skip nachos, which are fried chips topped with greasy extras like cheese and sour cream.
  • Choose a dish that’s wrapped in a soft tortilla and make sure it’s filled with lots of veggies, flavorful salsa, and lean protein like shrimp or chicken. Ask for cheese on the side so you can control how much you sprinkle in, and choose a little heart-healthy guacamole rather than fatty sour cream.
  • If you’re really watching what you eat, unroll your burrito or tacos, and just eat the filling.
  • Take it easy on the rice—if you find you really want it, limit yourself to a serving the size of your fist.

If You’re Ordering… Diner Food

Ordering from your local diner or coffee shop is a safe bet since there are lots of options that aren’t particularly unhealthy, but a few wrong choices could result in a major fat -and-calorie-fest.

  • The first rule of thumb: Always ask to substitute French fries if you’re watching your diet. Most diner food comes with fries and an order can have over 700 calories. Instead, try a steamed veggie, a side salad, or a plain baked potato.
  • If you’re ordering breakfast-style food, stick with egg-white omelets filled with veggies, and ask for a slice of tomato instead of hash browns.
  • Steer clear of diner tuna or chicken salad, which are typically packed with crazy amounts of mayo. Instead, try grilled chicken on pita, or a turkey sandwich.
  • Go for a turkey burger or a veggie burger instead of a beef cheeseburger.
  • Dinner-size salads are always a safe bet, so long as they’re not drowning in dressing. Always ask for the dressing on the side, and forgo things like croutons, eggs, or bacon. Instead, top your salad with lean protein like grilled chicken or shrimp.
  • Look to Greek-style dishes, such as Chicken Souvlaki. This often comes with a filling Greek side salad and yogurt tzatziki, so it won’t be as painful to forgo the pita if you’re watching your carbs.

If You’re Ordering… Chinese

Chinese takeout has a reputation for being super-greasy, but with a few smart choices, you can still enjoy the tasty flavors without all the far, salt, oil, and calories.

  • Always go for steamed dumplings instead of fried. Even better, go for steamed veggie or shrimp dumplings, as opposed to meat.
  • Love egg rolls? Scoop out the inside and eat it on its own, as the shell is deep-fried and loaded with grease.
  • Choose steamed entrées like shrimp or chicken with veggies (as opposed to sautéed) and ask for your sauce on the side. However, be sure to add vitamin and fiber-rich bok choy, string beans, and broccoli rather than baby corn and water chestnuts, which have little nutritional value.
  • Pass on the noodles, which are made from refined white flour and often arrive drowning in oil.
  • Ask for brown rice instead of white, which is higher in fiber.
  • Stay (far!) away from deep-fried dishes like General Tso’s Chicken—it often has up to 1,500 calories, a whopping 3,200 milligrams of sodium, and plenty of MSG. Yuck!
  • Most Chinese soups aren’t terrible, calorically speaking, but they’re loaded with sodium. Your best bet? Eat the tofu and veggies out of the hot and sour soup, or a wonton or two if you’re really in the mood, but leave the broth.

Lastly, make it a point to always drink water with your takeout, as opposed to sugary soda (or chemical-laden diet varieties). This will work to flush out the extra salt you’re ingesting, and keep you hydrated.

12. Taco Bell Fresco Style Steak Burrito Supreme

  • 330 calories
  • 8 grams fat
  • 3 grams saturated fat
  • 20 mg cholesterol
  • 1,250 mg sodium
  • 7 grams fiber
  • 48 grams carbohydrate
  • 16 grams protein

13. Jack in the Box Chicken Fajita Pita (no salsa)

  • 280 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat
  • 60 mg cholesterol
  • 1,110 mg sodium
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 30 grams carbohydrate
  • 21 grams protein

14. Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap

  • 410 calories
  • 12 grams fat
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat
  • 70 mg cholesterol
  • 1,310 mg sodium
  • 8 grams fiber
  • 46 grams carbohydrate
  • 34 grams protein

15. Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad

  • 180 calories (260 with 2 Tbsp. Reduced Fat Raspberry Vinaigrette)
  • 6 grams fat (8 grams with raspberry vinaigrette)
  • 3 grams saturated fat
  • 65 mg cholesterol
  • 620 mg sodium (810 mg with raspberry vinaigrette)
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 9 grams carbohydrate (24 grams with raspberry vinaigrette)
  • 22 grams protein

16. Taco Bell Fresco Style Zesty Chicken Border Bowl (without dressing)

  • 350 calories
  • 8 grams fat
  • 1.5 grams saturated fat
  • 25 mg cholesterol
  • 1,600 mg sodium
  • 10 grams fiber
  • 51 grams carbohydrate
  • 19 grams protein

17. McDonalds Southwest Salad With Grilled Chicken

(includes cilantro lime glaze and a Southwest vegetable/bean blend)

  • 320 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 3 grams saturated fat
  • 70 mg cholesterol
  • 970 mg sodium
  • 7 grams fiber
  • 30 grams carbohydrate
  • 30 grams protein

18. Arby’s Martha’s Vineyard Salad — not including dressing

(includes grilled chicken, diced apples, cherry tomatoes, cheddar, cranberries, and lettuce)

  • 277 calories
  • 8 grams fat
  • 4 grams saturated fat
  • 72 mg cholesterol
  • 451 mg sodium
  • 4 grams fiber
  • 24 grams carbohydrate
  • 26 grams protein

19. Carl’s Jr Charbroiled Chicken Salad (with low-fat balsamic dressing)

  • 295 calories
  • 8.5 grams fat
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat
  • 75 mg cholesterol
  • 1,190 mg sodium
  • 5 grams fiber
  • 21 grams carbohydrate
  • 34 grams protein

20. Arby’s Santa Fe Salad With Grilled Chicken — not including dressing

(includes cherry tomatoes, red onion, corn and black beans, cheddar, and lettuce)

  • 283 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 4 grams saturated fat
  • 72 mg cholesterol
  • 521 mg sodium
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 21 grams carbohydrate
  • 29 grams protein

The Healthiest Dish to Order at 20 Fast Food Chains

Here’s a number you should keep in mind: 36.6 That’s the percentage of calories you consume each year from fast food joints, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight, you’d better plan to be extra-vigilant yourself and choose the healthiest fast food meal you can find—which we all know isn’t always easy at a restaurant. Researchers blame this on something called the “special-occasion mentality,” and it sets in whenever we eat out at the local McDonald’s or Arby’s. If we were only dining at fast-food joints once in a while, a splurge would have only minimal consequences, but that’s not the world we live in. The majority of Americans eat at restaurants every day or two. In fact, in our recent poll, one out of every three respondents said they’d eaten from a restaurant within the last 24 hours. That makes dining out about as “special” as taking a shower.

To help you stay trim, we sifted through the nutrition information at all of your favorite fast-food joints. To ensure our suggestions were truly the best-of-the-best for your waistline and total health, we looked beyond calorie and fat counts and examined each menu item holistically. Ready to eat your burger (and taco and pizza) and have it, too? Read on to discover how to do just that!

1

Arby’s

Courtesy of Arby’s

Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad with ½ Packet Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing

330 calories, 21 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 1,055 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 23 g protein

Get your hit of poultry plus 23 grams of muscle-building protein—minus the trans fats and starchy bread that comes along with most of the other menu items. This is the healthiest fast food order at Arby’s, and one of the most delicious. And bonus, it has bacon! It doesn’t get much better than that!

2

Burger King

Courtesy of Burger King

Hamburger

240 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 380 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 13 g protein

It may be hard to believe, but one of the best orders from BK comes served between two fluffy buns. Thanks to its low calorie, fat and sodium count, the King’s classic hamburger is a safe and satisfying bet for anyone trying to maintain their flat belly. In fact, the sandwich is so healthy compared to the competition that it’s one of these diet expert-approved orders from Burger King.

3

Carl’s Jr.

Courtesy of Carl’s Jr.

Trim It. Famous Star

430 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 610 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 24 g protein

Carl’s Jr. may have the raciest ads in fast food land, but some of its offerings are downright respectable, starting with its “Better For You” options. To create a classic Carl’s Jr. meal with a low-calorie nutritional profile, you can stick with the classic Famous Star as long as you say “Trim It,” which means they hold the calorie-heavy mayo. (It also comes slathered in their Special Sauce, so you won’t even miss it!) Whatever you wind up ordering, be sure to steer clear of the chain’s menu item that makes our list of the worst “healthy” fast food in America.

4

Chick-Fil-A

Courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

310 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 820 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 29 g protein

Choosing this protein-packed, low-cal sandwich over the chain’s Chicken Salad variety saves you over 100 calories and 10 grams of fat—leaving plenty of room for a healthy dessert if you’re still hungry. We recommend grabbing a 50-calorie fruit cup to fill your belly and add immunity-boosting vitamin C to your meal. For more healthy menu options from the fast-food chain, check out these best Chick-Fil-A menu items.

5

Chipotle

Chicken, Pinto Bean, Fresh Tomato Salsa, and Veggie Salad

375 calories, 8.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 1,370 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (11 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 42 g protein

“When I eat salad, I use it as an opportunity to get some of my carbohydrates from beans. I ask for double the veggies so I’m fully satisfied and getting the most nutrients I can,” says registered dietitian and personal trainer Jim White, RD, ACSM. To recreate White’s go-to order, ask for a romaine lettuce base with one scoop of chicken, two scoops of fajita vegetables, one scoop of pinto beans and tomato salsa.

6

Domino’s

2 Slices Grilled Chicken and Jalapeno Pepper Pizza on Large 14″ Brooklyn-Style Crust

540 calories, 20 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 1,640 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 30 g protein

Indulging in a slice or two of pizza doesn’t have to come with a side of guilt. In fact, we give you permission to dig into not one, but two, slices of this create-your-own pie. The grilled chicken is the leanest meat on the menu and toppings like jalapenos add a kick of metabolism-boosting fiery flavor without provolone-sized calories. And to discover the health factor of all of your favorite dishes, check out our exclusive ranking of every menu item at Domino’s!

7

Jack In The Box

Chicken Fajita Pita

346 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 1,117 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 24 g protein

This Fajita Pita is one of the best entrees in the entire fast-food universe. Low in calories, packed with protein and fiber, this is one meal that would be hard to top—even in your own kitchen.

8

KFC

Courtesy of KFC

Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast with Sweet Kernel Corn and Green Beans

320 calories, 8 g fat (970 mg sodium, 24 g carbs (4 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 44 g protein

A Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast is a solid option to turn to any time you find yourself at KFC. Enjoy a side of green beans and corn alongside the poultry for a light, low-calorie meal that’ll keep you full and satiated for hours without derailing your weight loss efforts.

9

Hardee’s

Trim It 1/4 lb. Low Carb Little Thickburger

220 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 590 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 15 g protein

When it comes to fast-food burgers, it doesn’t get much healthier—or lighter in carbs—than this. To whip up this mouthwatering creation, Hardee’s takes a Black Angus beef patty and wraps it inside iceberg lettuce leaves, along with pickles, onion, tomato, ketchup, and mustard. If you don’t see this offering on the menu board at your local restaurant, fear not. Just ask your server for the “1/4 lb. Low-Carb Little Thickburger” from the “Trim It menu,” and he’ll be able to hook you up. To discover more low-cal on-the-go meals, check out our guide to fast food burgers under 300 calories.

10

Panda Express

Panda Express/Facebook

Broccoli Beef with Mixed Veggies

230 calories, 7.5 g fat (1.5 saturated fat), 1,060 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (7 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 13 g protein

Panda Express actually has several options with reasonable calorie counts. As with any Chinese food meal, the key is to skip the greasy mound of fried rice and an oily tangle of noodles. Pair a low-calorie entrée such as the Broccoli Beef with a side of veggies, and you wind up with a fairly nutritious meal that has plenty of protein to keep you full.

11

McDonald’s

Courtesy of McDonald’s

Egg McMuffin

300 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 750 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 18 g protein

Thanks to the chain’s new all-day breakfast initiative you can now get your hands on this low-calorie, protein filled dish around the clock off the McDonald’s breakfast menu. Though you might assume the egg-white version is the better bet, the whole egg sandwich contains carotenoids, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals making it the smarter pick, explains dietitian Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND. The yellow center also contains choline, a nutrient that helps boost metabolism. For more ways to boost your calorie burn, check out these best ways to boost your metabolism.

12

Panera

Courtesy of Panera

Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

410 calories, 21 g fat (3 saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 540 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (4 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 32 g protein

This simple-yet-delicious salad has a near-perfect ratio of calorie, fat, carbs, and protein, making it the healthiest fast food pick at Panera.

“This powerhouse salad is hands-down the best without needing any modification recommendation,” says New York City-based Telehealth Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Jonathan Valdez, RDN, CDN. “You can even use all of the dressing because it amounts to only 410 calories in all.” If you want a little more substance besides a salad, heed the advice of Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD: “Sometimes, if I’m on the hungrier side, I pair it with an apple or a whole-grain roll, which you can ask for instead of chips.”

13

Papa John’s

Garden Fresh Slice on Thin Crust

230 calories, 10 g fat (4 g saturated, 0 g trans fat, 460 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein

We’re typically apprehensive about using “garden” and “pizza” in the same sentence, but this slice—packed with onions, green peppers, portobello, and olives—turns a nutrient desert into the top choice at Papa John’s. If you’re prone to overindulging, invite a friend to go halfsies with you to keep the meal under 500 calories even if you go for that second (or third) slice.

14

Popeyes

Loaded Chicken Wrap

310 calories, 12 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 790 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 14 g protein

This wrap is the best of both worlds: fried chicken and the chain’s signature Red Beans & Rice all rolled into one. In fact, it’s hard to believe that it contains a mere 310 calories while packing in 14 grams of protein and 3 grams of satiating fiber. Thinking of adding a diet soda to your order? Read up on these top diet sodas—ranked!

15

Sonic

Courtesy of Sonic

Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich

490 calories, 22 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 1,370 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 31 g protein

A soft ciabatta bun and breaded chicken join together with a host of veggies and light mayo to create this flavorful diet-friendly order. If you’re looking for a little less when it comes to the salt department, don’t miss these low-sodium fast food orders.

16

Starbucks

Courtesy of Starbucks

Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich

210 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 560 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 18 g protein

Lean protein from the bacon and egg whites meets its perfect accompaniment in the relatively low-carb English muffin. That’s a powerful nutritional punch for a mere 210 calories. This is another all-day breakfast item we’re proud to get behind.

17

Steak ‘N Shake

Single Steakburger, no cheese

310 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 830 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 15 g protein

In the restaurant world, “specialty” means excess calories and fat, and that rule certainly holds true at Steak ‘n Shake. Steer clear of the chain’s Specialty Steakburgers—the souped-up options with extra fixings—and order the Single Steakburger instead. It’s the only burger on the menu that isn’t laced with trans fat. Word of warning: Make sure your server holds the cheese. That’s where the trans fat appears to be hiding out.

18

Subway

Courtesy of Subway

6″ Turkey Breast on 9-Grain Bread With Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Green Peppers

250 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 650 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (5 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 18 g protein

The health halo surrounding Subway is a boon for the sandwich chain, but for everyone else, it’s quite problematic. The numbers Subway advertises are only for a 6-inch sub and don’t account for cheese, mayo, olive oil, or any extras most people get on their sub. Order a 12-inch sandwich with a couple of extras, and your “healthy” sub suddenly becomes an 800-calorie, diet-sinking torpedo. To be fair, though, there are many nutritious sandwich combinations at Subway, and this is one of them. Just make sure to go with 6 inches (not 12), mustard (not mayo), and take advantage of Subway’s best option: unlimited veggies.

19

Taco Bell

Courtesy of Taco Bell

Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller

340 calories, 16 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 770 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 14 g protein

Meet the Best Burrito at Taco Bell, containing the lowest calorie, carbohydrate and salt count, plus 14 grams of protein.

20

Wendy’s

Courtesy of Wendy’s

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

380 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 840 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (3 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 35 g protein

Going to the Wendy’s drive-thru doesn’t mean tossing your nutrition plan out the car window—just stick with the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and steer clear of the ever-tempting Frosties and fries. The healthiest fast food sandwich at Wendy’s comes with a grilled chicken breast, tomato, lettuce, and a drizzle of honey mustard, a combination that’s heavy on flavor and protein but light in the fat department. And better news? Wendy’s has cut back on the amount of sugar in its honey mustard dressing, taking it down from 11 grams to just 8 grams.

RELATED: No-sugar-added recipes you’ll actually look forward to eating.

This article was originally published October 17, 2015, and has since been updated to reflect current nutritional information.

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6 healthy options beyond salad at your favorite fast-food restaurants

Rasha Ali USA TODAY Published 12:05 PM EST Jan 24, 2019

It’s been more than two weeks since everyone started their healthy New Year’s resolutions, so we’re guessing cravings are kicking in right about now. And old fast-food stomping grounds are probably starting to look a little more attractive.

Well, you can still step foot in (or drive-through) Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and other fast-food and fast-casual joints while keeping your New Year’s resolutions at the same time. Surprise!

Fast-food and fast-casual chains do have low-calorie and low-fat options that won’t derail you from your healthy goals and go beyond salads.

Here are some of the healthier fast-food and fast-casual options to choose.

McDonald’s has a few healthy options Gene J. Puskar, AP

Artisan grilled chicken sandwich
380 calories, 6 grams of fat and 36 grams of protein

If McDonald’s is your vice, don’t worry, there are a few things you can get off the menu that won’t take up your entire daily calorie intake – one of them being the artisan grilled chicken sandwich. It’s only 30 more calories than the southwest grilled chicken salad and significantly fewer calories than a double Quarter Pounder with cheese (770 calories).

Taco Bell’s tacos are healthier than one of its salads Taco Bell

Steak fresco soft taco
150 calories, 4 grams fat and 10 grams protein

How about a taco? Or four? Sometimes salads really aren’t the healthiest options at fast-food restaurants. You could have four steak fresco tacos and they would be fewer calories than the fiesta taco salad, which has 760 calories and 39 grams of fat.

Spinach, feta & cage-free egg-white breakfast wrap
290 calories, 10 grams of fat and 19 grams of protein

You don’t have to just get black coffee or green tea at Starbucks to stay healthy. You can even pass up the oatmeal and fruit bowl and still be good. The spinach, feta and cage-free egg-white breakfast wrap is a mouthful to say but at least it’ll keep you full and satisfied.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Gene J. Puskar, Gene J. Puskar, AP

Steak burrito bowl with fajita vegetables, black beans and fresh tomato salsa
325 calories, 7.5 grams of fat and 30 grams of protein

There are plenty of healthy options at Chipotle, and the fact that you can pick and choose what ingredients go into your meal gives you greater control over your calorie intake. Just make sure to check the restaurant’s nutritional menu first.

Chick-fil-a has a couple of healthy options Mike Stewart, AP

Chick-fil-A

Grilled nuggets
140 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and 25 grams of protein

You can get exactly what Chick-fil-A is known for and still be good. Grilled chicken nuggets are probably your best bet if you don’t want to stray into the salad and wraps section. At only 140 calories, you can get two orders and still come in under 300 calories. If you’re just craving a sandwich though, the grilled chicken sandwich is the best option coming in at 310 calories. You’ll have to skip out on the fries, but at least you get your chicken-sandwich fix.

Credit: Getty Images Getty Images

Lentil quinoa broth bowl with chicken
380 calories, 8 grams of fat and 32 grams of protein

Don’t get derailed by Panera’s wide selection of pastries and breads. A lentil quinoa broth bowl with chicken is healthier than a lot of Panera’s salads. If you are craving one of the salads though, choose a half-size portion or one of the options that’s around 350 calories and low in fat.

Published 12:05 PM EST Jan 24, 2019

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