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 dine out (occasionally) at Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s and other fast-food and fast-casual joints while keeping your New Year’s resolutions at the same time.
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: 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: 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.
Starbucks: 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: Steak burrito 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: 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.
Panera: 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.
Rasha Ali, USA TODAY
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