Can You Eat Healthy in a Fast Food Restaurant?

Fast food as a dining concept got its start with the drive-in restaurants started in the 1950s. The twist that really made this option take off was the ready-to-eat approach pioneered by McDonalds. The menus featured hamburgers, fries and shakes.

With this early menu, fast food acquired a reputation for being high calorie fare with lots of fats and salt. With today's double and triple burger options in many fast food restaurants, it can be a challenge to eat healthy.

However, in the 1980's, the fast food industry realized that they needed to offer healthier food options. This new direction was amplified when the federal government started requiring restaurants to publish the calorie counts, fat, salt and protein content for the menu items.

Today, there are a lot of options you can choose from to make your meal a healthy one. Let's take a look at what is available.

McDonalds has put in place a number of menu choices that give healthy eaters plenty to choose from. They currently offer three salad mixes, topped with either grilled or crispy chicken. By choosing the grilled chicken option, you avoid the higher fat content from frying the crisy chicken.

McDonalds also offers chicken tortilla wraps with grilled chicken, crispy chicken or hamburger. These wraps include a sauce, lettuce and grated cheese. By sticking with grilled chicken, you get a high quality protein source with less fat and salt.

Wendys has their entry in both of these areas as well. They offer four salad mixes topped with grilled or fried chicken, as well as a variety of salad dressings, both regular and low calorie. They have a chicken wrap as well. To avoid the fat of fried chicken, go for the grilled chicken.

Burger King has a base salad with grilled or crispy chicken, they also offer a side salad as an alternative choice for their combo meals.

These are of course the main menu options for healthy dining. There are also healthy snack options, such as fruit parfaits at McDonalds, and kids meal options that include fruit.

The last option available is getting a custom order tailored to your specific needs. If you just want a grilled chicken breast, just ask for it. Another path is get a plain grilled chicken sandwich, then throw away the bun. If you get creative, there are a lot of ways to make your menu choice a healthy choice.

This quick review of fast food options has shown that there are a number of healthy eating choices available in fast food restaurants. Give one of these a try the next time you want to skip the burger and fries!

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