You can find healthy fast food -- if you order wisely.Spring break is just around the corner, and so are spring road trips. Unless you pack a big cooler with healthy munchies, there's a good chance you'll find yourself pulling into a drive-thru to pick up something to go at least once. The options aren't all bad, but you have to order carefully, warns RealAge cofounder Michael F. Roizen, M.D., and only eat fast food when there's no better alternative.
That's because even though "healthy" fast-food menu items are better than others, they're not great. Like all fast food, they can be high in sodium. If you're stuck, here are 4 not-so-bad options:
Mickey D's has a host of salads, but many can be calorie and fat bombs. Skip anything with "crispy" in the name (that means fried) and steer clear of creamy salad dressings.
Our pick: Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled with Low-Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and you'll be out the door with a trim 230 calories and 8 grams fat (just 3 of it saturated). The salad's 27 grams of protein will keep you satisfied. But it also has 1,000 milligrams of sodium (ouch!), so really watch what you eat the rest of the day.
You tell the folks behind the counter what to put on your sandwich, so you have lots of control over what goes into it. Still, Subway's menu is rife with high-sodium deli meats and fatty cheese.
Our pick: The 6-inch Oven-Roasted Chicken on 9-Grain Wheat with avocado. It comes in at 390 calories, 12 grams of fat (but just 2.5 grams of it saturated), 7 grams of fiber, and 640 milligrams of sodium.
Avoid anything with "supreme" or "layer" in the name. That usually means an extra helping of cheese and sour cream -- maybe with a crispy tortilla shell thrown in for good measure.
Our pick: Fresco Chicken Soft Taco. It's made with grilled chicken and has just 150 calories, 3.5 grams fat (just 1 gram saturated), and 480 milligrams of sodium. Crave beef? The Fresco Grilled Steak Taco has just 0.5 grams more total fat and 40 grams more sodium.
Need a quick lunch to go? America's most ubiquitous coffee chain has some decent options.
Our pick: Chicken & Hummus Bistro Box. It's filled with white chicken strips, hummus, a wheat pita, and grape tomatoes, cucumber, and carrot sticks. It's a colorful, satisfying lunch for just 270 calories, 8 grams of fat (1 gram saturated), and 520 milligrams of sodium. The 16 grams of protein 6 grams of fiber will help carry you through the afternoon.
Roizen final advice: Stay out of the restaurant and use the drive-thru instead. "While it's possible to find healthier choices at fast-food joints, once you're inside, will you order them?" he says. "Smell the fries and suddenly you've eaten a bagful."
Get more health tips from RealAge: