Special Report

The Healthiest Option at Every Fast Food Restaurant

Source: Courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts: Multigrain Bagel
> Serving size: 113 g (1 bagel)
> Calories: 380
> Total amount of sugar: 8.0 g
> Total amount of fat: 8.0 g
> Total amount sodium: 550 mg

This bagel is one of Dunkin’s DDSMART menu choices, items that, according to the company, “are reduced in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar or sodium by at least 25% compared to a base product or other appropriate reference product and/or contain an ingredient or nutrient that is nutritionally beneficial.” Though the bagel contains almost a quarter of the recommended daily intake of sodium, it is low in saturated fat and high in fiber. Needless to say, a slathering of cream cheese will noticeably increase the fat and calorie count.

Source: Courtesy of Panera Bread

Panera Bread: Steel Cut Oatmeal with Almonds, Quinoa & Honey
> Serving size: 1 bowl
> Calories: 320
> Total amount of sugar: 7.0 g
> Total amount of fat: 8.0 g
> Total amount sodium: 200 mg

This popular soup and sandwich chain devotes a page on its website to “Why We Love…Apples,” and the lowest-calorie, healthiest option the chain offers is just that — an apple, with nothing added. For something a little more substantial, the best choice might well be this combination of steel-cut oats, oat groats (the hulled kernels of the grain), and organic red and golden quinoa, sweetened with honey and topped with toasted almonds and cinnamon.

Source: Courtesy of Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A: Grilled Chicken Nuggets
> Serving size: 113 g (8 nuggets)
> Calories: 140
> Total amount of sugar: 0.0 g
> Total amount of fat: 3.5 g
> Total amount sodium: 440 mg

These are not the usual heavily breaded nuggets — they’re irregularly shaped, unbreaded pieces of boneless chicken breast, marinated and grilled on cast-iron grates. As always with nuggets and tenders, the danger is in the accompanying dipping sauces. In Chick-Fil-A’s case, the choices range from 25 to 140 calories per 1-oz. portion, with Zesty Buffalo on the low end and Garlic & Herb Ranch and Chick-Fil-A Sauce at the top.

Source: Courtesy of White Castle

White Castle: The Original Slider
> Serving size: 55 g (1 slider)
> Calories: 140
> Total amount of sugar: 2.0 g
> Total amount of fat: 7.0 g
> Total amount sodium: 380 mg

This iconic, widely imitated mini-burger — a small, square patty on a small, spongy, dome-topped bun — is relatively healthy due to its modest size. Note that, for whatever reasons, the slider is slightly bigger and has a few more calories in New Jersey and New York, coming in at 60 g and 150 calories in those states.

Source: Wolterk / iStock

Hardee’s: Grits
> Serving size: 142 g (1 bowl)
> Calories: 110
> Total amount of sugar: 0.0 g
> Total amount of fat: 4.5 g
> Total amount sodium: 260 mg

Hardee’s is basically the same fast-food chain as Carl’s Jr.. Both are under the same ownership, but the states in which Hardee’s operates include the entire South (except Texas) — a region where grits tend to be a popular breakfast food. Grits are a good choice for a morning side dish as they are notably lower in calories, sodium, fat, and sugar than the chain’s other option, its trademark “Hash Rounds.”