Making Better Choices at Fast Food Restaurants

How often do you typically eat out?  How often do you eat fast food?  Does it scare you when you look at the food boards in fast food restaurants and see how many calories a mcdfrieslittle cheeseburger contains, let alone the french fries and soft drinks!?!  In grabbing a “quick bite” we can consume upwards of 600+ calories in one meal!

I speak with patients on a daily basis who report they eat out at fast food restaurants several times each week and they need help with making better choices and eating fewer calories at such restaurants.  People who have to drive a lot for work, who travel for work and truck drivers report the most difficulty in eating better on the road.  The obvious suggestion is to pack a cooler with healthy and nutritious items instead of eating out; but let’s face it…sometimes we just don’t have time to pack our meals.

Eating out can be a challenge when you are trying to lose weight or even maintain a weight wendysloss.  I have spent some time on McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King’s websites figuring out better choices for you.  All three websites have great information for nutritional values and customizing your meals in order to help reduce your caloric intake.

On each website, you can customize your meals, sandwiches, etc and reconfigure your calorie count by adding or deleting toppings from your food.  Wendy’s even has a mobile application to download to your smart phone.

When eating out and trying to reduce calories, it really boils down to not eating the bread/buns and getting rid of the higher calorie/higher fat condiments (such as mayonnaise).  It is astonishing to realize how many calories can be reduced in a sandwich just by not eating the buns.  I have even asked restaurants to hold the buns and put a piecebkwhopper of lettuce on either side of the sandwich as a bun instead.  I have come up with a list of options and suggestions to help you make better choices when eating out.  You can also go to any of the three websites and customize your sandwich/meal if I did not include something you like to eat.  In no way am I recommending you eat fast food on a regular basis, nor am I promoting it.  I just want to make it easier for you to decrease your caloric intake when eating out.  I hope this helps!

A Guide to Making a Better Choice When Eating Out

Restaurant           Food item                 Calories             Fat            Protein           Carbs


Big Mac (as ordered)                                       550                     29g                  25g                  46g

Instead  Big Mac (no bun, no sauce)         240                     18g                  18g                     4g

Cheeseburger (as ordered)                            300                     12g                   15g                  33g

Instead  Cheeseburger (no bun)                150                      10g                   10g                   5g

Filet-o-fish (as ordered)                                390                      19g                  15g                  39g

Instead Filet-o-fish (no bun, no tartar)    150                       8g                   10g                  10g

McChicken  (as ordered)                               360                     16g                   14g                  40g

Instead  McChicken (no buns)                   210                     14g                   10g                  12g

Better McChicken (no buns, no mayo)     160                      9g                     9g                   11g

Grilled Chicken Classic                                  350                      9g                    28g                 42g

Instead Grilled Chicken Classic (no buns) 150                    7g                   21g                    3g

Better Grld Chix Clsc(no buns, no mayo)  100                   1.5g                  21g                   2g

10 pc Chicken Nuggets                                  470                     30g                  22g                  30g

Instead  6 pc Chicken Nuggets                  280                     18g                  13g                   18g

Better      4 pc Chicken Nuggets                 190                     12g                    9g                   12g

Medium French Fries                                    380                    19g                     4g                   48g

Instead    Small French Fries                     230                    11g                      3g                  29g

Better       Kid Size Fries                              100                      5g                      1g                   13g

Bacon Ranch w/Crispy chix salad              390                     22g                  26g                 24g

Instead   Bacon Ranch w/Grilled chix salad 230                9g                  30g                 10g

Newmans Own Ranch dressing                  170                      15g                     1g                   9g

Instead    Newmans Low fat Italian          50                      2.5g                    1g                   7g

Vanilla Ice Cream Cone                                170                     4.5g                    5g                  27g

Instead   Kids Vanilla Ice Cream Cone     45                     1.5g                     1g                    7g

Hot Fudge Sundae                                        330                       9g                     8g                  53g

Instead    Strawberry Sundae                   280                       6g                    6g                   49g

Restaurant       Food item                 Calories            Fat             Protein __  _Carbs


¼ single w/cheese (as ordered)                590                      31g                   30g                 42g

Instead   Jr. Chzburger dlx(as ordered ) 350                    19g                   17g                   27g

Better   Jr. Chz dlx (no buns, no mayo)  180                     12g                   13g                     4g

Homestyle Chix Filet (as is)                       510                      20g                  29g                   54g

Instead HS Chix Filet (no bun, no mayo) 270                  13g                  22g                   18g

Better  Ult. Chix Grill (no bun, no mayo) 140                  1.5g                  27g                     4g

½ Berry Almond Chix Salad(BACS)         460                     17g                   38g                 44g

Instead  BACS Half (no dressing)            360                    17g                   38g                 19g

Better  ½ Chix BLT Cobb salad                250                    13g                   23g                  8g

(Information for ½ Chix BLT Cobb salad is with light classic ranch dressing)

Medium French Fries                                   410                     20g                    5g                 52g

Instead  Small French Fries                      310                     15g                     4g                 40g

Better      Value/Kids French Fries          220                     11g                     3g                 28g

10-pc Chix Nuggets                                       450                    30g                   23g                24g

Instead  6-pc Chix Nuggets                       270                    18g                    14g                18g

Better  4-pc Chix Nuggets                          180                    12g                     9g                 10g

Small Chocolate Frosty                               290                      7g                     8g                48g

Instead  Jr. Chocolate Frosty                    200                     5g                      5g                32g

Small Vanilla Frosty                                     280                    7g                       8g               46g

Instead  Jr. Vanilla Frosty                         190                 4.5g                       5g                32g

Small Frosty Carmel Shake                        650                 14g                        10g              121g

Instead Carmel Apple Frosty Parfait      330                     7g                       7g               60g

Restaurant       Food item                Calories            Fat               Protein_      Carbs

Burger King:

 Whopper(as is)                                            630                   35g                       25g              57g

Instead Whopper(no bun,no mayo)      230                   15g                        17g                8g    

Better Whopper Jr (no bun, no mayo)   120                    9g                          9g               0g

Tender Crisp Chix sandwich                      750                   45g                       30g             58g

Instead Tender Crisp Chix(no bun, no mayo) 350       19g                        23g             22g

Better Tender Grill Chix (no bun, no mayo) 170            4g                        30g               3g

Alaskan Fish Sandwich (as is)                   530                  28g                        16g              54g

Instead Alaskan Fish (no bun, no tartar) 160                 7g                        10g               15g

Chicken Nuggets (10pc)                              470                   29g                      21g                34g

Instead Chicken Strips (3 strips)            360                   19g                       14g               34g

Better  Chicken Nuggets (4 pc)               190                    11g                          8g               13g

Medium French Fries                                 410                    18g                         4g                58g

Instead Small French Fries                    340                    15g                          4g                49g

Better Value French Fries                       240                    10g                         2g                34g

Chix BLT Salad-grilled                              550                    37g                       36g                 17g

Instead Chix, Apple Cran Salad-grilled 560                  30g                      29g                 40g

Better BBQ Chix Salad                            440                    25g                      29g                 28g

Vanilla Milkshake-small                           550                    16g                       10g                 91g

Instead Strawberry Milkshake-small   500                   16g                       10g                 79g

Better  Tropical Mango Smoothie-small 210                0.5g                       2g                 51g

Best  Strawberry Banana Smoothie-sm 200                    0g                        1g                  48g