If you occasionally reward yourself with a meal from Wendy's, there's no need to feel guilty, particularly if you make smart choices. It is possible to eat a healthy alternative to the usual burger and fries when you're eating out at a fast food restaurant, according to the American Heart Association in the article "Tips for Eating Fast Food."
The first Wendy's fast food restaurant opened in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969, according to the Wendy's website. In 2002, Wendy's introduced Garden Sensations salads as healthier meal options for its patrons. In 2006, Wendy's switched to a new cooking oil for fried and breaded items. As of 2010, Wendy's uses a blend of corn and soy oil that contains only trace amounts of trans fat.
The Wendy's menu offers a variety of meal options, including Garden Sensations salads, wings and nuggets, sandwiches and sides. The meal option with the largest calorie count is the Triple burger with Everything and Cheese, with 1,030 calories, 63 g of fat, 29 g of saturated fat, 1,860 mg of sodium and 3.5 g of trans fat. Another high-calorie option is the Baconator Double with 980 calories, 63 g of fat, 27 g of saturated fat, 1,830 mg of sodium and 2.5 g of trans fat.
Wendy's offers low-calorie meals for patrons who wish to make more nutritious choices. The Apple Pecan Chicken Salad contains 350 calories, 12 g of fat, 7 g of saturated fat and 1,210 mg of sodium and no trans fat. Another more nutritious option is the Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad with 450 calories, 25 g of total fat, 11 g of saturated fat, 1,290 mg of sodium and 0.5 g of trans fat.
Although ordering a salad may seem like the most nutritious option, adding dressing to the salad may pack on more fat and calories than you expect. One serving of Lemon Garlic Caesar Dressing has 110 calories, 11 g of total fat and 2 g of saturated fat. One serving of Thousand Island dressing has 160 calories, 16 g of total fat and 2.5 g of saturated fat.
According to the American Heart Association, you don't have to settle for the meal exactly as it's prepared. Instead, request substitutions. Switching ketchup for cream-based sauces will help to cut back on excess fat and calories, while adding lettuce, tomato and pickles is a low-fat, low-calorie way to add additional flavor to your meal.