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Low-Calorie Foods at Fast Food Restaurants

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Low-Calorie Foods at Fast Food Restaurants
Grilled chicken salad with low-fat dressing is a low-calorie fast food option.

Every day, 1 in 4 Americans is eating fast food, according to the website One fast food meal can easily meet a day's worth of calories, but it doesn't have to. With careful planning and knowledge of healthful eating, you can find low-calorie foods at a fast food restaurant.

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When it comes to eating low-calorie at fast food restaurants, go for grilled items and ask to hold the sauces, says the dietitian website RD411. McDonald's offers a variety of low-calorie items to help you stay within your calorie goal. A low-calorie breakfast item is the Egg McMuffin with only 300 calories, according to Healthy Dining Finder. Although a kid's meal, the McDonald's Happy Meal is a good choice for the adult looking to save calories. A Happy Meal with a hamburger, apple dippers and low-fat milk has 460 calories. Other low-calorie choices include the grilled Ranch Snack Wrap with 270 calories and the Chipotle BBQ Snack Wrap with 260 calories.

Panda Express

When looking at a fast food menu, avoid foods described as deep fried, batter-dipped or crispy. Instead, choose items made with lean sources of protein and vegetables, suggests Panda Express offers a number of low-calorie choices made with lean proteins and vegetables. A serving of Kung Pao Shrimp and mixed vegetables contains 300 calories, according to the Healthy Dining Finder. A serving of black pepper chicken and mixed vegetables has 270 calories. Both the Egg Flower and Hot and Sour soup are good low-calorie choices each with only 90 calories a serving.


Don't drink your calories with your fast food meal, says, order water with your meal. Quiznos is a fast food sandwich restaurant offering a number of low-calorie items to fit your diet. A small Baja Chicken sub with bacon, chipotle mayonnaise, Baja sauce and cilantro served on a whole-wheat roll contains 480 calories, according to the Healthy Dining Finder. The Tuscan Turkey sub with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and roasted red pepper sauce on a small whole-wheat roll has 400 calories. The Traditional Sub Special with turkey, ham, roast beef, cheddar cheese, black olives, lettuce, tomato, red onion and reduced fat Buttermilk Ranch served on a small whole-wheat roll has only 360 calories.

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