Fast food generally isn't considered healthful, but sometimes, stopping at one of these quick eateries is inevitable. If there's a Whataburger near by, you might be tempted to pay a visit. The original Whataburger -- a single beef patty on a 5-inch toasted bun and topped with mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and diced onions -- contains 640 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,520 milligrams of sodium. If you're looking for a healthier option, however, there are a variety of choices -- whether you're cutting back on calories, fat, sodium or carbohydrates.
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Looking for Low-Cal
If you're trying to cut down on overall caloric intake, pick a meal from the "under 550 calories" portion of the Whataburger menu. At breakfast, this includes the Breakfast on a Bun with Bacon, made with bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted bun, for 370 calories. Skip the version made with pork sausage, which increases the calorie count significantly. The Breakfast Taquitos without cheese contain 330 calories. For lunch, the Whataburger Jr. has just 330 calories -- add bacon and cheese for an extra 90 calories -- while the Chicken Fajita Taco contains 400 calories. You could also choose a Kids Justaburger, which provides 310 calories. Overall, always opt for the smaller meal rather than upsizing your portions, and skip the fries. Whataburger offers a 90-calorie side salad for an extra charge.
Many of the options lowest in calories are also the lowest-fat options. For example, the Whataburger Jr. has 16 grams of fat, making it one of the less-problematic items on the menu. A grilled chicken sandwich has more calories but around the same amount of fat. For breakfast, Whataburger's pancakes are low in fat at just 7 grams, but high in calories at 700. Again, skip the fries -- a medium order adds 20 grams of fat to your meal. Whataburger offers a side of apple slices in place of fries at no charge; they have no fat and just 30 calories. Helpguide.org recommends decreasing fat in your fast-food meals by opting out of using salad dressing, mayo, cheese and sour cream.
Skip the Sodium
Generally speaking, fast food is high in sodium. Some options are better than others, however. The What-a-Chicken Sandwich contains 860 milligrams of sodium -- compare that to the grilled chicken sandwich, which has 1,140 milligrams. At breakfast, the Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuit has 700 milligrams of sodium. Skip the Bacon and Cheese Whataburger, a sodium whopper at 2,260 milligrams, and Monterey Melt, which has an astounding 4,220 milligrams. Both the Garden Salad and the Apple Cranberry Salad are low in sodium, as well as low in calories and fat.
Hold the Carbs
Because many of Whataburger's meals are served on buns, one of the easiest things you can do to decrease unhealthy refined carbohydrates in your meal is order it without the bun. If that's not an option, the Whataburger Jr. and Double Meat Whataburger Jr. both provide 32 grams of carbohydrates, while the Chicken Fajita Taco has 31 grams. The Apple Cranberry Salad might seem like a low-carb option, but it has 37 grams of carbohydrates from the fruit.