When you’re starving and pressed for time, it’s easy to cave into a drive-through. Unfortunately, that value meal can exceed your daily intake of fat, calories and sodium in just one sitting. The calorie cost just isn’t worth it.
Since we all love a fast-food meal now and then, we rounded up some tips for eating deliciously for under 500 calories at four popular fast-food joints. From McDonald's to Taco Bell, you can choose your cravings wisely with our helpful guide.
1. Hamburger, side salad and a small one-percent milk
Total: 370 calories, 11.5 grams fat, 39 grams carbohydrate and 13 grams protein. Keep in mind: If you want to add salad dressing, choose fat-free balsamic vinaigrette for only 40 additional calories.
2. Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich (hold the mayo to cut 50 calories) and side salad
Total: 390 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 54 grams carbohydrate and 33 grams protein. Keep in mind: Remember to order grilled instead of fried chicken; you'll save 100 calories.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
1. Three-piece Crispy Strips and the Three Bean Salad
Total: 440 calories, 19 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber and 33 grams protein. Keep in mind: Although baked beans are high in fiber, the Three Bean Salad is low in fat and sodium. 2. Roasted Chicken BLT Salad with Hidden Valley Golden Italian Light Dressing
Total: 315 calories, 10 grams fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber and 32 grams protein. Keep in mind: Whenever possible, order those veggies.
1. Fresco Style Chicken Gordita Supreme and Mexican Rice
Total: 350 calories, 10 grams fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 17 grams protein. Keep in mind: The new Fresco menu only contains items with less than 9 grams of fat. Plus, hot sauce adds zest, but not fat, so use freely.
2. Two Fresco style Spicy Chicken Soft Tacos and Pintos 'N Cheese
Total: 470 calories, 14 grams fat, 61 grams carbohydrate, 13 grams fiber, 16 grams protein. Keep in mind: The pinto beans add enough fiber for this meal to provide half your daily fiber needs.
1. 6-inch turkey sandwich on wheat bread (no cheese), plus one oatmeal raisin cookie
Total: 480 calories, 12.5 grams fat, 76 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 21 grams protein. Keep in mind: Dessert is possible if you choose wisely.
2. 6-inch Oven Roasted Chicken Breast sandwich on wheat bread and Tomato Garden Vegetable Soup with Rotini
Total: 400 calories, 5 grams fat, 68 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber and 27 grams protein. Keep in mind: If you choose a sub with mustard instead of oil and opt for veggies instead of cheese you will save 72 calories and 7 grams of fat.
No fries with that?
Let's just say they're drowned in oil. A small serving of french fries has 210 calories and 10 grams of fat—just about the same as a hamburger, without any nutritional value. And supersizing those fries brings the calorie tally up to 610, which is more than anyone needs in an entire meal.
Before you drive-through
You can always order more fresh veggies on your sandwich or slice of pizza to boost the nutritional value of the meal as well as increase the fiber and your sense of fullness. Choose fat-free milk and bring a piece of fresh fruit from home for dessert. In general, cheese, mayo, sauce and frying add more calories, so avoid these items as much as possible.