Food-Drink

5 Fast Food Salads Under 500 Calories

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For many of us, eating healthy on the go is a challenge. And if you're like me, your sense of self-control vanishes at the drive-thru window. But if you have the willpower to turn down a Big Mac for a nutritious salad, you’re well on your way to dropping those unwanted pounds.

When you’re ready to forego the fries, it’s important to be equipped with the right knowledge of which fast food salads are actually on the healthier side (the Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken from McDonald's, for one, boasts more fat and calories than a Big Mac). Below are a few of our favorite and filling fast food salads that won't do too much damage to your waistline.

1. Subway: Veggie Delight With Fat-Free Italian Dressing

85 Calories, 1 gram of fatIt’s hard to beat Subway’s Veggie Delight when it comes to a healthy fast food salad. This salad is a veteran on the Subway menu for good reason: Not only is it low in calories, but it’s packed with veggies that will keep you full. Order the fat-free Italian dressing and keep your entire meal under 100 calories with no cholesterol, trans fat or saturated fat.

2. Panera: Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

450 Calories, 24 grams of fatCraving something different? Try Panera’s Asian Sesame Chicken Salad. Its citrus pepper chicken and fresh Asian ingredients are sure to spice up your diet. And if you’re feeling ambitious, go vegetarian and forego the chicken — it will drop the calorie count to 330! If you’re not in the mood for an Asian kick, Panera’s Classic Café Salad is another winner. Totaling a mere 170 calories with Panera’s reduced fat Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing, this salad is a dieter's dream.

3. KFC: Grilled Chicken BLT Salad With Hidden Valley Ranch Fat-Free Dressing

255 Calories, 7 grams of fatFeel free to make the KFC Grilled Chicken BLT Salad a regular on your lunch list. With only 255 calories and 7 grams of fat, we’re even letting the bacon slide! This salad is a safe fast food fix with a hint of naughtiness that is sure to satisfy.

4. McDonald's: Premium Southwest Salad With Grilled Chicken With a Half Packet of Creamy Southwest Dressing

340 Calories, 11 grams of fatMany McDonald’s salads run high in fat, carbs and sodium. For a healthier option, try their Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken. It’s packed with fresh mixed greens, oven-roasted tomatoes, fire-roasted corn, black beans, poblano peppers, chili-lime tortilla strips, and shredded cheddar and jack cheeses. Sound appetizing? Turns out McDonald’s can satisfy the taste buds without packing in the calories. You can even replace the Creamy Southwest Dressing with a low fat Italian or balsamic dressing to keep your entire meal under 340 calories.

5. Taco Bell: Chicken Fiesta Taco Salad (Fresco Style, No Shell)

260 Calories, 6 grams of fatMarinated all-white-meat chicken, chunky beans, cheddar cheese, seasoned rice, crisp shredded lettuce, ripe tomatoes, red tortilla strips, reduced fat sour cream and cirrus salsa … need I say more? Taco Bell really did “think outside the bun” with this one.