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The Healthiest Choices on the Fast Food Menu

While fast food restaurants are notoriously unhealthy, approximately a quarter of all Americans will dine in a fast food joint on any given day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, consuming fast food one or more times per week increases a person’s risk for obesity, which can lead to a wide range of health issues. While the best bet for your body is to skip these chains altogether, you may occasionally find yourself faced with a fast food menu. Here is a guide to ordering the healthiest food on the menu at some of America’s most common fast food restaurants:

McDonald’s
Skip the pancakes for breakfast and opt for a serving of oatmeal. Oatmeal comes in at less than 300 calories and is a heart-healthy source of fiber. If you want to go the extra mile, request sugar-free oatmeal. For lunch or dinner, stay vigilant. You may think that a salad is always the healthiest option, but dollops of dressing add loads of extra calories and saturated fat. The vegetables in a salad will provide a good deal of nutrition, but avoid the creamy dressings and deep-fried toppings. As for wraps, the grilled ranch snack wrap has the most health bang for your buck. People seeking out a classic fast food meal can still buy a hamburger, but note that no two burgers are made the same. The plain hamburger is a reasonable 250 calories with 9 grams of fat, while an Angus Bacon & Cheese adds up to 790 calories and a whopping 39 grams of fat. When ordering your meal, just remember that streamlined usually means fewer hidden calories, so skip the sauces, cheese and dressings.

Burger King
You can find a wide range of healthy sandwiches at burger king, provided one caveat: Skip the mayo. Mayonnaise is simply added fat, with essentially no nutritional value. If you do avoid the spread, you can order a Whopper Jr., a spicy chicken sandwich or a plain hamburger for less than 300 calories. Replace fries with a side salad or a garden salad without chicken, and you have a relatively healthy meal. For dessert, both vanilla and chocolate frozen yogurts are healthy alternatives to ice cream, as long as you avoid any brownie or hot fudge toppings.

Subway
This sandwich seller is probably one of the healthiest fast food options available. However, you should still stay conscientious while ordering. The meatball marinara sub can still rack up as many calories and fat as one of the worst burgers at ‘. When ordering a sandwich, opt for lean cold cuts or vegetables. Order vinegar or mustard instead of mayonnaise and fatty cream-based sauces. Choosing whole wheat or multigrain bread will add fiber, which aids digestion and may help lower your cholesterol.

Taco Bell
When you order your tacos, ask for fresco style. This means your meal will have fresh salsa instead of fatty cheese and sauce. You can order most things on the menu fresco style, and make sure to specify no cheese or sour cream. Taco Bell has designed a special diet menu of fresco style options, many of which are less than 200 calories. For iron and protein, try a grilled steak soft taco fresco style, which adds up to 150 calories and less than 5 grams of fat.

Wendy’s
As with any fast food restaurant, the number one trick at Wendy’s is portion control, and your healthiest best lies in the “junior” sizes. The small chili is a popular choice that comes packed with protein for less than 200 calories. A junior cheeseburger allows you to have the taste of a cheeseburger in a healthy, limited amount. If you prefer chicken, bypass the fried chicken nuggets and order an ultimate grill chicken sandwich or chicken Caesar salad, with the mayo or dressing on the side. For your sweet tooth, you can enjoy a junior frosty for about 200 calories.