We love road trips, but they can easily pump the brakes on your healthy lifestyle. There is no reason to avoid fast food all together—it’s part of the road trip experience, right?! Be prepared for the drive with these surprising low-calorie options.
Aside from the donuts for which this fast-food chain is famous, Dunkin Donuts offers some surprisingly healthy savory options. The Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread, for example, is only 280 calories and has 18g of protein and 3g of fiber. Add a coffee with skim milk or an English breakfast tea to stay under 400 calories. For herbivore sorts, Egg White Veggie Flatbread is a vegetarian option for the same 280 calories.
Even though Starbucks doesn’t seem to quite fit in the “fast food” category, you might be surprised to stumble upon a Starbucks on one of your roadside stops. For breakfast, the Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal is a well-rounded choice, with only 160 calories, plus 5g of muscle-building protein and 4g of stick-to-your-ribs fiber. This includes the dried fruit, nut medley and brown sugar toppings. The Hearty Blueberry Whole-Grain Oatmeal is 160 calories as well with the same amount of protein and fiber. Just be careful to avoid the sugary frappuccinos and lattes while you’re there—these sugar-filled energy drinks are nutritional nightmares.
If you are looking for something a little more filling, try a large chili from Wendy’s for 270 calories, 19g of protein and 7g of fiber. Round out your meal with a side salad for some greens. But pick your dressing carefully—many of the dressing options have a shocking amount of calories and sugar (the fat-free French dressing,, which is only 40 calories, is probably your safest bet. Or, skip the dressing altogether and add some sprinkled cheese for a healthy dressing-free alternative). Don’t eat meat? Fret not! Vegetarians can find a filling dinner at Wendy’s with the Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potato for 320 calories, 8g of protein and 7g of fiber.
If you end up at Taco Bell, be leery of the taco salad bowls. Although it seems healthy (how bad can salad be, after all?), the edible deep-fried crispy bowl makes this a deceptively unhealthy item that can pack as many as 500 calories into one crispy shell. No bueno! Instead, go with a Chicken Soft Taco, which is a safe choice with 160 calories and 12g of protein. Add a side of black beans and rice for 180 calories, 6g of protein and 5g of fiber.
Stick to snacks if you must go to McDonald’s. There are plenty of healthy sides, such as the Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait for 150 calories or the Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled) for 250 calories. You’re never too old for chocolate milk, either. The Fat-Free Chocolate Milk has 100 calories and 8g of protein, and you will consume a healthy dose of calcium.
Jack in the Box
The Chicken Fajita Pita at Jack in the Box makes a decent on-the-go lunch with 360 calories with 24g of protein and 5g of fiber. Add a side salad without dressing for 20 calories. While the smoothies may sound like a nutritional drink, stick to water on the road. A Jack in the Box smoothie packs a whopping 57 grams of sugar—almost twice the amount of your typical ice cream cone.
At KFC, steer clear of the deep-fried items and order three Kentucky Grilled Chicken Drumsticks for a modest 270 calories and 39g of protein. Complete the meal with a side of mashed potatoes (without gravy!) for 90 calories and green beans for 25 calories.