HealthChips: what to pick up at the drive-thru

Oct. 18, 2012, 12:29 p.m. | By Temi Ibirogba | 11 years, 9 months ago

It's difficult to completely give up on fast food so if you find yourself on the road needing something quick, here are some better choices for the drive-thru window.

HealthChips is a weekly blog focusing on healthy living and wellness. Come back next Thursday for the next edition of HealthChips.

By now, almost everyone knows that most fast food choices are bad for you. After an uncomfortable viewing of "Super-Size Me,” many even decided to eliminate not only McDonald's, but all fast food from their diet. It's difficult to completely give up on fast food so if you find yourself on the road needing something quick, here are some better choices for the drive-thru window.


McDonald's is infamous for their unhealthy meals, but not everything on their menu is completely bad. The more obvious healthy choice would be to choose a regular size burger or cheeseburger rather than a Big Mac. However their Premium Caesar Salads at 90 calories are still a better alternative overall. And if you're in the mood for chicken, go with grilled because breaded normally means that it's not as good for you since it contains more trans fats and is full of calories. As for drinks, at any fast food restaurant it's better to just stick with water but if you want a little more flavor choose an Iced Tea. And for dessert, the best choice would really be a kiddie cone of ice cream. See, finding something healthy is possible; you just have to be a little selective.

Panera Bread

A classier choice then McDonald's, Panera Bread offers an assortment of soups and salads in a café like environment. Even though most people probably think it's a better substitute for the typical fast food restaurant, you still need to be careful with what you pick. The Low Fat Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto compared to the Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice is obviously much better for you. And the side of bread is great the night before any sports player has a game because carbs give you the extra energy boost. The Panera menu is embellished largely with "Freshly” and "Whole grain” but if the calorie count isn't visible, don't be afraid to ask the cashier which soup or salad is the better choice. Subway

If you're looking for something cheaper than Panera then Subway would be your best alternative because they still have the whole sandwich variety theme. Subway ad campaigns have claimed to be the secret to losing weight for years but most people, understandably, remain skeptical that eating from a fast food chain everyday would actually change your weight dramatically. But whether you're a skeptic or not, the best choice to go with on their menu is the Veggie Delite Mini Sub or if you're not into only vegetables, the Turkey Breast Mini Sub.

Next time you're on the road and need something quick, try to pick the healthier meal and you'll feel so much better in the long run. But if you're just not into any of the food choices mentioned above or want to know all the choices you have, most restaurant chains put their menus and nutrition information online so everyone can access it. If you are trying to be healthier, take the extra step to look at the menus so that next time you're on the road, you'll make the better choice.

Last updated: April 27, 2021, 12:47 p.m.

Tags: HealthChips eating healthy fast food McDonald's Panera Subway

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