Though the temptations are real to splurge at In-N-Out and Chipotle, there is still a way to maintain your physique or diet while eating out. It’s challenging to not order those animal fries or ask for extra sour cream, but having the option to eat healthy at these restaurants may make you feel a little less guilty later.
1. Taco Bell
Taco Bell has a “Fresco” menu, where every item is under 350 calories and 10g of fat. This includes bean burritos and both soft and crunchy tacos. On top of this, you can also order most items “Fresco” style, which replaces most of the sauces with pico de gallo and can drop most of the options up to 100 calories!
2. Panda Express
Everyone loves Panda Express’ orange chicken. However if you still crave Panda when you’re trying to eat healthy, orange chicken and chow mein aren’t the best options. For your side dish, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the rice and chow mein has over 1,000 mg of sodium, so a better choice would be the mixed veggies. And as for the protein fix, the broccoli chicken is only 180 calories which is actually a good option for a meal.
The best options at Chipotle would be to eliminate rice, cheese and sour cream. These three items add up to 500 calories to your meal, where you could get an equal amount of food if you add fajita veggies and lettuce. By request, Chipotle also offers cilantro on your food, which is great for your metabolism and rich in antioxidants. So, be sure to ask for cilantro when you order.
Starbucks is everyone’s weakness, especially in college. Whether you need it to study or you are just a basic addict, learning how to be healthy here is crucial. Most of the teas have a decent amount of caffeine and aren’t bad for you, especially if you drink them unsweetened and without lemonade. For coffee addicts, many of your favorite drinks can be made “skinny”. Order your usual drink but with sugar-free syrup, non-fat milk and zero whip cream. For example, a tall skinny vanilla latte at Starbucks is only 100 calories and 0g of fat while tasting the same as the original vanilla latte, which is 220 calories and 6g of fat.
Ordering a burger protein style with the patty wrapped in lettuce instead of with a bun saves you 150 calories. A regular burger is 390 calories, but a protein style burger is 240 calories. Going protein style saves you 300 mg of sodium that you would normally be consuming with a bun. The best part is, you still get to keep the spread on the burger.
Healthy Pizza?! This seems like novelty right? Well, it’s possible if you’re careful. Opting out of sauce and just getting olive oil is the best option, but pesto is a close second, and who doesn’t love pesto pizza? Then, avoiding mozzarella cheese and sticking to ricotta, gorgonzola or parmesan will save you a lot of calories. Try sticking to chicken and not red meat, like sausage, pepperoni or bacon. As for veggies? Pile away! Now, you’ll find yourself eating a pizza that’s around 300-500 calories rather than 900-1,200.
I realize eating healthy at fast food restaurants isn’t ideal, but knowing there’s at least a healthy option at some of your favorite places will take a bit of the sting off of dieting. It’s always a good idea to treat yourself to your favorite meal every now and then, and knowing these fast food hacks will benefit you in the long run.