With obesity at an all time high, reaching rates of over 35% in some states, Americans simply can’t afford to continue eating unhealthy fast food the way they are now. Ever since Americans, and the rest of the world as well, have become more health-conscious, the fast food industry has been fighting to keep customers coming back. 

In an effort to appeal to Americans worried about their health, existing fast food restaurants have made drastic changes to their menus to cut down on preservatives, fat, sodium, and calories in general. In addition, a wave of new fast food restaurants have opened up offering only healthy options made from fresh ingredients.

Whether you would rather visit your old favorite and try a new menu item or stop by a newcomer to the market altogether and not be temped by unhealthy options, there is a healthy fast food choice out there for you. 

Here is a breakdown of who, in my opinion, are the biggest players in the healthy fast food market that you should be paying attention to. They may just become the new McDonald’s that you can actually feel great about eating. 


Excluding the extremely unfortunate fact that Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sundays, they are an extremely popular fast food chain offering a number of healthier options. They have salads with fresh fruit and wraps.

Plus, in every meal that you would usually order with fried chicken, you can substitute grilled chicken for a healthier alternative. 

In-N-Out Burger

With such a limited menu, you might think that it’s nearly impossible to find something healthy to eat at In-N-Out. Fortunately, you can order your burger protein style off of the secret menu and skip the added carbs and calories from the bun.


Recently, Starbucks has stepped up their menu of healthy breakfast and lunch options. Forget the pastries and pick up one of their hot breakfast sandwiches or lunch protein or wrap boxes for lunch. 

LYFE Kitchen

This chain, backed by Oprah’s former personal chef, has grown to over 20 locations since its founding in 2011.

They don’t brand themselves as healthy, but serve dishes free of many of the additives Americans are trying to avoid, like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats. In addition, nothing on the menu will set you back more than 600 calories. 

Salad and Go

Although this drive-through chain has been open and operating for less than a year, they already have several locations across Arizona and are planning to expand rapidly in the coming years.

They offer extremely affordable salads, soups, smoothies, and breakfast items made with fresh, organic ingredients to customers who don’t have time to leave their cars.


This fast food chain that originated in Canada, has been expanding across the United States in number of locations and popularity among customers for the past ten years.

Freshii has stand alone stores and locations in airports and other retail chains offering affordable salads, wraps, and bowls. They also keep premade options stocked for customers in a time crunch. 


This California-based fast food chain offers traditional fast food made with extremely high-quality ingredients. They have a couple storefronts as well as food trucks all over LA and plans to expand in the future.

You may sacrifice your low-calorie diet, but when you’re craving a real burger, having one at Loco'l is guaranteed to leave you feeling better without giving up more of your time or wallet. 

Veggie Grill

Part of a trend I’m starting to notice, Veggie Grill is a vegan chain with locations only on the west coast. However, they are planning to expand across the nation soon.

They hope to appeal to Americans by offering burgers made from pea protein and chicken made from a combination of soy, pea, and wheat proteins at affordable prices. Plus, everything on the menu is completely vegan


This chain, with locations all over the east coast, takes healthy fast food to the extreme. Their menu consists only of salads, some of which come with grains, noodles, or warm quinoa.

What really has customers raving about Chop’t is the ability to make your own salad, picking and choosing exactly the ingredients you want in a subway or chipotle-style assembly line. 

Not having time to make your lunch in the morning is no excuse to stress about finding a healthy lunch to eat or cave and order a greasy fast food meal that will leave you feeling gross for hours afterward.

There are plenty of healthy fast food options now, and there are sure to be more in the future, as Americans continue to demand healthier options for fast food at affordable prices.