Fast Food Face Off

Columbus is a fast-paced city. Everyone seems to be on the go from sunrise to sunset, and sometimes beyond. All of this rushed movement can make many things in our lives difficult, especially eating a healthy meal.

We all have days, the healthiest of us included, when cramming fast food into our fast lives is unavoidable. It’s always there, always convenient, always inexpensive, but unfortunately it’s NOT always healthy.

The next time you are in a jam and fast food is your only option for a meal, roll through your favorite drive-thru and feel confident as you place the following orders:

What to order A Happy Meal with a regular hamburger, kid’s-size fries and apple slices.
Why When McDonald’s originally opened for business, the kid’s size we know today was the only size available. “Happy” is what this meal will make your healthy diet at about 370 total calories. These days, most “value” meals on the menu contain enough calories to feed an entire family of four for dinner! If you order the Happy Meal, you’ll satisfy your craving for a fast food burger and fries, but you won’t ruin your entire diet.

What to order Ultimate Chicken Grill with a small chili.
Why At 550 calories for both selections, this lunch will fill you up with lots of protein and seven grams of fiber. Don’t be fooled by the baked potato or side salad options – both items contain many more calories than chili, mostly because of what YOU decide to top them with in terms of dressing, butter or sour cream.

Taco Bell
What to order Three Fresco Chicken Soft Tacos and a side order of black beans
Why Choosing the chicken instead of the beef dramatically lowers the saturated-fat content in your meal. You can order up to three of these tasty tacos plus the beans and still ingest only 500 calories. Even if you don’t take my advice on what to order, you should make sure to remove “supreme” from your Taco Bell vocabulary. Asking for things supreme-style adds up to 40 calories of pure unhealthy fats, sodium and cholesterol for each item. Those calories add up fast at drive-thrus!

What to order A six-piece order of original recipe bites, with one side order of green beans and coleslaw.
Why While this meal is pretty high in fat content (duh, it’s fried chicken), it still keeps the calorie count fairly low, with about 420 total. The 25 grams of protein in this order will keep you feeling full for a while; just make sure you go easy on your fat grams for the rest of the day. Also, be cautious of what you are dipping your bites into because that will add calories as well.

What to order Jr. Roast Beef sandwich, kid’s-size curly fries and apple slices.
Why We’re headed straight for the kid’s menu again with this order! Our selection here provides you with the tastes you crave, the roast beef and fries, at the correct portion size for a meal, hold the guilt. This meal consists of about 485 calories. You could also order the Roast Turkey Chopped Farmhouse Salad with a packet of Dijon honey mustard dressing (410 calories) if you are uneasy about ordering from the children’s menu.

If none of these options appeals to you or you are on a special diet, you can always check the menu and nutrition facts for these and other fast food restaurants online. You may not have been able to prep a lunch before work, but you might be able to prep your fast food choice before you head out on your lunch break.