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Eating healthy at restaurants

Photo of teenage girls eating at a fast food restaurant.

Eating out can be fun and convenient. But restaurant meals can be super-big and come with lots of extra calories, sugar, sodium, and fat.

Check out one example: Let's say you eat a double burger, fries, and a shake.

  • You will have eaten almost 2,000 calories, which is around the total number of calories you probably should eat in a whole day.
  • You will have eaten around a day's worth of saturated fat, which is a type of fat that is bad for your heart.
  • You'll be eating more sodium than is recommended for the whole day.

One great step is to try to limit how often you eat fast food. And when you eat out, learn about your choices. That should be easier now that some restaurants have started listing nutrition information on menus. More restaurants will start offering the info, too, because the government has passed a law that will require many of them to do this.

To get started, you can check out some great tips for eating at restaurants. Below, you can look at a couple of healthier options from your favorite food places. These choices have fewer calories and less saturated fat (which is an unhealthy kind of fat) than other items. If you want more options, click on our links to restaurants' nutrition info.

Keep in mind that although salads are often a healthier choice at restaurants, adding lots of regular salad dressing can make the calorie level much higher. If you're trying to keep your weight healthy, choose a "light" dressing and ask for it on the side.

Some healthier options at popular restaurants:

Burger King arrow top

Hamburger

  • 240 calories
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat

Chicken Nuggets (6 pieces)

  • 290 calories
  • 3 grams saturated fat

For more information, go to the Burger King website.

Chick-fil-A arrow top

Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad

  • 180 calories
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat

Chargrilled Chicken Garden Sandwich

  • 290 calories
  • 1 gram saturated fat

For more information, go to the Chick-fil-A website.

Chili's arrow top

Chicken Enchilada (1 cup)

  • 200 calories
  • 5 grams saturated fat

Grilled Chicken Salad

  • 260 calories
  • 4 grams saturated fat

For more information, go to the Chili's website.

Jack in the Box arrow top

Grilled Chicken Salad (without dressing)

  • 250 calories
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat

Hamburger Deluxe

  • 320 calories
  • 5 grams saturated fat

For more information, go to the Jack in the Box website.

KFC arrow top

Hot Wings (1 wing)

  • 70 calories
  • 0.5 gram saturated fat

Original Recipe Chicken Breast (without the skin or breading)

  • 160 calories
  • 1 gram saturated fat

For more information, go to the KFC website.

McDonald's arrow top

Hamburger

  • 250 calories
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat

Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken

  • 290 calories
  • 2.5 grams saturated fat

For more information, go to the McDonald's website.

Starbucks arrow top

Coffee Frappuccino Light (tall)

  • 90 calories
  • 0 grams saturated fat

Chipotle Chicken Wrap

  • 290 calories
  • 4.5 grams saturated fat

For more information, go to Starbucks website.

Subway arrow top

Subway Club

  • 310 calories
  • 1.5 grams saturated fat

Veggie Delight

  • 230 calories
  • 0.5 gram saturated fat

For more information, go to the Subway website.

Taco Bell arrow top

Fresco Burrito Supreme — Steak

  • 340 calories
  • 3 grams saturated fat

Fresco Chicken Soft Taco

  • 150 calories
  • 1 gram saturated fat

For more information, go to the Taco Bell website.

Wendy's arrow top

Grilled Chicken Go Wrap

  • 260 calories
  • 3.5 grams of saturated fat

Junior Hamburger

  • 250 calories
  • 4 grams of saturated fat

For more information, go to the Wendy's website.

 

Content last reviewed November 05, 2013
Page last updated January 13, 2014

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