Fast Food Menu Maven

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Tips for Eating Out and On-the-Go

Before you go:

  • See if you can pull-up the menu online.
  • Avoid menu items with these descriptions: alfredo, battered, breaded, cheesy, creamy, crunchy, crispy, fried.
  • Look for menu items that are poached, grilled, broiled, roasted, steamed, al fresco, and marinara.

Fast Food: Lower Calorie Options When You're in a Hurry

Instead of… Choose this…
Jack’s Chicken Biscuit (560 kcal) Jack’s Breakfast Wrap (120 kcal)
McDonald’s Quarter Pounder (620 kcal) McDonald’s Cheeseburger (300 kcal)
Subway Steak and Cheese Footlong (680 kcal) Subway Turkey Breast 6” (250 kcal)
Captain D’s French Fries (330 kcal) Captain D’s Baked Potato (210 kcal)
Chic-fil-A Chicken Sandwich (440 kcal) Chic-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich (320 kcal)
Taco Bell Quesarito (650 kcal) Taco Bell Bean Burrito (350 kcal)

Check the Calorie Count Before You Go

Most restaurants have calorie information on their website. If you can’t find calorie information there, try these websites:

Aim for your entire meal to be less than 500 calories. Don’t forget to count calories from drinks, sides, appetizers, and dessert!

At the Restaurant

  • Order thoughtfully.
  • Choose one of the meals you reviewed beforehand.
  • If you are not sure how menu items are prepared, ask.
  • Order water, unsweetened tea or diet soft drinks, instead of alcohol or sugar sweetened beverages (soda, tea, mixed drinks).
  • Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side.
  • Oder smaller portioned meals, like an appetizer or kid’s meal.
  • If you order an entrée, ask for a to-go box with your meal and put half of your meal into the to-go box before eating.

Savor Your Meal

  • Eat slowly and pay careful attention to how your food looks, smells and tastes. Enjoy your surroundings.
  • Set your utensils or food down in between each bite.
  • Take sips of water between bites and through-out your meal.
  • Order coffee or expresso instead of dessert – but be sure to use sweetener instead of sugar and milk instead of cream.

Click to open Tips for Eating Out (PDF file).