You’re hungry. You’re low on funds. And the only thing in your fridge is threatening to come back to life. Times like this call for a quick fix at your favorite fast food restaurant where you can load up on food that is both tasty and cheap. Unfortunately, tasty and cheap usually translates to high-calorie and fat—not to mention processed, fried and sodium-packed. But while it’s true that most items on a fast food menu will get you prepped to appear on the next Biggest Loser, there are a few options from America’s top chains that can be much kinder to your waistline and arteries. So if you're thinking of hitting the drive thru to grab one of these bloated menu items, think again and opt for one of our healthier menu-mate suggestions.
BURGER KING Worst Choice: Triple Whopper When Burger King says, “have it your way,” we’re not sure if they’re referring to this mountain of meat, or the massive coronary you’ll get after eating it. With three beef patties, two slices of cheese, and a slathering of mayo, this triple-decker can do some serious damage as it passes through your colon. Just give it time. Calories: 1140 (57% DV*) Fat: 75g (115% DV) Saturated Fat: 27g (135% DV) Carbohydrate: 51g (17% DV) Sodium: 1110mg (46% DV) Better Choice: BK Veggie Burger (no mayo) If eating animals, or getting obese, isn’t your thing, this low-fat, cholesterol-free veggie burger is the way to go. Calories: 310 (16% DV) Fat: 7g (11% DV) Saturated Fat: 1g (5% DV) Carbohydrate: 43g (14% DV) Sodium: 960mg (40% DV)
CARL'S JR. Worst Choice: Double Steakhouse Six-Dollar Burger Scarf down enough of these Six Dollar Burgers and you'd better have some money left for a quadruple bypass. Nothing ups your odds of a trip to the cardiologist quite like a beef, bacon, cheese, and onion ring concoction. It’s no wonder many tout this burger as the unhealthiest in America. Calories: 1120 (56% DV) Fat: 72g (111% DV) Saturated Fat: 26g (130% DV) Carbohydrate: 70g (23% DV) Sodium: 1910mg (80% DV) Better Choice: Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich With more breasts on their menu than even their TV ads, CJ’s got a host of low-fat chicken sandwiches from which to choose. This one ranks among the healthiest. Calories: 390 (20% DV) Fat: 7g (11% DV) Saturated Fat: 1.5g (8% DV) Carbohydrate: 50g (17% DV) Sodium: 990mg (41% DV) [pagebreak] JACK IN THE BOX Worst Choice: Oreo Cookie Shake w/Whipped Topping (24oz.) If you think this is a good way to wash down your Sourdough Melt and curly fries, you don’t know Jack. Made with vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookie pieces and whipped topping, this liquid sundae is chock full of fat and calories. Calories: 1170 (59% DV) Fat: 61g (94% DV) Saturated Fat: 38g (190% DV) Carbohydrate: 134g (45% DV) Sodium: 560mg (23% DV) Better Choice: Strawberry Smoothie (16 oz.) So you won’t find any fresh strawberries here, but you also won’t find any fat or chemicals. With few menu options that won’t pack on the pounds, it’s good to see Jack went outside of the box with this one. Calories: 270 (14% DV) Fat: 0g (0% DV) Saturated Fat: 0g (0% DV) Carbohydrate: 67g (22% DV) Sodium: 70mg (3% DV)
MCDONALD'S Worst Choice: Big Breakfast with Hotcakes & Large Biscuit Of all the cholesterol-laden combinations on the Mickey D's menu, this breakfast bounty doles out the most overall damage. Want to salvage some self-respect? At least toss the biscuit, which contains more saturated fat than the sausage and eggs. Calories: 1150 (58% DV) Fat: 60g (92% DV) Saturated Fat: 20g (100% DV) Carbohydrate: 116g (39% DV) Sodium: 2260mg (94% DV) Better Choice: Fruit & Maple Oatmeal (no sugar) Look beyond the meat, cheese, bacon, eggs and fries, and you may be able to find something healthy under the golden arches - like this oatmeal offering. Calories: 260 (13% DV) Fat: 4.5g (7% DV) Saturated Fat: 2g (10% DV) Carbohydrate: 48g (16% DV) Sodium: 115mg (5% DV)
TACO BELL Worst Choice: XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito - Beef Just how much meat and cheese can you stuff into a tortilla? A sh*tload would be the answer here. With a blend of cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack cheese, beef, rice, beans, sour cream, guacamole, avocado ranch and fiesta salsa, it won’t be the border you’re running for after downing this monster. Calories: 880 (44% DV) Fat: 42g (65% DV) Saturated Fat: 14g (70% DV) Carbohydrate: 95g (32% DV) Sodium: 2050mg (85% DV) Better Choice: Fresco Style Bean Burrito If you’re jonesing for a burrito, going with the basic bean is your best bet. Plus the fresco style replaces the regular cheese and sauce with much healthier tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Calories: 350 (18% DV) Fat: 8g (12% DV) Saturated Fat: 2.5g (13% DV) Carbohydrate: 57g (19% DV) Sodium: 990mg (41% DV)
WENDY'S Worst Choice: Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Three-Quarter-lb. Triple If you’ve completely given up on life this burger is for you. With 3 beef patties, 3 strips of bacon, and 3 slices of cheese the only thing you’ll need more of are elastic waistbands and health insurance. Not only is this Hot ‘N Juicy loaded with calories and sodium, it's also one of the trans-fattiest burgers in the country. Calories: 1060 (53% DV) Fat: 67g (103% DV) Saturated Fat: 30g (150% DV) Carbohydrate: 42g (14% DV) Sodium: 2020mg (84% DV) Better Choice: Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potato How many times can you order a freakin' chicken sandwich? With the Sour Cream & Chive Baked Potato, you’ll find a high fiber food, that’s low in sodium, fat and feathers. Calories: 320 (16% DV) Fat: 4g (6% DV) Saturated Fat: 2g (10% DV) Carbohydrate: 63g (21% DV) Sodium: 50mg (2% DV) Fiber: 7g (28% DV) --- *% DV's based on a 2000-calorie diet