Fast Food Menus Ranked by Their Health-Conscious Options

By Jake SchroederLast Updated Apr 2, 2020 5:28:53 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Jez Timms

Keeping up with a healthy diet when you’re constantly on the go can be next to impossible. With so many "bad" food spots available on every corner, the temptation is real, and it’s far too easy to give in when you're on a busy schedule. Unhealthy alternatives seem deliciously satisfying when you’re rushed and starving.

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But you don’t have to sacrifice food quality, just to save some time. Some fast food menus include healthier options. You just need to know where to find them.

30. Denny’s Fit Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet

Denny's and a healthy meal don't usually go hand in hand, but there are menu options that are good for your body and your taste buds. The Fit Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet is a little high on the calorie side, but it packs a serious protein punch.

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Photo Courtesy: Denny's

With 28% of your daily fiber and a wide array of veggie options with good nutritional value, this menu item is sure to keep you going throughout a busy day at the office. Calories: 470, Total Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 650mg, Carbohydrates: 60g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 20g, Protein: 26g

29. Moe’s Southwest Grill Burrito Bowl

Who doesn't love a good burrito? If you want to keep the carbs on the low side, Moe's Southwest Grill Burrito Bowl has you covered. It includes rice, beans, cheese, pico de gallo and your choice of protein. You can also skip the rice if your goal is to keep carbs very low for each meal.

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Photo Courtesy: Moe's Southwest Grill

With 58% of your daily protein needs and 96% of your daily fiber, this bowl will fill you up without weighing you down. The sodium content is a little high, but it’s still a great option for a low sugar, high protein meal on the go. Calories: 518, Total Fat: 24g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 1311mg, Carbohydrates: 55g, Sugar: 4g, Fiber: 24g (96% RDA), Protein: 29g (58% RDA)

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28. Jimmy John’s Slim 2 Roast Beef

For the sandwich lover, Jimmy John's Slim 2 Roast Beef is a great choice when you need to up your protein without adding too much fat into your diet. The gourmet sandwich comes with your choice of bread and thinly cut roast beef.

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Photo Courtesy: Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches

If you're trying to keep your carbohydrates very low, Jimmy John’s also offers the sandwich served "unwich" style, which kicks the bread in favor of a high protein, low carb option. Load up on all your favorite vegetables and get around 60% of your daily protein fix in one meal. Calories: 480, Total Fat: 6g, Carbohydrates: 73g, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 31g

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27. Burger King Grilled Chicken Sandwich

If you're on the go and craving a juicy burger, opt for Burger King's Grilled Chicken Sandwich instead to cut the fat and still leave you feeling satiated throughout the day. The grilled chicken breast is topped with lettuce and tomato and piled on one of BK's signature buns.

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Photo Courtesy: Wochit News/YouTube

With more than 60% of your daily protein intake, this sandwich won't leave you hungry. Although it’s a bit high in calories, the sandwich makes up for it by being low in sugar and fat. Skip the sauce for an extra boost to healthy eating. Calories: 430, Total Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 105mg, Sodium: 870mg, Carbohydrates: 43g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Protein: 40g

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26. A&W Chicken Buddy Burger

Another chicken "burger" that makes the list is the A&W Chicken Buddy Burger. It's perfect to enjoy as an on-the-go snack between meals, thanks to low calories and low sugar. Meeting 16% of your daily iron needs, it's a delicious option with a good dose of nutritional value.

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Photo Courtesy: A&W Canada

With just four simple ingredients — chicken patty, bun, mayonnaise and pickles — this fun-size burger is one of the better fast food menu options. It also doesn't hurt that A&W prides itself on using meats with no added hormones. Calories: 360, Total Fat: 19g, Carbohydrates: 36g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Sodium: 780mg

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25. Whataburger Apple and Cranberry Chicken Salad

The Apple and Cranberry Chicken Salad from Whataburger is jam-packed with nutrients. The low-calorie meal features romaine lettuce, cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, crispy apples and grilled chicken, topped with a light honey pepper vinaigrette.

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Photo Courtesy: Whataburger

With 44% of your daily fiber needs and double the necessary amount of vitamin A, this yummy salad is the perfect choice for an on-the-go lunch. It doesn't sacrifice flavor for health and gives you a good option for a tasty meal without hurting your waistline. Calories: 385, Total Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 110mg, Sodium: 780 mg, Carbohydrates: 38g, Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 25g, Protein: 33g, Vitamin A: 211%, Iron: 15%, Calcium: 34%

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24. Jack in the Box Grilled Chicken Salad

With flame-grilled chicken, grape tomatoes, cheddar cheese, cucumbers and carrots topped off with a low-fat balsamic dressing, the Grilled Chicken Salad at Jack in the Box is so simple, it's almost perfect.

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Photo Courtesy: Jack in the Box

The salad comes in at only 230 calories, contains very little sugar and has a ton of protein to keep those muscles powered. The meal is light, satisfying and low carb, saving you some workout time at the gym after indulging in fast food. Calories: 230, Total Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 590mg, Carbohydrates: 12g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 30g

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23. Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl

The second burrito bowl to make the list is Chipotle's Chicken Burrito Bowl. Without the tortilla wrap, this meal is a great selection when you don't have time to whip up dinner after a long, hard day at work.

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Photo Courtesy: Robert Williams/Flickr

At 470 calories, the bowl is full of good nutrients your body needs without giving it too many calories to burn. It's low in sugar and has 24% of your daily iron to help keep the oxygen traveling through your body with maximum efficiency. Calories: 470, Total Fat: 13g, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 37g, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 62%, Vitamin C: 88%, Calcium: 7%, Iron: 24%

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22. Starbucks Thai-Style Chicken Wrap Protein Box

Starbucks has obviously captured the hearts of coffee lovers everywhere, but it's also a pretty decent place to get a healthy meal when you're out and about. The Thai-Style Chicken Wrap Protein Box packs a good punch that won’t leave you sorry.

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Photo Courtesy: Starbucks

With only 10% of your daily intake of cholesterol and 14 grams of protein, the box offers a great way to eat well without feeling like you're consuming diet food. The flavorful wrap also has 14% of your daily fiber intake, so your intestines will thank you. Calories: 440, Total Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 30mg (10% RDA), Fiber: 4g (14% RDA), Sugar: 13g, Protein: 14g

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21. Subway Roast Beef and Provolone Sandwich

Subway has always claimed to be a healthier fast food option, and they aren’t entirely wrong (but proceed with caution). It depends on what you order, and the Subway Roast Beef and Provolone Sandwich is one of the better choices on the menu.

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Photo Courtesy: Subway

Although the bread renders it a bit high in carbs, the sandwich is low in calories at only 260 and offers around 25% of your daily protein needs in just one meal. The sugar content is also low, so if you're avoiding the sweet stuff, then this sandwich is for you. Calories: 260, Total Fat: 4g, Sodium: 680, Carbohydrates: 42g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 6g, Protein: 18g

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20. Sonic Drive-In Jr. Burger

When all you want to do is grab a burger, Sonic Drive-In has your back. The Jr. Burger is low in calories and sodium but also offers a lot in the way of flavor. The fat content is a little high, but that's to be expected if you want to indulge in a hamburger.

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Photo Courtesy: Sonic Drive-In

The 100% all-beef patty is topped with pickles and your choice of sauce. Although it’s small, it’s mighty. The burger contains 25% of your daily protein and isn't too high in carbs if you're trying to reduce them. Calories: 330, Total Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 480mg, Carbohydrates: 30g, Fiber 1g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 15g

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19. Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken

Nothing says healthy like some lean chicken, but you don't have to choose between a bland chicken breast and unhealthy fried chicken or breaded strips. The people at Boston Market have a solution to your fast food chicken dilemma that is full of nutritional value.

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Photo Courtesy: Boston Market

The Boston Market Rotisserie Chicken packs plenty of flavor and nutrition into an option that allows you to dine out quickly. With almost a full day’s worth of protein, this chicken is a perfect meal when you need food quickly without indulging in poor nutritional choices. Just be sure to choose your sides wisely to avoid ruining the healthiness of the meal. Calories: 500, Total Fat: 24g, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 70g

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18. Panera Bread Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken

Panera Bread prides itself on being more than just a fast food establishment. The assortment of salads, soups and sandwiches are a breath of fresh air in the fast food scene, and the Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken is a strong competitor for healthiest take-out meals.

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Photo Courtesy: Panera Bread

The salad offers 16% of your daily fiber needs and is so low in carbs that your body will immediately thank you for not loading up all in one meal. With around 40% of your protein need, it leaves you feeling full long after you finish the last bite. Calories: 410, Total Fat: 21g, Carbohydrates: 25g (8% RDA), Fiber: 4g (16% RDA), Protein: 32g

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17. Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Wrap

When you think of Wendy's, the last thing you think of is healthy food. The burger chain isn't exactly the most health-conscious choice in general, but that doesn't mean that everything on their menu is a no-go when you're trying to eat better.

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Photo Courtesy: Wendy's

The Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Wrap has only 300 calories, about 30% of your daily fiber needs and low sugar, so you won't have to worry about a 3 p.m. sugar crash after lunch. With 230 mg of potassium, the wrap offers a lot when it comes to a quick bite to eat. Calories: 300, Fiber: 2g, Protein: 20g, Total Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 720mg, Potassium: 230mg, Carbohydrates: 26g, Sugar: 5g

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16. McDonald’s Classic Cheeseburger

No one goes to McDonald's in hopes of getting a healthy lunch, but there's one on every corner, making it easy to stop in and grab a quick bite when you need it. Enter the McDonald's Classic Cheeseburger.

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Photo Courtesy: McDonald's

The small burger is only 300 calories and offers a moderate carb solution to your lunch or dinner needs at only 11% of your daily intake. It might seem like a greasy burger wouldn’t be the best choice, but it only has 18% of your daily fat intake and is low in sugar. Calories: 300, Total Fat: 12g, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 15g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Sodium: 680mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g

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15. McDonald’s Chicken McNugget Happy Meal

If burgers aren't your go-to fast food, then McDonald's also has other menu options to satisfy you without making you feel like you ruined your diet. Happy meals aren't just for kids anymore, and the Chicken McNugget Happy meal is a great example of that.

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Photo Courtesy: McDonald's

The four-piece nugget meal offers 35% of your daily intake of protein, contains a lot of vitamin C and gives you 35% of your calcium needs all in one sitting. Choose the apple slices as a side to up the health factor and get some much needed fruit in your diet. Calories: 395, Total Fat: 17.5g, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 18g, Sodium: 535g, Vitamin C: 170%, Calcium: 35%

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14. Starbucks Spinach Feta and Cage-Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap

Another menu item that Starbucks has to offer when it comes to healthy eating is the Spinach Feta and Cage-Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap. When you need a quick breakfast or lunch, this wrap will give you everything you need to start your day on a good foot.

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Photo Courtesy: Starbucks

With only 10% of your daily fat intake and 7% cholesterol, this wrap is sure to give your body what it needs without adding a lot of bad. It has 40% of your daily protein, 14% fiber and low sugar at only 5g. Calories: 280, Total Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 830mg, Carbohydrates: 34g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 20g

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13. Dunkin’ Donuts Veggie Egg White English Muffin

Dunkin' Donuts might be known for its unhealthy pastries, but that's not all the shop serves up. There are menu options for anyone on the go, and the Veggie Egg White English Muffin is the best one.

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Photo Courtesy: Dunkin' Donuts

The sandwich is full of protein and low in carbs and offers 14% of your daily fiber intake. Being low in sugar and high in vitamin C — 5 grams and 30%, respectively — this sandwich is one of the healthier options when it comes to a fast food breakfast. Calories: 240, Total Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 670mg, Carbohydrates: 25, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 14g, Vitamin C: 30%

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12. Starbucks Chocolate Cake Pop

For a sweeter healthy option, Starbucks' Chocolate Cake Pop is one of the better options out there. Its rich decadent chocolate and icing will satisfy any and all sugar cravings without being too bad for your waistline.

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Photo Courtesy: Starbucks

With only 10% of your daily fat intake, 9% of daily carbs and 5% cholesterol, it satisfies without bogging you down with too much bad stuff. It’s a bit high in sugar, at 18 grams per pop, but that's expected when it comes to anything sweet. Calories: 140, Total Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 75mg, Carbohydrates: 24g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g, Protein: 2g

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11. Arby’s Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad

Arby's and health food aren't exactly synonymous, but there are menu options you can choose if you're eating on the lighter side of things. The Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad, for example, is a good choice.

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Photo Courtesy: Arby's

The not-so-simple salad has roast turkey, pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, chopped tomatoes, lettuce greens and shredded iceberg and comes in at only 240 calories. It's a low carb and low sugar option and offers 25% of your daily protein with low fat content. Calories: 240, Total Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 940mg, Carbohydrates: 9g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 23g

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10. Pizza Hut Veggie Lover’s Thin Crust Pizza

Pizza doesn't always have to be bad for you. The Pizza Hut Veggie Lover's Thin Crust Pizza is one of the healthier versions available when you just can't deal with making dinner, and you love pizza.

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Photo Courtesy: Pizza Hut

One slice of this pizza contains 130 calories, and with barely any sugar, it's a perfect choice for family pizza night. The thin crust cuts the carbs down to less than 20% of your daily intake, and the vegetables on top provide some much-needed nutrients. Calories: 130, Carbohydrates: 16g, Total Fat: 5g, Sodium: 270mg, Sugar: 2g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 5g

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9. Starbucks Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal

If a nice bowl of oatmeal strikes your fancy, but you don't have time to do it yourself in the morning, then Starbucks has you covered with the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal. The meal in a bowl is only 220 calories but full of flavor.

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Photo Courtesy: Starbucks

The oatmeal gives you 18% of your dietary fiber needs and 10% of your protein. Considering it’s a bowl of oatmeal, those numbers are pretty good. It keeps carb intake reasonable as well as sodium, fat and cholesterol. Calories: 220, Total Fat: 2.5, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 125mg, Carbohydrates: 43g, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 5g, Sugar: 13g

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8. Burger King 4-piece Chicken Nuggets

Another wonderful menu option from Burger King is the 4-piece Chicken Nuggets. Chicken is always a healthier choice than beef, and Burger King took its fast food platform and made it easier for even the most health-conscious to enjoy.

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Photo Courtesy: Burger King

These chicken nuggets come in at only 170 calories and could be enjoyed as a meal or even a midday snack. With less than 10% of your daily carb intake, 9 grams of protein and 0 grams of sugar, this healthy option is perfect for anyone on a low-carb, low-sugar diet. Calories: 170, Protein: 9g, Carbohydrates: 9g, Sugar: 0g, Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 25mg

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7. Subway Veggie Delite

Another Subway selection that’s perfect for the health nut in everyone is the Veggie Delite. You have all the control in choosing which vegetables you want piled high on your favorite bread. With that kind of control over what you're eating, who wouldn't want to give it a try?

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Photo Courtesy: Subway

The sandwich comes in at only 200 calories without condiments and is low in fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. Calories: 200, Total Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 280mg, Carbohydrates: 39g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 9g, Vitamin A: 35%, Vitamin C: 15%, Iron: 15%

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6. Papa John’s Mediterranean Veggie Pizza

When you have pizza on your mind but don't want to share, Papa John's personal Mediterranean Veggie Pizza is the perfect option to keep your health in check while letting yourself enjoy the little things.

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Photo Courtesy: Papa John's

Although it doesn't have much in the way of protein, it does minimize your caloric intake, cholesterol intake and sugar intake. Containing less than 30% of your carbohydrate intake, it won’t leave you feeling bad about eating pizza if you get this option from Papa John's. Calories: 180, Total Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 460mg, Carbohydrates: 26g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 6g

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5. Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites

Eggs can be eaten at any time of day, and Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites prove that over and over again. The egg bites are full of protein and low in calories, giving you the option to enjoy them as a small meal or a snack throughout your busy day.

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Photo Courtesy: Starbucks

The egg bites give you 30% of your daily protein intake with only 2 grams of sugar. They only clock in at 5% of your daily carbs, so if you eat low carb, these are perfect for you. Calories: 230, Total Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 210mg, Sodium: 690mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 15g

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4. Panda Express Broccoli Beef

Panda Express has it all figured out when it comes to making fast food both delicious and healthy. The restaurant’s Broccoli Beef is proof of that, clocking in at only 150 calories per serving.

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Photo Courtesy: Panda Express

The delicious meal is made with marinated beef tossed in a wok with fresh broccoli florets and a light ginger sauce. It's low carb and low sugar and offers 10% of your daily protein and 15% of your daily fiber intake. Your taste buds will thank you! Calories: 150, Total Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 520mg, Carbohydrates: 13g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Protein: 9g

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3. Hardee's Low Carb Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

The Hardee's Low Carb Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich is a perfect choice for a fast, healthy snack. It looks and tastes like the most popular fast food chicken sandwich deals, but it's a way healthier option.

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Photo Courtesy: Hardees

At only 350 calories, the sandwich has almost 50% of your daily protein needs, 20% of your dietary fiber and a reasonable carb count. The fat content — 6 grams and 8% of your daily intake — is low enough to make this sandwich a go-to for your fast food craving needs. Calories: 350, Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 1210mg, Carbohydrates: 46g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 19g, Protein: 27g

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2. Taco Bell Beef Fresco Crunchy Taco

Unexpectedly, the Taco Bell Beef Fresco Crunchy Taco almost tops the list because of its flavor and healthy profile. The taco only contains 150 calories and a minimal 5% of your daily carb intake, making it low-carb friendly. It's also very low in sugar, cholesterol and sodium.

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Photo Courtesy: Taco Bell

With both vitamin C and vitamin A, this crunchy taco is where it's at when it comes to healthy fast food choices. Calories: 150, Total Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 310mg, Carbohydrates: 14g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 6g, Vitamin A: 10%, Vitamin C: 2%

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1. McDonald's Vanilla Soft-Serve Cone

Last but certainly not least is another dessert option. The McDonald's Vanilla Soft-Serve Cone is a perfect little snack if you don't want to ruin a day of healthy eating but can't fight your sweet cravings any longer.

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Photo Courtesy: McDonald's

The cone has only 240 calories and is low in fat. Although the sugar level is high at 30 grams, you also get 15% of your daily calcium needs, 6% of your vitamin A and 6 grams of protein with your treat. Calories: 240, Total Fat: 6g, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 6g, Sodium: 150mg, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 6%, Calcium: 15%

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