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The Cheapest, Healthiest Fast-Food Chains for Weary Travelers

fast food

Fast-food chains are the cheapest, quickest way to eat, especially if you are traveling. But finding healthy options for you and your family can be a challenge.

A good fast-food chain will have healthy options, be quick about getting you your food, and have friendly customer service. This article lists the cheapest and healthiest fast-food chains for weary travelers and some healthy options at each.


  1. Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad. This salad is light and delicious, with roasted turkey and diced bacon, and has only 240 calories.
  2. Prime-cut Chicken Tenders (3). Arby’s chicken tenders have 23 grams of protein.

Burger King

  1. Whopper Jr. with no mayo. Getting a smaller burger and ordering it with no mayo can help cut calories. This sandwich has 13 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbohtdrates, and 10 grams of fat.
  2. Grilled Chicken Sandwich with no mayo. The grilled chicken sandwich can also be a healthier option, especially when ordered without mayonnaise.

Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s

  1. All-natural Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich. This sandwich is one of the healthier options available at Hardee’s, with 33 grams of protein and 370 calories total.
  2. Garden Side Salad with low-fat balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Ordering a salad does not always guarantee a healthy meal, but ordering a side salad with a healthy dressing option can help you cut calories and get in a serving of vegetables.


  1. Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap. This wrap has fewer carbs than a sandwich and contains lettuce, shredded cabbage, and carrots wrapped in flaxseed flour flatbread.
  2. Egg White Chicken Grill. This option has 25 grams of protein and is only 300 calories.


  1. Burrito Bowl with Fajita Steak and Pinto Beans. Adding salsa and veggies to this bowl will give you the nutrients and protein you need. Remember to say no to added rice and sour cream!

Dunkin’ Donuts

  1. Wake-up Wrap. The Wake-up Wrap contains ham, egg, and cheese and has less sodium and fat than other breakfast spots.

In-N-Out Burger

  1. Protein Style Hamburger. This burger comes as a lettuce wrap, making it a low-carb option compared to a standard hamburger. Similarly, the Double-Double Protein Style hamburger is served as a lettuce wrap.

Jack in the Box

  1. Grilled Chicken Salad. This salad comes with sliced chicken, cheese, tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. Order this salad with low-fat balsamic dressing for a healthy option.


  1. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Thigh. Grilled chicken will always be a healthier option than fried chicken and has half as many calories.

Panda Express

  1. Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Super Greens. This combination is the healthiest option at Panda Express. With the Super Greens, you get a mix of broccoli, kale, and cabbage. And the grilled chicken contains 36 grams of protein.


  1. Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken. For a healthy option at Panera, try the Fuji Apple Salad with white balsamic vinaigrette.


  1. Grilled Chicken Wrap. While other options at Sonic have fewer calories, this wrap contains more fiber and protein than other options. Pair this with a small order of fries or onion rings rather than medium or large.


  1. Roast Beef Sandwich. Any six-inch sub on whole wheat bread, even without dressing, will be at least 500 calories. One of the healthier options is the roast beef sandwich. Order it with extra veggies and avoid sauce and dressing.

Taco Bell

  1. Crunchy Taco Fresco Style. A crunchy taco has less sodium than a soft. Beef tacos at Taco Bell are only 170 calories.


  1. Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. This salad comes with fruit and nuts, but the full order of this salad can be high in calories.

Eating fast food doesn’t have to ruin your healthy eating goals. There are healthier options available than jumbo-sized burgers, fries, and soda. If you are looking for healthy options for yourself or your family, the options in this article make good meal choices. Read Eat This, Not That!.

Fast food is an inexpensive and convenient way to eat tasty food on the go. For weary travelers, this is the only option. If you are looking to eat healthily, remember to order smaller burgers and sandwiches, avoid high-calorie sauces and dressings, order salads and lettuce wraps, and avoid soda and other sugary drinks.

Image by Erik Mclean

Post Author: Lillia Hall

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June 2024