But Really How Healthy Is Taco Bell
Bottom line: Taco Bell is still fast food and isnt as healthy as preparing a meal in the comfort of your own home.
A research review showed that eating fast food more than once a week could increase your risk of obesity. And bumping it up to 2 times a week could lead to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
The reasons behind fast food health risks is likely due to:
- Saturated fat.Saturated fat is typically found in animal foods such as meat, milk, and cheese. A research review showed that cutting back can help to reduce cardiovascular disease by 17 percent.
- Sugar. Sugars usually found in the desserts and drinks on a fast food menu. But sugar can sneak into entrees . According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a diet high in added sugars can lead to health conditions like as type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
- Sodium. A study found fast food entrees had a 4.6-percent increase in total sodium content in the last 30 years. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Low quality ingredients. Besides the fresh vegetables, Taco Bell ingredients tend to contain food additives and are highly processed to provide a tasty meal at a low cost.
Although too much fast food can negatively impact your health, cruising through the drive-thru every so often is totally fine in moderation. Live your live and eat the tacos .
Last medically reviewed on June 22, 2021
Asian Sesame Salad With Chicken
Whether you’re stopping by for lunch during your work break or grabbing a quick dinner, consider ordering the Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken the next time you’re at Panera. This flavorful meal features a bed of romaine lettuce, chicken, almonds, sesame seeds, wonton strips, cilantro and an Asian sesame vinaigrette. If you have a nut allergy, you can easily order the salad without almonds.
Nutrition for Asian Sesame Salad with Chicken: 410 calories, 22g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 70mg cholesterol, 800mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 7g total sugars, 27g protein
Highest Protein Mcdonalds Menu Item Under 500 Calories
Crispy Chicken Sandwich
470 Calories, 20g Fat, 46g Carbs, 26g Protein
You would expect that a fried chicken sandwich would have more protein, but when theres breading involved, you end up not getting a ton of white meat in there. Still, this is one of the better protein options at McDonalds!
In fact, if you order a McChicken, it contains 400 calories but only 14g of protein overall, so this is a much better option.
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Highest Protein Kfc Menu Item
650 Calories, 35g Fat, 49g Carbs, 34g Protein
Okay, technically this sandwich is the second-highest in protein, and the highest is actually the option listed below. However, I wanted to highlight the chicken sandwich here because it is one of the highest fried chicken sandwiches out there. Check out my full guide comparing all the popular chicken sandwiches to see how this one stacks up.
The Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants And The Not So Healthy
I know some people cringe at the thought of eating at a fast food restaurant, but for the majority of us, its simply a way of life.
While fast food tends to get a bad rap, I think the occasional fast food is fine as long as it fits your macros .
In fact, when it comes to eating out, it is a lot easier to track your macros and calories at fast food restaurants as opposed to mom and pop restaurants that are not required to post the calorie and nutritional information of the food they serve.
For those of us that do eat fast food, we are blessed with an abundant choice of restaurants, so we can at least choose to eat at fast food restaurants that have the healthiest ingredients as well as healthy options on their menus.
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Banana With Nut Butter
The sweet taste of bananas and the salty, nutty flavor of almond, peanut, or cashew butter makes an excellent snack combination.
Plus, pairing bananas with nut butter makes your snack more filling by bumping up protein and fiber.
Try slicing 1 small banana and topping the rounds with 2 tablespoons of almond butter for a filling snack that packs only 280 calories.
The Healthiest Fast Food Under $5
When you think of healthy restaurants, youre not going to think of places like KFC or McDonalds especially after 2020, when fast-food restaurants simplified their menus to cut costs during the pandemic.
RIP grilled chicken sandwiches.
Even when youre trying your best to stick to a calorie budget or follow the latest diet trend, the neon lights of your local fast-food joints will inevitably lure you in.
We asked registered dietitian Wendy Wesley for some tricks to keep your visits cheaper and guilt-free.
Her biggest advice? Avoid the sugary beverages and skip the value meals.
Youll save money if you dont get the value meal, Wesley said. They benefit the restaurants, not us. Just get the sandwich.
Its a lot easier to make healthier choices and a lot harder to stay under $5 at restaurants like Panera Bread and Chipotle, so weve focused on our fast-food guilty pleasures.
Side note: Any restaurants that didnt have pricing information available online we sourced from websites like www.fastfoodmenuprices.com.
Soft or Crunchy Taco $1.69
Chicken Chipotle Melt $1.49
Taco Bell is one of the easiest restaurants to stay relatively healthy and on a budget, especially if you keep it simple.
Stay away from five-layer anything and avoid chips, Wesley said.
Your basic soft taco is only 180 calories, 9 grams of fat and 500 milligrams of sodium.
Prefer crunchy tacos? Youll save on sodium. One crunchy taco is 170 calories, 10 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium.
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Just Because You’re Out And About Doesn’t Mean You Have To Settle For A Calorie Bomb Try These Healthy Fast
There are more healthy fast-food options than ever before. When it comes to fast food, thankfully, there has been a growing demand for healthier choices and an improved response on the part of fast-food chains, says board-certified physician Richard Han of JustAnswer.com.
So what is the healthiest fast food? We found crunchy salads, juicy chicken and even burgers that fit into your healthy eating plan.
Starbucks Turkey Bacon Cheddar And Egg White Sandwich
Finding low fat options at fast-food restaurants can be a challenge, but conveniently, this breakfast sandwich matches the criteria. Its even low in calories.
Also, Starbucks typically offers fresh fruit and yogurt items if youd like to bulk this meal up while keeping it low fat. One sandwich contains :
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How Do You Eat Healthy When You Can Only Eat Out
Eating healthy when you can only eat out can be tricky, but there are several things you can do to make sure youre making healthy choices. First and foremost, try to opt for restaurants that specialize in healthy and natural food options.
These restaurants are typically full of nutritious, whole-foods that are minimally processed and free from artificial sweeteners and colors.
When youre at a restaurant that doesnt offer such healthy options, there are still a few ways you can ensure youre making the best choices. Avoid fried and high-fat menu items, such as french fries and fried chicken, and opt for grilled or baked options instead.
Choose entrees that are boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted, as these dont require the addition of extra fat during the cooking process. Salads are also a great option. Youll want to watch out for items that are high in calories, such as fried meats or croutons, so that you get all the nutritional benefits without the extra fat and calories.
Finally, limit high-calorie sauces and dressings that can be added to your entree. Ask for any sauces, dressings, and gravies to be served on the side, so that you can control how much you add. Overall, simply being mindful of what youre ordering and the nutritional value of the items you choose can help you make healthy decisions when eating out.
Nandos: Grilled Chicken Burger
Calories: 438 | Saturated fat: 2.2g
Grilled meat is usually healthier than fried or deep-fried meat and Nandos has a range of grilled options. Its Grilled Chicken Burger contains PERI-PERI-infused chicken breast grilled with a spice of your choice plus lemon & herb mayo, lettuce, tomato, and PERI ketchup. All in a Portuguese Roll for under 450 calories. Eat alongside a large mixed salad of four types of leaves, baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, and dressing, and your protein-rich lunch will come to just 465 cals and 2.3g saturated fat.
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Nando’s: Grilled Chicken Burger
Calories: 438 | Saturated fat: 2.2g
Grilled meat is usually healthier than fried or deep-fried meat and Nando’s has a range of grilled options. Its Grilled Chicken Burger contains PERI-PERI-infused chicken breast grilled with a spice of your choice plus lemon & herb mayo, lettuce, tomato, and PERI ketchup. All in a Portuguese Roll for under 450 calories. Eat alongside a large mixed salad of four types of leaves, baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, and dressing, and your protein-rich lunch will come to just 465 cals and 2.3g saturated fat.
Taco Bells Steak Burrito Supreme
Just like the other low-fat option from Taco Bell, this meal has a healthy blend of nutrients that is perfect for you if youre on a diet. Its fat composition is just 8 grams, while its cholesterol content is near inexistent with just 20mg.
Its protein content is, however, low compared to the other options on this list. It is, however, adequate enough to satisfy you protein needs.
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Taco Bell Bean Burrito
You may find this surprising, but Taco Bell does actually have some of the healthiest line-ups of fast food meals in the industry. If youre actually trying to avoid fatty foods, though, the best option for you is its fresco style bean burrito.
This meal has low-fat content with a value of about 7 grams, which is just adequate for you. It also has no cholesterol and its carb concentration is pretty much low. Combined with its rich protein content, this delicious meal contains everything you require in a healthy meal.
Calories: Dominos Chicken Caesar Salad
This global pizza chain is hard pressed for healthy options and thats why we love it. But, if you do want a lighter choice, pick the three pieces of Boneless Chicken or the Chicken Caesar Salad . Otherwise, customise a small 10-inch thin pizza with marinara, ham, green peppers, mushrooms and onions , for 560 calories.
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Healthy Fast Food Breakfasts Under 360 Calories
We’ve all heard it: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to research discussed in Zero Belly Breakfasts, people who nosh close to waking up actually eat 12 percent healthier later on in the day. But, unless you’re one of the few blessed with the early riser gene, mornings are typically the most stressful time of day, too. This makes it way too easy to grab whatever is quickest and most convenient, without thinking what’s inside and how it might affect your diet.
While fast food chains won’t be offering you the healthiest options on earth, plenty of places are making the healthy fast food breakfast classicsand many even fall under 300 calories! New staples are showing up to accompany egg and cheese with healthy ingredients like chicken and [chia seeds making appearances. Read on to see what your favorite chain’s low-calorie option isit might surprise you! These quick-service establishments aren’t just offering better breakfasts. Next up: low-calorie restaurant meals under 500 calories.
Chipotle: Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
With plenty of light options like roasted veggies and hearty brown rice, you can put together a healthy Chipotle order in seconds. The vegetarian burrito bowl clocks in at 470 calories, 16 grams of fat and 1,595 milligrams of sodium. To cut back on the sodium, try recreating your favorite meals with these Chipotle copycat recipes.
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Whats Healthy Out Of Chinese
Healthy options from Chinese cuisine include dishes made with fresh vegetables, lean protein such as chicken or shrimp, and light sauces like freshly grated ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Popular salads, steamed dishes, dim sum, and spring rolls are also nutritious.
Substituting white rice or noodles with brown or quinoa is a great way to add more fiber, vitamins, and minerals to your meal. Consider opting for dishes with tofu, fresh vegetables, and lean poultry without any fried options to help you keep up with your goals of a healthy lifestyle.
Parmesan Caesar Salad Without Dressing
A Caesar salad is a classic choice at any restaurant, and the Wendy’s version features grilled chicken breast, Parmesan crisps and a three-cheese blend atop crispy romaine lettuce. Skip the dressing, which saves 140 calories and 320 milligrams of sodium. The grilled chicken breast adds a boost of protein, and will help keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Nutrition for Parmesan Caesar Salad without dressing: 300 calories, 14g total fat, 7g saturated fat, 125mg cholesterol, 790mg sodium, 5g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 2g total sugars, 41g protein
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Apple Slices With Natural Peanut Butter
Though apples are a filling and healthy choice on their own, pairing them with natural peanut butter is an even better option.
Peanut butter is packed with protein, the most filling of the three macronutrients protein, carbs, and fat. In fact, research shows that adding peanut butter to your diet can help reduce hunger and maintain a healthy body weight .
Be sure to choose natural peanut butter that only contains peanuts and salt on the ingredient list and use the recommended serving size of 2 tablespoons to avoid excess calorie consumption.
A small apple served with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has around 267 calories.
Jimmy John’s Turkey Tom
What I order: Turkey Tom on nine-grain wheat bread with extra lettuce, tomato, cucumber, hot peppers, EZ mayo, mustard and oregano
- Turkey Tom on Wheat : 610 calories 2.5 grams saturated fat 25 grams total fat 31 grams protein 62 grams total carbs 5 grams fiber 10 grams sugars 1,080 milligrams sodium
This is a pretty simple sandwich with mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato. I always add extra vegetables to make it more nutritious.
I also replace the regular white bread with Jimmy John’s nine-grain wheat bread. While the wheat bread is slightly higher in calories, the extra fiber keeps me full longer. Add guacamole or olive oil for healthy fats.
*New York City prices, according to the restaurants’ websites at time of publication.
Samar Kullab is a Chicago-based dietitian and nutritionist. Follow her on TikTok and .
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Mcdonalds Grilled Snack Wrap With Honey Mustard
Youre probably wondering: what the hell is McDonalds doing in the same article as low-fat meal? Well, it will surprise you that even the infamous Mickey Ds does have some meals on its menu that have low-fat content and arent unhealthy.
One meal on its menu that is generating lots of marketing buzz due to its presumable healthy composition is the grilled snack wrap with honey mustard. With fat content of just 8 grams and cholesterol concentration of 45mg, it is difficult to find a health-related flaw in this meal.
Arbys Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich
Arbys is quite renowned for having lots of low-fat fast food options in its menu. One meal you must try if you have an inclination to low-fat foods is its grilled chicken cordon bleu sandwich. Packed with about 390 calories, this tasty snacks fat content is a meager 8 grams, which is definitely ideal for your health.The sandwich does also contain 2 grams of saturated fat but that shouldnt be an issue with the overall fat content. You should note, though, that adding mayo to the sandwich greatly increases its fat content so it is advisable to consume the meal without mayonnaise.
It does also have low cholesterol with a meager 25mg not enough to pose a health risk. Its carbs and protein content are quite substantial, though, so it is an ideal meal if youre trying to lose weight but still need energy.
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Panera Bread’s Panera Duets
What I order: Half order of Napa almond chicken salad sandwich and a cup of 10-vegetable soup
- Napa Almond Chicken Salad – Half : 320 calories 2 grams saturated fat 13 grams total fat 13 grams protein 39 grams total carbs 2 grams fiber 6 grams sugars 520 milligrams sodium
- 10-Vegetable Soup – Cup : 60 calories 0 grams saturated fat 1 grams total fat 3 grams protein 10 grams total carbs 3 grams fiber 4 grams sugars 730 milligrams sodium
This sandwich features chickens raised without antibiotics, diced celery, seedless red grapes, almonds, tomatoes and salad on fresh-baked bread.
The vegetable soup is low in calories and high in nutrients, so if you’re a volume eater, you can make it a bowl instead of a cup.
Highest Protein Burger King Menu Item
Triple Whopper With Cheese
1,400 Calories, 95g Fat, 59g Carbs, 82g Protein
Burger Kings website is all over the place with its nutrition facts, so my Burger King Nutrition Guide seems like its changing by the day. However, it seems that they finally updated the nutrition facts to be accurate so we can finally tell where the most protein can be found.
The triple Whopper with cheese is the most protein youll find at Burger King with a whopping 82g of protein! To be fair, that comes with 1,400 calories, which is quite high, but technically speaking, it is the highest protein item.
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