10 Low-Calorie Fast Food Items For Your Cheat Day Meal

If you’re on a diet or want to eat something healthy outside, you wouldn’t prefer eating a pizza or hamburger. But, wait! What if you could keep a curb your calorie count without upsetting your taste buds? Well, that’s actually possible! From McDonald’s to Starbucks and Papa John’s to many other favorite fast food restaurants of yours, you can find healthy lunch and breakfast options. 

But before we jump on to the low-calorie fast food items, you may want to know how does a fast food become healthy! So here’s a quick overview to help you understand that.

We all know that fast food items typically have a considerably high amount of calories and potentially harmful content in high amounts like sugar and sodium. So when we call fast food ‘healthy’ or ‘low-cal’, it has a suitable combination of macronutrients. It’s all about moderation and providing some benefits. Check out the key parameters below.

  • Low-calorie: 500 calories or less is generally considered acceptable for lunch.
  • Zero or negligible trans fat: Trans fats are unsaturated fats having bad cholesterol and are hazardous for the heart. Each of the items listed below contains zero or very low amount of trans fat.
  • Low sodium content: Less than 1,000 mg of sodium per meal is preferred. But if it is higher than that, people with high blood pressure should strictly avoid it.
  • Low sugar content: The meals mentioned here have less than 20 g of sugar.
  • Protein: It is necessary strengthening and recovery of muscles. The food items here have at least 10 g of protein (or even more).

So here are 10 low-calorie fast food meals you can try at your favorite fast food restaurant. And the good news is we have included options for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians! All of these contain less than 500 calories with enough protein and moderate fat, sugar, and sodium.

1. BK Veggie Burger from Burger King (310 calories)

Source = Bk

BK Veggie burger offered by Burger King is an exciting low-cal choice for vegetarians. The good thing about it is that, unlike many of its burgers that have high sodium and trans fats, this one doesn’t have them. And yes, pairing it with mayonnaise and fried options is a big no-no. But you can surely pair it with garden salad. 

Nutritional breakdown: 

22 g (25 g if you opt for cheese) of protein- a whopping amount to help strengthen your muscles 

7 g of fat- moderate

42 g of carbs (7 g fibre)- nearly 14% of recommended daily intake

900 mg of sodium- approx. half of recommended daily intake  (7.1)

2. Spinach & Feta Wrap from Starbucks (290 calories)

Source = Starbucks

Even though you may feel tempted to have delicious pastries or scones at Starbucks, but a low-cal Spinach & Feta Wrap is surely a healthier option. Rich in fiber and protein, this one has low saturated fat content in comparison to other breakfast sandwiches. As far as lunch goes, this wrap has a pretty low-calorie count and tastes great with plain greek yogurt or fresh fruit. 

Nutritional breakdown:

19 g of protein- a good amount to strengthen your muscles 

10 g of fat- moderate

33 g of carbs- quite high, consider replacing sugary or carb-heavy snacks with protein-rich ones

830 mg of sodium- little less than half of recommended daily intake (7.2)

3. Fresco Chicken(or Bean) Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell (340 calories)

Source = Tacobell

Taco Bell’s Fresco menu is all about cutting down calories and healthy offerings. Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme has calories on the lower side. Heavier sauces are replaced by pico de gallo which is combined with two low-cal ingredients: soft taco and shredded chicken. Pairing it with yogurt or a small salad or some fresh fruit can add to the taste. Fresco Bean Burrito is its vegetarian version with similar nutritional value. 

Nutritional breakdown:

19 g of protein- more than sufficient amount to help strengthen your muscles 

8 g of fat- moderate

49 g of carbs- approx. 16% of recommended daily intake

1060 mg of sodium- close to half of recommended daily intake   (7.3)

4. Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s (300 calories)

Source = Mcdonalds

McDonald’s serves breakfast all day long allowing you to have your healthy low-cal Egg McMuffin for lunch or dinner. Simply avoid American cheese to lower extra calories, sodium and saturated fat. You can also add apple slices to make it more fruitful. Fruit and yogurt parfait is McDonald’s popular healthy morning offering. 

Nutritional breakdown:

18 g of protein- one-third of the daily recommended value to help strengthen your muscles

12 g of fat- a bit high but that doesn’t make it a deal-breaker

29 g of carbs- on the lower side

730 mg of sodium- a little less than half of recommended daily intake   (7.4)

5. Shack-cago Dog from Shake Shack (380 calories)

Source = Flickr

Shack-cago dog is a toothsome veggie-heavy, Chicago-style flat top dog. Strangely, its standard dog is much healthier than its chicken version because of lower sodium content.

Nutritional breakdown:

16 g of protein- a good amount to strengthen your muscles

20 g of fat (10 g sat, 1 g trans)- quite high but that doesn’t make it a deal-breaker

33 g of carbs- on the lower side

1140 mg of sodium- 39% of recommended daily intake    (7.5)

6. Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap from Chick-Fil-A (350 calories)

Source = Chik-fil-a

Known as the “home of original chicken sandwich”, grilled chicken cool wrap is a healthy and calorie-friendly chicken wrap. They have fairly serving normal sizes so it’s easy to keep calories below 500. But sodium is the major concern as all salads, except 200-calorie Grilled Market Salad, have over 1000 mg sodium. You may like it even better with yogurt, a small salad or some fresh fruit.

Nutritional breakdown:

37 g of protein- a whopping amount for strengthening of your muscles

14 g of fat(5 g saturated, 0 g trans)- moderate

29 g of carbs (15 g fiber, 3 g sugar)- considerably low

960 mg of sodium- almost half of recommended daily intake   (7.6)

7. Apple & Cranberry salad from Whataburger (260 calories)

Source = Whataburger

Apple & Cranberry salad is an entree salad available in many tasty flavors and textures. To avoid unnecessary calories, prefer the one with low-fat herb vinaigrette dressing. It is also offered with grilled chicken but it’s best to go with herb vinaigrette dressing.

Nutritional breakdown:

10 g of protein- a good amount to strengthen your muscles

36 g of carbs- on the lower side

10 g of fat (6 sat, 0 trans)- moderate

200 mg of sodium- very low   (7.7)

8. Protein Style hamburger from In-N-Out (240 calories)

Source = In-n-out

Protein style hamburger becomes a calorie-friendly choice when the bun is replaced with lettuce. It does contain some amount of beef. Better have just water and avoid fries along with it to keep it under 500 calories.

Nutritional breakdown:

13 g of protein- a decent amount to strengthen your muscles

17 g of fat- bit on higher side

370 mg of sodium- nearly 15% of daily recommended intake

11 g of carbs- substantially low  (7.8)

9. Egg White Flatbread from Dunkin’ Donuts (280 calories)

Source = Dunkindonuts

Although Dunkin’ Donuts is a restaurant chain with forte in deep-fried dough, it does offer a couple of healthy breakfast choices such as Egg White Flatbread. Blood sugar and energy levels will be more stable as its carb content is on the lower side. 

Nutritional breakdown:

15 g of protein- a pretty good amount to strengthen your muscles 

9 g of fat- moderate

33 g of carbs- nearly 11% of recommended daily intake

690 mg of sodium- less than half of recommended daily intake

10. Garden Fresh Pizza from Papa John’s (200 calories for 1 medium-slice)

Source = Papajohns

One of the biggest challenge with pizza chains is high sodium content as research says it is bad for your heart. So if you’re a pizza lover, be careful about your salt intake for the rest of the day. Two medium slices of Garden Fresh Pizza will fulfill roughly half of your daily sodium allowance. 

Nutritional breakdown:

8 g of protein- a decent amount to strengthen your muscles 

7 g of fat- moderate

27 g of carbs- pretty high, avoid sugary or carb-heavy snacks and have protein-rich ones

490 mg of sodium- much less than half of recommended daily intake

PS: Make sure you don’t order something loaded with carbs, fats, sodium alongside any of these such as sugary drinks and fries. 

On a concluding note, these are just handpicked low calories fast food choices you may like to try if you’re looking for something healthy.

Happy munching folks!

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