My family and I recently traveled across the country driving to our Spring break destination (Michigan to Florida) and we sometimes spent 10 hours in the car. I was very well prepared 🙄 and packed several healthy snacks and drinks, but when you’re traveling for days (6 total), there are only so many meals you can bring along in a cooler. In order to save precious time on the road, we had no choice but to eat at many non healthy drive-thru fast food restaurants. Sometimes that’s all you see in sight, ya know? Lots of fried chicken, and french fries. Yuck. I had just lost eight pounds by cutting calories (here’s some great recipes) and there was no way I was going to gain it all back in 10 days time, which honestly wouldn’t be hard for me to do if I ate that stuff. I’m 47 so weight goes back on quick, and comes off slow. So, while I was sitting in the car being the back seat driver I tend to be, I decided to give my husband a break, and do a little research on what better choices I had when dining at these fast food chains. I’m not talking just salads either. I wanted real food. What could I eat that would be satisfying, but wouldn’t pack the pounds back on? Hmmm.
Below you will find my favorite healthy drive-thru fast food meals which may or may not be low carb, but are definitely low calorie. For the record, when I arrived home I stepped on the scale, and it was exactly the same as when I departed. Woohoo! Mission accomplished. Now that I’m home, I will still use these tips and add in the exercise so I can reach my goal.
Egg Mc Muffin …300 calories
Hamburger (add lettuce & tomato)…250 calories
Both selections above are loaded with protein, so you will feel full longer. I’ve always wondered why Mc Donald’s doesn’t serve tomato & lettuce on their regular hamburger. Now was my chance to try it, and it makes them feel larger, thus more satisfying.
Large Chili …270 calories
5 Piece Chicken Nuggets with Garden Salad (Light Ranch Dressing)…300 calories
Wendy’s chili is very good. It’s also packed with beans so you’re getting the protein & fiber from that. Here’s a tip…open up your salad and throw in the nuggets and dressing, close the lid and shake it up. Open it and it’s ready to eat with a fork easily in the car.
2 Soft Chicken Tacos (Fresco Style) …280 calories
I love Taco Bell. Period. It’s definitely one of the places I rather eat due to the fresh toppings and non-fried crap. Remember to order your taco “fresco style” which means no cheese or sour cream, but you do get pico de gallo. Trust me, their chicken tacos are still so good. 2 is very filling. 3 would be too much for me.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
Grilled Chicken Breast with side of Green Beans…205 calories
Okay, add a biscuit for 180 extra calories if desired.
Unfortunately, some Kentucky Fried Chicken’s are discontinuing their grilled chicken. I find this to be such a shame because it is very very good. Don’t give up yet, though. My local KFC still serves it. You may be surprised how satisfying a grilled chicken breast and green beans are, but they really fill me up. Sometimes I dip the chicken in a little BBQ sauce. No biggy. I prefer to skip the biscuit, but I have been known to eat it in one bite 😆
Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon Egg Sandwich…230 calories
Protein Bistro Box…380 calories
Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher (cold) – Venti…100 calories
Skinny Vanilla Latte (hot) -Tall…100 calories
Dear Starbuck’s. I love you. The end. No, honestly, Starbuck’s has become one of my favorite fast food joints. The egg sandwich mentioned above is kick-ass. I could eat it every morning. I actually pair it with an Earl Grey, but when I’m in the mood for something cold the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is AMAZING. It contains caffein and berries and just makes me feel more alive in the mid-afternoon. The Bistro Box is great to split with someone for a mid-afternoon snack. We have actually split it between 3 of us, and it gets us over the hunger hump. The muesli biscuit in it looks weird, but it’s very yummy.
HERE’S MORE HEALTHY EATING TIPS YOU MAY NOT KNOW FROM OTHER POPULAR RESTAURANTS NOT LISTED ABOVE:
~Olive Garden: Did you know that you can order a grilled chicken breast for around $3 and add it to the salad for really healthy meal? I just realized this, and their chicken is very good.
~Waffle House: When we went to Waffle House on our trip I ordered 2 scrambled eggs with dry wheat toast (you get 2 pieces) and it filled me up pretty good.
~Panera Bread: Panera bread lists their calories on the menu which makes it so helpful to stay on track. I use to get their Asian Chicken Salad, but since they took it away, I now just go simple with a bowl of chicken noodle soup and 1 baguette.
~Burger King: Burger King’s hamburger is grilled so it has fewer calories than Mc Donald’s hamburger. It comes in at 230 calories and when you add lettuce & tomato it will be just enough to keep you satisfied.
Before I go, if you’re searching for low calorie/low carb recipes that you can make at home, I have an entire section dedicated to it! Just click here: LOW CALORIE & LOW CARB RECIPES.food, healthy Posted by
Thanks, I need to know about these fast food ideas.. I am so trying to lose a little weight, but often times I am on out on the run and it is so tempting to grab the wrong things.
I totally agree, Marty! Way too easy. These choices don’t make it so bad. Even adding cheese to the burgers would work, too.
What a wonderful and much needed post! Thank you!
Thank you, Jackie! Have a winderful weekend!
I forgot to mention that you look great too! Congratulations on your weight loss!
Thanks for this fast food info Julie! ~ I hope you & the family have a wonderful & relaxing holiday weekend!
Much Love ….. ; ) becky from California
Happy Easter, Becky!?
Thanks so much for those great tips. My husband is dieting and has lost 15 lbs. He usually packs a lunch but on those times he forgets, what’s he to do but look for fast food. ARGHH.
Congratulations on your success with your weight loss and your continued success.
Have a wonderful Easter holiday:-)
I hear you, Ann! My husband is on a very strict diet for cholesterol and he will usually get the grilled chicken sandwich at these places. It’s okay for him because he can handle more calories than me and still lose or maintain.
Thanks for posting something ‘a bit different’ to help me get motivated!!! I’ve got lots to lose, and your ideas were really helpful–Congrats to you on your loss! Keep up the good work…. <3
Thank you, Cindy! It can be so hard with all the temptations out there. Hoping to add more tips soon. XO -Julie
Thanks so much for the heads up on how to make it work and still stop at the all to grabbing fast food places .What a great article.
Hi Bess! So happy to hear that you can use these tips. They really do work for me, too. Have a wonderful Saturday!
Splendid Saturday! Very awesome! Thanks for sharing!!
Thanks gor stopping by, Kathy! ?
Thank You for the heads up for Fast Food eating ‘on the road’ !!
We also like Subway.
HAPPy SprInG !! HAPpY EaSTeR !!
Linda of No.Cal.
Thank you, Linda!
Thanks for the info. I’m on a Diabetic Diet so Carbs are a no-no for me, but gosh I crave drive-thru every so often. This is wonderful information. Thanks!
You’re welcome, Amy ?
Thanks again for such wonderful post. I need to know this information because my family often having to run through drive thur. It’s ways good to know how many calls in these fast foot places we so often visit.
Where can I find your Appetizer Tree?
Thanks, c j
Here you go CJ https://redheadcandecorate.com/2014/12/appetizer-tree/
You look great! Terrific post with helpful information .