No, you didn’t read that title wrong: there are actually lots of fast foods under 400 calories, and some of them are actually — gasp — healthy! If you’re dieting or just want to eat a little healthier, keep reading… here are 10 fast food favorites under 400 calories that you can enjoy now and then…
1. McDonald’s Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Donkey from Shrek was right: everybody loves parfait! And since now you know McDonalds’ fruit and yogurt parfait contains only 150 calories, why not indulge once in a while? You’ll get a lot of calories from sugar, yes… but you’ll also get a little protein and calcium from the yogurt as well as some antioxidants and vitamin C from the berries.
2. McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
This breakfast treat is actually available all day long, and it’s delicious… and if you want to cut out even more calories, ask for the oatmeal without the cream, and ask for 2% milk instead. This is my very favorite fast food under 400 calories, one I can eat without any guilt at all!
3. McDonald’s Premium Southwest Salad
Yum, salad! This fast food under 400 calories will give you almost 300 calories, but very few of them are from fat, as long as you order it with grilled chicken (not fried) and without dressing. Then, nearly all of the calories are from lean, healthy protein and healthy carbs, like fiber from the greens. Can you think of a better fast food lunch?
4. McDonald’s Vanilla Cone
This is the ideal fast food under 400 calories when you’re craving a sweet treat. Order it without the cone and save even more calories… sure, this is only the snack size or kiddie size cone, but it’ll be just enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, without a lot of calories.
5. McDonald’s Premium Chicken Sandwich
Fast food is popular because it’s so convenient, especially for lunch or dinner. Order the Classic chicken sandwich with grilled chicken, and order it without mayo to delete a few more calories. If you can’t resist, you can actually add about 30 calories to add… wait for it… bacon!
6. McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
This is the quintessential fast food breakfast, and it’s loaded with protein, so don’t feel terribly guilty about indulging in this fast food under 400 calories once in a while. Order it without cheese if you want to shave off a few extra calories.
7. McDonald’s 6 Piece Chicken McNuggets
I was actually surprised to see chicken nuggets had so MANY calories… then I remembered they’re breaded and fried, so it makes sense… but they’re not as calorie-packed as they could be, considering. I am in no way suggesting this is a healthy lunch or snack, but it could be a lot worse, and sometimes, they’re ideal for conquering a craving for something savory.
8. McDonald’s Hash Browns
I know, I know. Almost every calorie in these hash browns comes from fat… but oh my goodness, there are few things in this world as delicious as McDonald’s hash browns… and though they aren’t healthy, not by a long shot, they’re not nearly as calorie-packed as a small order of fries, at 230 calories.
9. McDonald’s Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie
The McDonald’s real fruit smoothie is one of my favorite fast foods under 400 calories because it’s so tasty! I love having one after a workout… the medium size is just enough to refuel me, and even fill me up. Did I mention how tasty it is? And that it contains real fruit, not just fruit flavoring?
10. McDonald’s Side Salad
Nope, that’s not a typo: the McDonald’s side salad, minus dressing, contains only 20 calories, and most of those are from healthy carbs, like fiber. A much better choice than fries, right? Still feeling munch-y? Try a serving of sliced apples for a mere 15 calories, too.
(Editor's note: to avoid sounding like a commercial for McDonald's, we've added a few choices from other fast-food restaurants too... here they are...)
11. Wendy's Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
Speaking of salads, this tasty, leafy little meal is an ideal lunch! It's the half-order, without the blue cheese crumbles, but with the chicken and the pomegranate vinaigrette dressing. Desperate for those missing cheese crumbles? Add them back in for an extra 50 calories... and you're still under 400 calories!
12. Taco Bell Fresco Chicken Soft Taco
I have a weakness for Taco Bell, so I was delighted when they created their "fresco" menu, a whole list of options that are, relatively speaking, lower in calories and much fresher and healthier. This chicken soft taco is one of my favorites... next time you make a late-night run for the border, try it!
13. Burger King Veggie Burger
Though of course Burger King is most famous for its Whopper, they also serve a very good veggie burger, and if you order it without the mayo (ick!) and cheese, it only has 320 calories. If you can't eat a faux burger without cheese, then add it, but be sure to add the extra 40 calories, bringing the new calorie total to 360. Still under 400!
14. Burger King Strawberry Banana Smoothie
I love the taste and texture of this real-fruit smoothie, and the 12 ounce size only contains 200 calories! It's the perfect occasional mid-day snack; not something to have every day but something to treat yourself to once in a while, especially during summer. Yum!
With so many fast foods under 400 calories, there’s really no reason you can’t indulge once in a while… remember, fast food isn’t ideal for daily consumption, but if you know what to order when you’re in a rush, you certainly won’t risk wrecking your diet. Which of these fast foods were you surprised had so few calories? Which will you treat yourself to every now and then? Do tell!
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