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How to pick healthy food at fast-food chains

September 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
When we think of healthy meals, fast food isn't the first thing that comes to mind, but the truth is, many of us do drive-through, so it's good to know which menu items might be blue-ribbon worthy.Beyond outstanding oatmeal, the English muffin breakfast sandwich with reduced fat turkey bacon and egg whites from Starbucks is high in flavor and low in calories and fat. It weighs in at only 320 calories.

The Egg Muffin Melt on Subway's breakfast menu is another option. Like their "Fresh Fit" options, it has only six grams of fat and comes in at 170 calories.

If it's tough to wake up to protein, Panera's strawberry-granola parfait won't weigh you down - 310 calories and 11 grams of fat.

At Panda Express, choose a two-entrée plate with mixed veggies, broccoli beef and mushroom chicken. The meal isn't just rich in selenium and vitamin C, it's also rich in taste. But no surprise, it does come with a hefty dose of sodium at 1200 milligrams.

Wahoo's charbroiled fish tacos are a much lower salt choice - 470 calories for two, 650 milligrams of sodium.

Chipotle allows you to have it your way, so go with the barbacoa bowl with veggies, lettuce and guacamole. Barbacoa is a low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein meat. Opting for guacamole instead of sour cream or cheese gives you some heart-healthy fats. Liven up your plate with a medley of salsas for about 370 calories.

Pizza fans, try two slices of a Pizza Hut Thin 'N Crispy topped with pineapples and ham -360 calories. The pineapple contains enzymes that aid in digestion, while the ham is a lower fat alternative to high fat pepperoni.

Almost all the websites for the fast-food chains have nutrition information, so there's no excuses if you want to know before you go.

You can also check out great choices at healthydiningfinder.com. It has the nutrition facts on over 60,000 restaurants coast to coast.

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