Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Light Meals at Fast Food Restaurants

Updated with El Pollo Loco! See below.

Like many of you busy folk, I tend to eat many of my meals while at the office or running around town, so it makes it difficult sometimes to find something light and healthy, quick, and hopefully cheap! I've managed to figure out what the best choices are for me at many of the fast-food chains around here। Seriously, I eat these all the time, so I didn't just scour the online menus and regurgitate them to you। These are tried and true. The only issue here is most of these choices contain chicken, so if you are a vegetarian, you probably wont get much out of this post, sorry!

El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco makes my favorite chicken in town. If you check out their Nutrition Guide by clicking on the link above, there are actually many good options, including those listed in the Lean for Life and Healthier Choices sections. This meal is my favorite:

1 Chicken Breast with Skin, 1 Garden Salad, and 1/2 pack of Creamy Cilantro dressing (not the light stuff.. it's gross)
370 Calories

Lately, I am ALL about the 5-dollar foot long. These babies tickle my cheap bone and my diet bone at the same time. One of these and you are pretty much set for food for the rest of the day (1/2 for lunch.. 1/2 for dinner : ).

While there are some great 6" subs with low calories such as the turkey, sweet-onion chicken teryiaki, and the subway club, I have been opting for the black-forest ham and the oven-roasted chicken breast because those are in the $5 foot-long category. Just skip the cheese and get one of the fat free sauces or mustard and you are good to go. I also get honey-wheat bread .. I hope there is whole-grain in there.

  • 1/2 black forest ham foot-long sub (no cheese)
    290 Calories
  • 1/2 oven roasted chicken foot-long sub (no cheese)
    310 Calories


  • Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with NO mayo, with added Chipotle BBQ Sauce
    400 Calories
    This is my favorite meal here, and I get this every Tuesday and eat it while driving through mid-city LA. McDonald's grilled chicken is awesome, and it really puts BK's to shame. This sandwich is very big and filling.
  • Grilled Chicken Snack Wraps
    260-270 Calories
    They come in Ranch, Chipotle BBQ (my fave), and Honey Mustard
  • Hamburger/Cheeseburger
  • Ice Cream Cone
    150 Calories
  • Apple Dippers with Caramel Sauce
    105 Calories


  • Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Light Ranch dressing
    340 Calories
  • Side Caesar Salad with 1/2 packet of Caesar Dressing
    200 Calories
  • Small Chili
    227 Calories
  • Grilled Chicken Go Wrap
    260 Calories
  • Junior Hamburger/Cheeseburger
    230/270 Calories

Baja Fresh

  • Tacos!! There are many different varieties but most are about 250 calories or less each.
    I usually get 2 Mahi Mahi tacos.. they come with avocado inside : )
    The rest of the menu should pretty much be avoided.. even the Tostadas are crazy caloric.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell has a great new Fresco Menu, so I pretty much focus on that. I usually get two tacos or a taco and a burrito. Some of my favorites including beans from the regular menu:

  • Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco
    160 Calories
  • Fresco Chicken Burrito Supreme
    330 Calories
  • Pintos and Cheese
    150 Calories

La Salsa

Tacos La Salsa w no chips, beans or rice
About 250 calories each for chicken, steak, or carnitas
I always get two at a time and load up on tons of salsa from the salsa bar.. I still count it as 500 calories total. veggies are free, right?

Jack in the Box

  • Chicken Fajita Pita
    300 Calories
  • Grilled Chicken Strips (4)
    180 Calories
    Get 'em with a dipping sauce for a few more cals. I use half a BBQ sauce and count it as 200 cals total.


Juliet said...

This list (and the candid commentary) is awesome! Thank you for sharing. :)