May 25, 2022

Healthy Restaurant Swaps: How to Order Out and Not Blow Your Nutrition

Young woman eating a fast food cheeseburger and soda while driving in her car.

One of the problems with committing to eating healthier is that people often make it an all-or-nothing proposition. Either they’re going to keep eating like they always have or they’re going to eat none of their favorites. 

A better way to start moving toward a healthier weight is to allow yourself to go to the restaurants you enjoy but to make changes in what you order. And this doesn’t mean only choosing the salad options — although they tend to be delicious! 

Weight management is about moderation and consistency. When dining out, if you consistently choose an entree that, for example, has 20% fewer calories than the ones you typically order, you will start to make encouraging progress toward your goal. 

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One of the keys to healthier eating is to take a closer look at the menus at your favorite restaurants and pay attention to the nutritional content in various items. Menu items are subject to change, of course, but below are recommendations for ways to save some calories at popular chain restaurants. 

  • McDonald’s — Classic Cheeseburger. The smaller size (and 300 calories) of this sandwich makes it a better choice than the many larger options. 
  • Panera Bread — Half a Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken. This tasty, satisfying salad comes in at 280 calories if you choose the half-size version.
  • Wendy’s — Half an Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. Packed with flavorful ingredients, this salad will make your mouth and your waistline happy. Take half of it home or split it with a friend for 340 calories.
  • Chick-fil-A — Cool Wrap. This is a great high-protein, high-fiber entree option at 470 calories.
  • Taco Bell — Two Crunchy Tacos Fresco Style. Crunchy shells have less sodium, and two of these tacos with veggies and salsa on top total just 340 calories. 
  • Subway — Roast Beef Sandwich. If you get the 6-inch sub on wheat bread with no dressing and lots of veggies, you can enjoy it at 290 calories.
  • Starbucks — Sous Vide Egg Bites. The egg white and red pepper version offers lots of protein at 170 calories. 
  • Pizza Hut — Slice of Veggie Lover’s Pizza. Pair a slice of this delicious pizza (230 calories) with a salad and get the flavor you crave and a satisfyingly full tummy. 
  • Hardee’s — Low Carb Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Swap out the bun for a lettuce wrap and cut carbs and sodium in a 190-calorie entree. 
  • Chipotle — Burrito Bowl. Dressed the right way (no guacamole, heavy rice, or cheese, but plenty of pico de gallo), the steak and pinto bean version comes in at 330 calories. 
  • Denny’s — Fit Fare Loaded Veggie Omelet. This is a healthy, hearty breakfast with 490 calories.
  • Culver’s — Beef Pot Roast Sandwich. At 410 calories, this sandwich is a great option when you’re hungry for meat. 

These are, of course, just a few examples of better choices when you’re eating out. Again, the trick is to remember that even small swaps will start to add up. 

Before long, you’ll be feeling and seeing improvements and that can inspire you and drive you toward even healthier goals.   

Learn About Weight Loss Services at Baptist Health

Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging, but the wide range of benefits to your health and happiness is worth it. 

If you need medical guidance on your weight loss goals, we’re here for you at Baptist Health! Learn about our bariatric care and weight loss services or find a provider near you.

Next Steps and Useful Resources

Discover if Weight Loss Surgery is Right For You
Easy & Healthy Food Swaps for Weight Loss
The 7 Most Addictive Foods and How to Stop Eating Them
How to Calculate Macros for Weight Loss

Learn More.