Fast 5: Best Bets for Drive-Thru Food

Food in a hurry doesn't have to be unhealthy. All you need is a little fast-food know-how.


In a perfect world, we’d never leave the house without a picnic basket full of freshly made sandwiches and cut fruit. Unfortunately, that isn't realistic in our busy, fast-pace lives. Sometimes, we have no choice but to pull up to that fast-food drive-thru because we need to eat, fast.

Luckily, fast doesn't mean it has to be a calorie-laden, gut-busting meal. With a little creativity and savvy choosing, you can cobble together a relatively nutritious meal or snack at just about any fast-food restaurant. (Heck, simply avoiding the soda and fries will get you half the way there.) Here’s how:

1. Get creative with a burger.

Ask for a burger with no bun or no cheese for a high-protein snack; or do the opposite and try a burger-less burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions inside a bun. Don't worry, you won't be able to see the funny looks through the drive-through menu board. 

2. Get picky with a salad.

Order a salad, but keep it simple and choose a low-fat dressing. Beware of higher-fat toppings like cheese, fried-chicken strips, croutons or tortilla-shell bowls that will quickly turn your salad from healthy to heavy. 

3. Chicken out.

Most fast-food chains have a grilled chicken sandwich option, which is almost always a healthier choice than fried. For an even lower calorie option, ask for the grilled chicken open face or without a bun. 

4. Scope out those sides.

You can easily pull together a filling and nutritious meal by choosing side items or breakfast menu accompaniments. This includes snack packs of cut carrots and apples, low-fat yogurt, oatmeal, real 100% orange juice and water. 

5. Get eggs-actly what you want.

Choose the simplest preparation of eggs available on the menu, even if it's a breakfast sandwich minus the cheese, the mystery meat, even the biscuit. 

What do you order from the drive-thru window if you’re trying to eat healthy? Share your tips with the rest of us.