A fun quiz is in the video below which challenges you to guess the highest calorie fast food item. You might be surprised by some of the items.
Google has recently made it easier to find fast food nutrition facts. When you type in a search for a fast food nutrition fact like “Fat in a Whopper”, it will likely show the nutrition data on top of the results page. Google is making it easier since you won’t have to go to individual websites like McDonald’s.com for the information. It will be interesting to see what other search results Google will take over in the future, outside of nutritional information.
The video above provides some solid nutritional advice when selecting what to eat at a selection of fast food restaurants. The video discusses Chick fil-A, Subway, and McDonald’s menu items and which items are the best for nutrients or nutrition. Additionally, please see our article on the Best Fast Food Choices.
We always hear about the bad things that fast food has to offer. There have been countless stories on the negatives such as saturated fats, high calories, high fat, the cause of obesity, and so on. Are there any good or half way decent food choices available in fast food restaurants? Below we look at some of the healthier options available at three of the major fast food chains: McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King.
Best Hamburger or Sandwich:
Hamburger — 240 calories, 8g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 32g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars. 12g protein.
Chicken McNuggets 4 piece — 190 calories, 12g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 25mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 12g carbs, 0g sugars, 9g protein.
Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait — 150 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 80mg sodium, 30g carbs, 1g fiber, 23g sugar, 4g protein.
Side Salad — 15 calories. 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol. 10mg sodium, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g sugars, 1g protein.
Best Hamburger or Sandwich:
Hamburger — 230 calories, 9g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g transfat. 25mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, 9g protein.
Chicken Nuggets 4 Piece — 190 calories, 11g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 13g carbs, 2g fiber, 0g sugars, 8g protein.
Quaker Oatmeal Maple Flavor: 170 calories, 3g fat, 1.5g saturated fat. 0g trans fat, 5g cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 32g carbs, 3g fiber, 12g sugars, 4g protein.
Side Caesar Garden and Dressing — 290 calories, 22g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 20mg cholesterol, 710mg sodium, 17g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, 8g protein.
Jr. Hamburger — 280 calories, 12g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 35mg cholesterol, 630mg sodium, 25g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, 13g protein.
Chicken Nuggets 4 Piece — 180 calories, 12g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 350mg sodium, 10g carbs, 1g fiber, 0g sugars, 9g protein.
Best Breakfast: Not Available
Asian Cashew Chicken Salad Half Size — 230 calories, 10g total fat, 1.5 g saturated Fat. 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 20g carbs, 4g fiber, 10g sugar, 19g protein.
In terms of calories alone, there are several options under 300 calories on these menus. However, most menu items exceed this amount. Additionally, it isn’t that often you are just going to order a 4 piece nugget or a parfait and be done with it. Many people will add on fries and a sugary soft drink for a few hundred more calories. Nothing new here, but the best bet is to eat fast food sparingly and watch what you order if calories/nutrition are important to you. Many people tend to underestimate fast food calories so it always helps to review the nutrition facts before ordering. What you may think is only a few hundred calories may really be close to 800 or more.
In 2012, Dunkin’ Donuts pledged to reduce sodium content on their menu items by 10%. The goal has been set to be met by the end of 2015. Additionally, the company plans to reduce sugar content 10% by the end of 2017. Other notable nutrition improvements or additions are egg white flatbread sandwichs and multigrain bagels. Dunkin’ Donuts also offers almond milk is select locations for a dairy-free option.
Baskin Robbins also has made strides to better its menu. The company now offers churned light ice cream with 50% less fat, churned reduced-fat/no sugar added ice cream with 25% less fat, and sorbet/frozen yogurt options. Baskin plans to launch reduced sugar and calorie smoothies as a menu option in 2015.
See the Dunkin Brands Corporate Social Responsibility Report for more details.
There is no question that fast food nutrition has been improving with many fast food companies. However, the same standard fattening (high calorie) menu items still remain. It will be interesting to see if these nutrition improvements will help the obesity rate or if the majority of people with still gravitate toward the same unhealthy selections. Traditionally, you’re not going to a Dunkin’ Donuts or Baskin Robbins thinking reduced fat, reduced sugar, or multi-grain. In my opinion, these changes look good on paper and help create a positive corporate image, but will do little for overall health.
There will no longer be a soda option for the kid’s menu at Dairy Queen as of September 2015. The company has decided to follow the trend of making kid’s meals healthier by eliminating soft drinks from the kid’s menu. Similarly, McDonald’s axed soda from the famous Happy Meal last summer, while Wendy’s and Burger King followed suit for their kid’s menu. While not on the kid’s menu, a soda can still be requested when ordering a kid’s meal. Essentially, the companies will not advertise soda on the menu, but it is still there for purchase and consumption.
Here is a look at some of the worst fast food items to eat in terms of nutrition.
10. Double Big Mac includes 4 patties, in case two wasn’t enough.
9. Baconator includes 940 calories and 57 grams of fat. Yikes!
8. Carl’s Junior Breakfast Burger.
7. Meat Mountain from Arby’s with a ridiculous stack of meats. Located on the “secret menu”.
6. Burger King Bacon Sundae. Yeah, it’s a ice cream with bacon.
5. Taco Bell Waffle Taco is a breakfast taco with a waffle for the traditional shell.
4. Bypass Burger
3. Pizza Hut Cheeseburger Pizza Crust/Crown Crust Pizza
2 Wendy’s T-Rex Burger has 9 quarter pound patties.
1. Double Down KFC