We all know fast food isn’t healthy, and though we try to find the least horrifying meals on the menu or stick to a simple salad when we go, it almost never lasts. So, here’s a list of the healthiest fast food chains, so that next time you’re running late and just need to zip through a drive-thru, you can feel a little less guilty and enjoy your meal a little bit more.
Panera is considered the #1 healthiest fast food chain by Health.com. While many fast food restaurants tout their commitment to creating wholesome meals with healthful ingredients, Panera seems to actually be doing it. It has some of the healthiest options when it comes to kids’ meals (including grilled organic cheese and peanut butter and jelly that uses all-natural peanut butter). It also has plenty of substitutable options (like allowing you to choose apples instead of potato chips). All in all, as long as you don’t stop at the bakery counter and load up on sweets, Panera is pretty darn healthy.
Einstein Bros Bagels
Even though bagels themselves are high in calories, the chain offers reduced fat cream cheese and schmear options to customers. And even some of the bagels themselves, like the Good Grains bagel, provide impressive amounts of daily nutrients like fiber. You can also get a healthy salad if you are so inclined; just stay away from the fatty breakfast sandwiches and you should be fine.
Believe it or not, one of the cheapest fast food restaurants is also one of the healthiest. According to Business Insider, Taco Bell has been building a healthier menu but has also been tweaking its regular menu for years in order to create better food for its customers. Its vegetarian menu is certified by the American Vegetarian Association, and many of its regular items can easily be customized to fit dietary restrictions of all kinds. However, the company doesn’t actually try to tout itself as the healthiest option on the block, which makes this assertion even more honest.
Noodles & Company
Believe it or not, Noodles & Company has actually been around since 1995, and it has been giving us healthy options when it comes to fast food for a long time. Though there are quite a bit of carbs in pasta, N&C’s different dishes utilize healthy ingredients. Customizable pastas, soups, and salads are also available here.
Subway has often given its customers a promise of a healthy meal, and while you can load up your sub with deluxe meat and cheese, you can also choose the healthiest, leanest options when it comes to ingredients. Their Fresh Fit menu still exists and contains some of their most popular and flavorful subs like the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki. In addition, Subway’s kids’ meals still have an option for milk instead of soda and apples instead of chips, something many other fast food chains have long since given up on.