For some decades now, essentially ever since they became part and parcel of our daily lives, fast food outlets have been something of a no-go area for those seeking to eat healthily. 

The ire of the general public, albeit those elements within this group who can perhaps afford to eat at more expensive outlets and restaurants and those who are trying to encourage healthy eating (especially in children), has been well deserved as often the arguments laid out at the door of well-known fast food chains were not ones that could be argued rationally.

However, in recent years, perhaps because of growing pressure from both the public and governing bodies, many big players in the fast food industry have tried to alter their approach, offering clearer labeling of the nutritional information for the food they sell as well as trying to diversify and provide healthier items that may better promote a wholesome diet.

Now it should go without saying that no individual should be taking to a local fast food outlet on a daily basis and your visits there should not be frequent, and these aren’t the best options for children (even if they offer you an easy way out in terms of speed and cost), these are some suggested items on well-known fast food chain menus that aren’t as bad as you might originally think.

Burger King - Cheeseburger (301 calories, 13g fat, 30g carbs, 16g protein)

Let’s be honest, we’ve all demolished a Burger King cheeseburger before, and by all accounts, the number of calories and overall fat is less than the fast food chain’s own plant-based items. So next time you get a lunch break, take a trip to your nearest Burger King, get comfortable in their restaurant chairs, and enjoy with a minimal side serving of guilt. 

Domino’s - Pacific Veggie Thin Crust (200 calories, 14g fat, 11g carbs, 7g protein)

If you are in the mood for a pizza but want to watch the calories, a thin cut is one way to go, and Domino’s Pacific Veggie Thin Crust is a tasty option to consider. As the name suggests, it’s veggies all the way, including delicious roasted red peppers, baby spinach, mushroom, tomatoes (yes, we know that technically these are fruits), and black olives. All in all, very delicious, and if you want, you can always opt to add some chicken. 

Arby’s - Roast Beef Gyro (540 calories, 29g fat, 48g carbs, 24g protein)

Now, this is a meaty one, but the veggies that go with it are what makes this a decent balancing act of a dish. Yes, the calorie count is quite high, but you will be full once you polish this off. There is a lot of protein here, and the greek-inspired touch, with a scrumptious pita, makes this a very tasty option to consider next time you are at an Arby’s.

Denny’s - Loaded Veggie Omelet (500 calories, 38g fat, 9g carbs, 29g protein)

If you are going to eat at Denny’s and you want something relatively healthy, in comparison to what else is on the menu at least, then a Loaded Veggie Omelet is the path to take, and it’s one your stomach will thank you for. You can help keep the calorie count down by electing egg white instead of whole eggs, and overall the protein count here is a decent pay-off for the high-calorie intake.

Dunkin’ Donuts - Wake-Up Wrap (170 calories, 10g fat, 14g carbs, 7g protein)

Now, let’s be honest. If you’ve walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts, then the chances of you eating anything other than a donut are slim to none, and let’s be honest, there is no health benefit to consuming a donut. However, if you’ve walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts and then started to have second thoughts, then reach out for a Wake-Up Wrap. These are just made up of a wrap, egg, and cheese, so it isn’t all that bad for you; you might also look to add bacon if you really want to…

McDonald’s - Classic Cheeseburger (300 calories, 13g fat, 32g carbs, 15g protein)

Yes, even at McDonald’s, there are options that are both very appetizing (in a kind of back-to-basic way) and also not too unhealthy. Chief among these is the classic cheeseburger, which is relatively balanced in terms of calorie count, fat and carb counts, and a decent protein kick. The only issue, and it’s a genuine one, is that when you eat one of these, you will want to eat more. There is just something about these that is very addictive.

Pizza Hut - Veggie Lovers Thin ‘N Crispy (100 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbs, 5g protein) 

First off, full disclosure, the numbers above relate to one serving, in other words, one slice and let’s be honest, if you are eating a pizza, you are not ever going to be eating just one slice, and that’s kind of where the health danger comes from with this type of fast food. Here the thin crust is once again the life-saver, and you can double down here by having a side salad, which may make you feel less guilty about the next slice you consume. 

Starbucks - Sous Vide Egg Bites (170 calories, 8g fat, 11g carbs, 12g protein)

When you get your next Starbucks coffee and your eyes start to wander toward the pastries and other goodies of that nature, stop and think. Do you really want that muffin? Well, yes, you probably do. But is it doing you any good? The answer is yes, but only temporarily in relation to the sugar buzz, you secure. Instead, why not try these rather snazzy egg bites, which are a very mouthwatering alternative and one that has a nice shot of protein?

Taco Bell - Soft Taco (180 calories, 9g fat, 18g carb, 9g protein)

Taco Bell has a lot of detractors, but it’s a chain that millions visit, mainly because it’s food on the go. Most of what’s on a Taco Bell menu won’t do your diet any good, but a soft taco will at least do less damage than other items available. A soft taco has far more nutritious qualities than a hard one, and another tip is to load up on veggies and say no to anything cheese related.