At New Jersey Bariatric Center, we understand how hectic weeknights can be between the evening commute, after school activities, and having a healthy dinner. When you’re running low on time and need a quick meal for the whole family, stopping at a fast casual restaurant can be the most convenient option. Here are some healthier quick stop options to choose from:
- Dunkin/Starbucks – Try the Dunkin Turkey Bacon Wake-up Wrap (180 calories, 10g fat, 13g carb, 1g fiber, 8g protein) or Starbucks Egg White and Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (170 calories, 8 g fat, 11 g carb, 12 g protein). An Egg and Cheddar protein box from Starbucks can also be a good choice if you ditch the included bread or crackers (About 390 calories, 22g fat, 21g carbs, 23g protein). This helps to keep the focus on protein and fiber, rather than simple carbohydrates.
- Chick-Fil-A – This chain offers several protein options like a grilled chicken sandwich. We recommend that you lose the bun. Without the bun the nutrition content is about 230 calories,12g fat, 5g carb, 28g protein and with the bun about 600 calories, 35g fat, 35g carbs, 30g protein. Side salads and fresh fruit are also available, making this a good place to stop. Just remember that salad dressing adds additional calories so stick with 1 serving or less of dipping sauce or dressing to keep empty calories in check.
- Wendy’s – A quick stop at Wendy’s can refuel you and your crew with a classic cup of chili (small cup: 240 calories, 11g fat, 18g carbs, 16g protein) and a side of fresh apples (35 calories, 0g fat, 7g carbs, 0g protein). Other good choices include salads (about 400 calories, 22g fat, 10g carbs, 40g protein) or a no-bun sandwich made with grilled chicken (without bun: about 230 calories, 12g fat, 5g carb, 28g protein). Avoid high-carb salad toppings like croutons or chips and anything labeled “crispy” as the chicken is most likely fried.
- Chipotle – This is a great option for when you need a filling and fully customizable meal on-the-go. Choose from one of their protein and veggie packed Lifestyle Bowls like the Whole30, Paleo or Keto options which are low in carbs (about 500 calories, 33g fat, 15-20g carbs, 30-40g protein). You can also make your own bowl with a base of greens and fajita veggies instead of rice. Top with your choice of protein, salsa, veggies, beans and guacamole. Go easy on cheese, sour cream and tortillas.
- Wawa – It seems that Wawa stores are popping up all over the place and they can provide some decent choices if you’re in a hurry and you know what to look for. Try one of their made-to-order breakfast bowls with eggs and turkey sausage. Or build your own salad with lots of fresh veggies and protein options to choose from like roasted chicken, turkey bacon, tuna, boiled eggs and turkey breast (about 350-450 calories, 10-30g fat, 15-30g carbs, 30-45g protein). There are also some protein and veggie based soups and side dishes like chili, tomato basil soup and a side of meatballs with marinara sauce (small dish: 240 calories, 19g fat, 10g carbs, 6g protein). Healthier kids meal options plus grab-and-go choices like yogurt or a small bag of nuts make this a great place to keep on your shortlist if a game runs late and you have to grab something fast.
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For more information on healthy options at your favorite fast food restaurants and staying on track, make an appointment to see your dietitian at 908-481-1270.