Lets be honest, in a perfect world we would not need fast food…..but this is not a perfect world right? As much as I would love to say EVERY meal my family eats is prepared with organic, homemade, local, whole food. It just would not be true. With three kids we are on the run a ton and just have to cut corners from time to time. It is not my favorite scenario when I have to pull into that drive thru and try to identify what the least toxic option is. I feel a little panic rise up in my chest as I gaze at the brightly orange, red and yellow symbols….directing me towards “kid friendly” options. I stare blankly completely overwhelmed as I try to fish out a somewhat healthy choice.
I know I cannot be the only mom out there who suffers from D.T.A.D (drive thru anxiety disorder, yes I believe what I am suffering from should have a name!!) so here is what I have done. I have comprised a short list of foods that seem to make the cut for my family. In the sea of hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup and more…these seem to pass as a healthier option when you find yourself in a bind and you need a fast food fix. Enjoy!!
- My top choice is the Market Salad from Chik Fil A. Now this is not a favorite for my kids but at 200 calories, it is this moms favorite. It has 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of sugar and 23 grams of protein. But be careful, when you add the candied nuts, granola and dressing…it could be deceiving. When I order this, it is minus the toppings and 1/2 the dressing, keeping it still under 300 calories. For the kids a simple 8 piece Grilled Nugget is only 140 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of sugar and 21 grams of protein. Pair that with the fruit cup and you are good to go!
- Next in line is Subways 6 inch Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich. At 370 it is not a bad choice for a meal. It has 10 grams of fat, 23 grams of protein, 8 grams of sugar..and yes this is a lot, 48 grams of carbs. There is 5 grams of fiber which counter act a few carbs but still heavy. You could either limit your carbs for the remaining meals on that day or try an open face sandwich to cut those in half.
- A favorite for us is Chipotle’s Build Your Own Salad, and you can do just that, customize it to your preferences. It is on average about 360 calories, 8 grams of fat, 42 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fiber and only 8 grams of sugar. Also they have really great kid options that are affordable. I will sometimes just order the kids tortillas and let them build their wraps from my salad. It is a good amount of food for the price! I don’t put ANY dressing on this. It already has a ton of flavor and the dressing adds sugar and calories that are just unnecessary.
- If you are in the mood for a wrap, Chik Fil A ‘s Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap is tasty. A little higher in calories at 410 per wrap, but still a reasonable amount for the biggest meal of the day. It has 10 grams of fat, 32 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbs…ouch (remember to eat carb light the rest of the day), 7 grams of fiber and 9 grams of sugar. No dips or dressings to keep this one in check nutritionally.
- Ok, for a kid friendly option Egg white Delight Mcmuffin is not bad. It only has 250 calories, 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat and 29 grams of carbs. Kids need a those carbs..trust me! Pair that with The Fresh and Juicy Fruit Bag and you are in good shape for getting them squared away in a pinch. If you find yourself at the golden arches for the kids and you are not sure what is best for you I would stick with a simple 4 piece nugget, no dressings of course and a Fresh and Juicy Fruit Bag. For the nuggets alone you will come in just under 200 calories with 12 grams of fat, and 9 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs. Curious how I came up with the list? Basically, I determined what I felt had the best proportions and the least sugar. Generally I like to keep protein high, with lower fats and sugars. Carbohydrates I am flexible on if they are sourced from whole grains, rice, or beans etc. These are just my personal preferences as I am not a dietitian or DR. but I am simply sharing the balance we have found works for our family. If you have questions or concerns regarding your health make sure to contact your DR. Hope this you find it useful, I know I enjoyed doing the research!!