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Healthy Fast Food: The Best Meals at 15 Popular Restaurants

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fast food signs Fast food restaurant signs line a street in Los Angeles. | David McNew/Getty Images

Healthy food and fast food don’t mix, at least according to conventional wisdom. If you care about what you eat, it’s hard to find good choices at the burger emporiums dotting the roadside landscape. But sometimes, a trip to the Golden Arches is inevitable. When you do find yourself waiting in line at the drive-thru, you want to make a healthy (or healthy-ish) choice. But knowing what to order is a challenge.

Although many fast food chains have done a better job of adding better-for-you options in recent years, navigating the menu can still be a challenge. Nutritious-looking items can be diet disaster (such as the salad drenched in fatty, salty dressing), while some stuff that looks like junk at first glance might actually be an OK choice if you’re watching calories.

Of course, calories aren’t the only thing to consider. Even lighter options can be high in salt or lack key nutrients. Plus, healthy means different things to different people. For some, it means an all-organic diet. And for others, it means avoiding meat or watching carbs. In short, one person’s “healthy” McDonald’s meal might be different from another person’s. You have to make the choice for yourself. Most fast food chains post nutrition information online, so your best bet is to do some research on your own to find the best foods for you.

To help you out, we’ve highlighted healthier choices at America’s 15 most popular fast food restaurants (as ranked by industry publication QSR). These meals are lower in fat and calories than their menu neighbors and provide more necessary nutrients, such as protein. In all cases, you’ll help keep your diet on track by skipping the sugary drinks and passing on fries and other sides.

Note: All nutritional information taken from restaurant websites.

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