linked in pixel
Healthier fast food options on a table

6 Healthier Fast Food Options to Try Now in 2024

Pinterest Logo

If you don’t eat fast food, don’t start. In fact, continue to deliberately not eat fast food. The reason I recommend steering clear is that most fast food options are loaded with sodium, high in fat and contain preservatives and other ingredients (most of which we can’t even pronounce!)

However, if your overbooked, overextended schedule crammed with work and family means that you sometimes pull up to that drive-through window, all semblance of nutrition doesn’t have to be lost.

We’ve gathered our six top picks for best options nutrition-wise. Are these ideal? No, but compared to other options in fast-food land, these are your best bet!

Best salad: Chick-Fil-A Grilled Market Salad

  • Mixed greens with grilled chicken, blueberries, strawberries, red and green apples, blue cheese.
  • Per salad (including the granola and roasted nut blend, but not dressing): 460 calories, 20 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 595 mg sodium, 38 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 17 grams (mostly naturally occurring) sugar, 30 grams protein
  • Why I like it: It’s one of few fast food options that includes a rainbow of produce. One suggestion: Bring your own favorite salad dressing to keep nutrition in line.

Best smoothie: Smoothie King Gladiator

  • Choice of chocolate, vanilla or strawberry Gladiator Protein, and choice of two add-ins.
  • Options for no- and low-sugar add-ins include almonds, peanut butter, matcha green tea, real whole no-sugar-added fruit and veggies including raspberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, banana, spinach, kale, carrots and ginger. 
  • Per 20-ounce smoothie (with almond butter added in): 400 calories, 5 grams carb, 3 gram fiber, 2 grams sugar, 54 grams protein
  • Why I like it: It’s super low in sugar, rich in protein and gives you one more way to fit in more real fruits and vegetables.

Best blended coffee drink: PJ’s Coffee Eat Fit- approved Protein Velvet Ice

  • PJ’s Cold Brew coffee concentrate blended with protein powder and milk.
  • Per medium 16-ounce serving: 250 calories, 6 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 230 mg sodium, 23 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar (< 2 grams added sugar), 26 grams protein..
  • Why I like it: It’s loaded with protein and can double as a breakfast or snack on the run. It’s especially good for those who like to start their day with coffee but aren’t big breakfast eaters.

Best grilled chicken: Chick-Fil-A Grilled Nuggets

  • Grilled Nuggets, nothing else. Available in five- eight- and 12-piece servings.
  • Per eight-piece serving: 130 calories, 3 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 440 mg sodium, 1 gram carbohydrate, 0 gram fiber, 0 sugar, 25 grams protein.
  • Why I like them: It’s just chicken, no veggies or whole grains, but if you need a car-friendly finger food, these nuggets can do the trick.

Best nonbattered chicken tenders: Popeyes Blackened Tenders 

  • Nonbattered, nonbreaded version of Popeyes’ chicken tenders, with seasoning; formerly called Naked Tenders. Available in three- and five-piece servings.
  • Per three-piece serving: 170 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 saturated fat, 550 mg sodium, 2 grams carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 0 sugar, 26 grams protein.
  • Why I like it: Ounce for ounce, these tenders are essentially as lean as grilled skinless chicken but with the famously flavorful Popeyes blackened seasoning.

Best Bowl: Chipotle | Wholesome Lifestyle Bowl 

  • Made with super greens, chicken, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa and guacamole, the Wholesome Lifestyle Bowl is a fit for paleo, grain-free, gluten-free and keto diets. 
  • Per bowl: 460 calories, 29 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 35 grams protein
  • Why I like it: It’s a convenient way to get black beans and vegetables on the go without processed carbs.

To schedule a nutrition consult, whether virtually or in-person, contact us at or call us at 504-733-1600.

Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD is a registered dietitian + nutrition journalist in New Orleans, and founder of Ochsner Eat Fit nonprofit restaurant initiative. Tune in to her podcast, FUELED | Wellness + Nutrition and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @MollyKimballRD. See more of Molly’s articles + TV segments at, and sign up for Eat Fit Wellness Bites weekly newsletter, here

You may also be interested in: