Healthy Meal Ideas From Americas Fast Food Restaurants

I know. You probably looked at the title and thought ‘did he write that right?’ I did and it’s true.
I didn’t even have to look that hard for these healthy meals either. And they tasted fantastic!

If only we had a third of the variety that they have at their restaurants, and with meals at the same price, I would eat out far more often. Quite often you could get a good healthy meal for $6-$12 and because the serves were large it was plenty to fill you up.

So let me show you what I’m talking about…and yes I took a lot of photos of my food!

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-hooters-chicken-saladHooters Chicken Salad

Ingredients: grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, cheese, garlic croutons, light honey mustard dressing.

The garlic croutons made the salad so much nicer and the dressing wasn’t overpowering at all.Cost about $9.

If fat loss is your goal and you were making this for yourself you would want to make sure the cheese is low fat (or leave it out) and you could skip the croutons if you were really disciplined. I wasn’t cos they tasted so good!

And contrary to what you may think, Hooters is a family restaurant with plenty of families dining there so don’t skip it if you visit the states! They have about 8 different salads to choose from which are all good despite their slogan of ‘delightfully tacky yet unrefined.’

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-taco-saladBeef Taco Salad

Ingredients: shredded beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos, cheese, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, edible taco bowl.

This was not only delicious but impressive to look at. The only problem was the taco bowl tasted horrible so carbs were kept to a minimum. Cost about $9.

But this was a huge meal and so good. One of the guys I was with couldn’t finish his so thats how big it was.If you were to make it yourself you’d want to use light sour cream and light cheese and forget about the taco bowl. You don’t need the carbs.

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-omelette-and-pancakesIHOP Pancakes & Ommelette

Ingredients: Buttermilk pancake mix, syrup, eggs, capsicum, onion, ham, cheese.

I wasn’t at all impressed by the pancakes, but that may be because I just don’t tolerate wheat too well any more. My mum made me gluten free banana pancakes for me recently which were way better.

But the ommelette was exceptional. Plenty of eggs and just the right amount of ham and veggies. There was a little too much cheese for my liking but it was still very good. Cost about $7 for both.

If making it yourself I would use a gluten free pancake mix and add banana or some other fruit instead of adding a syrup topping. And this is strictly a post-workout meal! As for the ommelette, low fat cheese would be the only suggestion. The hard part is cooking it to perfection.

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-beef-nachosQdoba Beef Nachos With Mango Salsa

Ingredients: Corn chips, shredded beef, cheese sauce, guacamole, tomato salsa,  pinto beans,  cheese, mango, cilantro, tomato, capsicum, onion.

Qdoba is my favourite Mexican restaurant in the USA. I’m not usually a fan of nachos but I thought I’d try it for something defferent. Cost about $9.

I was impressed for the most part, however the cheese sauce destroyed the meal. What saved it was the mango salsa which is the tastiest addition to any dish I’ve ever experienced.

If making it for yourself skip the cheese sauce altogether. Add low fat cheese if you like and minced beef is as good as  shredded. Not eating the entire pack of corn chips may prove difficult too.

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-mcdonalds-southwest-chicken-saladMcdonalds Southwest Chicken Salad

Ingredients: grilled chicken, lime, black beans, cheese, lettuce, corn, corn chips.

For Mcdonalds to have some healthy meals which are actually good was a pleasant surprise. I have no idea what they have in Australia but for $5.50 I could get a grilled chicken breast and salad which was tasty and healthy.

The lime squeezed over the salad was enough dressing for me, and the small pieces of corn chips added a salty flavour and some texture which was quite good. Black beans are a good addition for some variety and the corn was ok, but I wouldn’t add either when on a fat loss phase.

Once again using low fat cheese is a good idea and the corn chips made it so much better than another boring old salad. But use them sparingly.

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-berry-almond-saladWendy’s Berry Almond Chicken Salad

Ingredients: grilled chicken, strawberries, blueberries, flaked cheese, lettuce, almonds.

This salad was amazing! I will be making this in the future for sure.Only cost about $6.

Even though there really isn’t too many veggies in there, it is a great summer salad and the berries really compliment the chicken. And it’s so far from your ordinary salad that you sort of forget about the lettuce. The almonds add a little good fat too and the cheese was perfect. Wouldn’t surprise me if they used low fat cheese in this one.

healthy-meal-ideas-from-americas-fast-food-restaurants-steak-burrito-bowlTaco Bell Steak Burrito Bowl

Ingredients: steak, rice, black beans, lettuce, guacamole, corn, tomato, onion, salsa.

I am a huge fan of burritos, but as I’m trying to cut out gluten I’m avoiding the tortillas.  Cost about $6.

I was lucky enough to sample both the chicken and steak burrito bowls and man are they good. Not too much of everything but just the right amount. Definitely leaves you full. For fat loss you can leave out the rice and corn. The small amount of beans wont hurt but will add to the flavour if you can find black beans in. I can’t.

Hope that gives you a few ways to spice up your salads and add variety to your meals. I loved the food and was still able to eat resonably well because of the variety available. I did gain a few kilos which I’ll drop in the lead up to summer, but that often happens on holidays when you are outside of your routine. But maybe you’ll look at a salad on the menu next time you eat out.

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