Healthiest fast food options on a counter with a red background

The Healthiest Orders at America’s Best Fast Food Chains

Fast, healthy, convenient—need we say more.

The internet has spoken: Culver’s, Shake Shack, and Chick-fil-A are among the best fast food joints in America, according to Fodor’s Travel. Most fast food menu items aren’t the healthiest, but there are options that pack a decent nutritional punch, says registered dietitian Mandy Enright, M.S., R.D.N.

Next time you’re in a rush or on the road, here’s what to order through the drive-thru speaker.

Culver’s Single Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger

Culver’s: Single Mushroom & Swiss ButterBurger

At Fodor’s #1 fast food spot—which they named “the most delicious fast food pit stop in America”—Enright suggests upgrading the Single ButterBurger to the mushroom and swiss version. 

“The mushrooms provide some extra nutrients and fiber, while Swiss is lower in sodium than American cheese,” she says. Pair it with a Garden Side Salad or Steamed Broccoli for extra veggies.

Calories: 500
Carbs: 40g ( 2g fiber, 6g sugar)
Protein: 26g
Fat: 26g ( 11g saturated fat)

ShakeShack Single Shackburger

ShakeShack: Single Shackburger

The ShakeShack’s BLT is the chain’s lowest calorie main. “But if you’re feeling a burger, the Single ShackBurger (or its Shroom Burger cousin) is one of the lower calorie and sodium options,” says Enright. 

Remember, this “real food with real ingredients” chain is completely customizable. To upgrade the health of any order, sub the bun for a lettuce wrap, and get the Shack Sauce on the side. 

Calories: 500
Carbs: 26g (0g fiber, 6g sugar)
Protein: 29g
Fat: 30g (12g saturated fat)

In-N-Out Single Hamburger

In-N-Out: Single Hamburger

When it comes to high-protein fast food, In-n-Out’s “Protein Style” (lettuce wrapped) Double-Double (two patties and two slices of American cheese) might just take the top prize, given its 33 grams of the macro. 

“But keep in mind you’re also double-doubling the saturated fat and sodium content—even if you go Protein Style,” says Enright. She suggests sticking to the single Hamburger to keep calories, saturated fat, and sodium in check. 

Calories: 360
Carbs: 37g ( 2g fiber, 8g sugar)
Protein: 16g
Fat: 16g ( 4.5g saturated fat)

Whataburger Apple & Cranberry Cobb with Grilled Chicken

Whataburger: Apple & Cranberry Cobb with Grilled Chicken

The Apple & Cranberry Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken is one of the more obvious healthy choices on the Whataburger menu, says Enright. She likes that this salad contains carrots and apples for fiber, and grilled chicken for lean protein. 

Still, the dried cranberries make this order slightly high in sugar (adding 18 grams of sugar to the meal). Skip the cranberries, and go with the low-fat herb vinaigrette which has the least calories and fat of Whataburger’s dressings. 

Calories: 330
Carbs: 16g (4g fiber, 7g sugar)
Protein: 32g
Fat: 12g (7.5g saturated fat)

Raising Cane’s Kids Combo with Coleslaw

Raising Cane’s: Kids Combo with Coleslaw

The only main menu item at Raising Cane’s is fried chicken fingers—which are high in calories and sodium. This makes ordering healthy tough. 

“My honest response would be to get an unsweetened iced tea and move on with your day,” says Enright. Forced to make a chewable order, she’d suggest the Kids Combo. “It’s not necessarily the healthiest, but it’s by far the best option on the menu due to smaller portions,” she explains. Swap the fries for coleslaw to cut calories and boost fiber.

Calories: 360
Carbs: 21g (3g fiber, 7g sugar)
Protein: 26g
Fat: 18g (3g saturated fat) 

Five Guys Little Hamburger

Five Guys: Little Hamburger

The Veggie Sandwich is Five Guys’ lowest calorie option, but Enright would go for the Little Hamburger instead—which has more protein and less sodium. Load up on unlimited veggie toppings like lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, onions, and jalapeno or bell peppers to up the overall nutritional value of your meal, says Enright.

Calories: 540
Carbs: 39g (2g fiber, 8g sugar)
Protein: 18g
Fat: 26g (11.5g saturated fat)

Chick-fil-A Market Salad with Grilled Nuggets

Chick-fil-A: Market Salad with Grilled Nuggets

Chick-fil-A has a plethora of grilled protein options, and fiber-dense sides—two things Enright looks for to boost the health profile of any fast food meal. 

Her personal go-to is The Market Salad with either a Grilled Chicken Fillet or Grilled Nuggets. Swap the Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing for either Light Balsamic Vinaigrette or Light Italian dressing, to save around 200 calories and 12 grams of added sugar. 

Calories: 340
Carbs: 25g (6g fiber, 13g sugar)
Protein: 32g
Fat: 13g (3g saturated fat)

Dave’s Hot Chicken Kale Slaw

Dave’s Hot Chicken: Kale Slaw

The menu at Dave’s Hot Chicken is mostly different versions of the same fried chicken tenders drenched in spicy sauce. Enright wouldn’t call any of the mains “healthy.” The Kale Slaw, however, makes a decent hold-me-over snack. “It’s low in sodium, carbs, and even provides some fiber,” she says.

Calories: 270
Carbs: 8g (3g fiber, 4g added sugar)
Protein: 2g
Fat: 26g (4.5g saturated fat)

White Castle Breakfast Slider with Egg and Cheese

White Castle: Breakfast Slider with Egg and Cheese

These small sliders make for a mighty breakfast, says Enright. “The egg and cheese add a solid amount of protein to make this a satisfying meal,” she says. Double up on sliders for even more protein, without going overboard on calories or sodium. 

Calories: 200
Carbs: 15g (1g fiber, 2g added sugar)
Protein: 9g
Fat: 12g (4g saturated fat)

Jollibee Yumburger

Jollibee: Yumburger

“The Yumburger and even Cheesy Yumburger are the healthiest options on the menu,” says Enright. The 2-piece Burger Steak—two burgers smothered in mushroom gravy—with steamed rice is a close second. However, keep an eye on your overall sodium and saturated fat intake the rest of the day if you partake, since this meal is high in both.

Calories: 360
Carbs: 30g (1g fiber, 6g added sugar)
Protein: 13g
Fat: 21g (8g saturated fat)