Cool Ideas

Get 500 Calories or Less To Go

It's lunchtime. You're short on time, and even shorter on funds. Even though you swore you wouldn't do it, you find yourself pulling into the nearest drive-thru. Sound familiar? Let's face it, even for the most determined dieter, sometimes the appeal and ease of fast food is just too great to resist. However, this doesn't mean you have to throw all good judgment out the drive-thru window. All it takes is some selective ordering, and you can have your fries and eat them too. Here, we picked some of our favorite options from your favorite places.

Low Cal Fast Food
  • McDonald's: Getting a fast food meal under 500 calories doesn't come without sacrifice, and the easiest way is to skip the calorie-packed value meals. Instead, scale back with an order of small fries, which is just 230 calories. This leaves you enough room to add either a plain hamburger or an order of Spicy Chicken McBites, 250 and 270 calories respectively.
  • Burger King: While they may be known for their delicious Whoppers, calorie counters with an appetite should probably steer clear. Only the Whopper Jr. and Whopper Jr. with cheese make the under 500 calorie cut. For something a little more filling, try the Bacon Cheeseburger for a 310 calorie entrée. This leaves enough wiggle room to add a value onion ring, for a total meal count of 460 calories.
  • Wendy's: Avoid the belly busting burgers and get your fried chicken fix with the 380 calorie Crispy Chicken Sandwich. But if a Wendy's burger is really what you crave, you can play it safe with the Double Stack, which comes in at 400 calories. You won't even mind giving up a side of fries, and can still add a garden side salad (as long as you skip the croutons and go easy on the dressing).
  • Arby's: What would a trip to Arby's be without a roast beef sandwich? Since the Classic Roast Beef Sandwich is only 350 calories, you don't ever have to find out. Just make sure you skip the fries, and definitely skip the Beef ‘n Cheddar option, because this will send your calorie count sky rocketing. Instead, order a chopped side salad with light Italian dressing, and you're looking at a total of 450 calories.
  • Taco Bell: Order with caution at this late-night favorite. While there are plenty of menu items well under 500 calories, most patrons order tacos and burritos in the multiples—which will quickly add up. However a trio of Fresco Crunch Tacos or Fresco Chicken Soft Tacos both stay within the goal, as do any of the Burrito Supremes. Beware the taco salads though, as not a single one hits the mark.