Eating on the Run

Making healthy food choices during the day may be difficult, especially if you are on the run, trying to grab a quick bite during your lunch “hour,” or shuttling children back and forth between school, practices and activities. Maybe you find yourself out all day in the car on a weekend running errands and need to stop in to a fast food restaurant for lunch.

Take a look at the comparison table of some typical items at popular fast food restaurants to help you make good choices.

Mcdonald’s (
1/4 lb. Cheeseburger540293929
McValue Fries32054016
Good Choices
Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad25031910
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad2002996
Grilled Chicken California Cobb27033911
Newman’s Own Fat
Burger King (
Double Cheeseburger530323231
Fries (medium)36044618
Good Choices
Chicken Tenders
(5 pc)
Fire-Grilled Shrimp Salad20020120
Arby’s® (
Arby-Q Roast Beef Sandwich360185111
Market Fresh Low-carb Turkey Wrap710354511
Good Choices
Hot Ham & Cheese30023358
Sante Fe Salad32835409
Taco Bell (
Combo Burrito470225219
Nachos Supreme360124011
Good Choices
Regular Taco Supreme22091414
Pintos & Cheese1307202.5

At other restaurant chains the healthy style of eating has made its way to the menus. Most places have their own versions of higher protein/lower carb meals. At Friday’s® try the Atkin’s Menu and at Chili’s it’s the Guiltless Menu (but ask them to leave out the tortilla). Outback Steakhouse® has one of the most special dietary friendly menus. They offer a high protein/low-carb menu as well as a gluten free menu for those who need it.

When making choices, however, it is important to remember that these places often load the food with heavy fat-laden sauces and cheeses. Be sure to ask for them to be served on the side. Another option is to stop is any 7-11®, WaWa® or other convenience store and request several slices of turkey or ham and a couple slices of cheese rather than a whole sandwich. A few years ago you may have received a funny look but that is no longer the case. You can even layer the deli meat and cheese with a little mayo or mustard, some lettuce and tomato and roll them up – all the convenience of a wrap without all the extra calories and carbs.

At finer restaurants, look over the appetizer selections. They often have delicious choices in the perfect portion size. When dining with others, you may want to ask to have your appetizer served along with everyone else and then keep it through dinner. If no one else is ordering an appetizer, simply ask to have your appetizer brought out with the other dinners. Also, most of the finer restaurants will serve many entrees in a smaller appetizer portion. All you need to do is ask and your request will usually be honored.

Restaurant buffets are often wasted on a WLS patient. However, many family and social events revolve around a buffet and those can be a delight since you can try a bite or two of everything you like.

Make a chart showing the nutritional breakdown of your usual choices at your favorite restaurants. Then look over the menu and write down some better healthier choices that have more protein, less carbs and less fat.

Nutritional Breakdown of Restaurant Food Choices – Form