What are the healthiest fast-food choices? While most fast foods are based on cheap, unhealthy ingredients, many fast-food establishments now offer nutritious entrees and sides. Popular examples include wraps, salads, and burritos.

The restaurants below are renowned for their wide selection of unhealthy foods. But if you don’t like indulging in traditional fast food, it’s good to know that they also serve healthier alternatives.

Although a few of these restaurants are only found in the United States, most are international.

Healthiest Fast-Food Choices

Here are some of the healthiest fast-food choices at various fast-food restaurants.


Chipotle Mexican Grill is a restaurant chain that specializes in tacos and burritos. The company uses only organic, local ingredients and meats from naturally raised animals.

Healthier options: burritos, tacos, and salads with a variety of meats, veggies, rice, beans, and guacamole


Chick-fil-A is a fast-food restaurant that specializes in chicken sandwiches. It was one of the first chains in the United States to offer a menu completely free of trans fat.

They have taken strides to make their dishes more healthy. In particular, their kids’ menu offers fruit cup sides and milk to drink.

Healthier options: grilled chicken nuggets, chicken salads, grilled market salad, and Greek yogurt parfait


Wendy’s is the third-largest hamburger fast-food chain in the world, behind McDonald’s and Burger King.

Although their menu consists mostly of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and French fries, they also offer some healthier alternatives.

Healthier options: chicken salads and chicken wraps


McDonald’s is the world’s biggest fast-food chain. It’s famous for its signature burgers, such as the Big Mac.

Most of the offerings at McDonald’s are highly processed and unhealthy. The company has been slammed for its role in facilitating the worldwide obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics.

However, due partly to this critique, McDonald’s has added several healthy options to its menu.

Healthier options: several healthy salads, mostly made with chicken, vegetables, and fruit

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday has many restaurants worldwide. Its menu offers a variety of foods, from steaks and seafood to pasta and salads.

The healthier options on their menu are under “Garden Bar & Fresh Salads.” Those dishes contain fewer than 700 calories per serving.

Ruby Tuesday offers options based on various dietary needs, such as gluten intolerance.

Healthier options: a variety of meat, fish, and salads, with side dishes like baked potatoes and fresh vegetables

The Cheesecake Factory

The Cheesecake Factory is known for gargantuan portion sizes and high calorie content.

However, due to increased pressure, they now offer a “SkinnyLicious®” menu with smaller portions and healthier ingredients.

Healthier options: steaks, fish, seafood, salads, and various appetizers

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

KFC is an international fast-food restaurant known for its signature deep-fried chicken. This franchise serves mainly unhealthy foods.

However, some of their restaurants sell grilled chicken to serve their more health-conscious customers.

Healthier options: sweet corn and mashed potatoes without gravy


Subway is a fast-food restaurant primarily selling build-it-yourself submarine sandwiches (subs) and salads.

You can skip the bread altogether and get a salad with chicken breast and plenty of fresh vegetables.

Healthier options: whole-grain bread, plus plenty of vegetables

Panera Bread

Panera Bread is a bakery, café, and restaurant that serves baked goods, soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Healthier options: a variety of soups and salads

The bottom line

These days, almost every fast-food restaurant offers healthy options. If not, the meals can sometimes be modified to suit your dietary preferences or restrictions.

Some people prefer whole, protein-rich foods, such as steak or fish, along with a side of veggies and perhaps a baked potato. Fast-food restaurants usually have vegetarian options as well.

Take your time reading through the menu. You’ll most likely find something healthy—or something that can be made healthier with simple modifications.

Click here to read more about the healthiest fast food choices.