Healthy fast foods do exist: Just choose wisely

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Healthy fast foods, table with fast foods

Would you be surprised if your doctor says it’s okay to take a detour via the drive-thru? Women’s heart health specialist Suzanne Steinbaum, MD and cardiologist Joel Kahn, MD, shared some ideas. There is no getting away from the fact that frequent indulgence of burgers can cause life-threatening heart disease. However, what to do if your fast food craving becomes overwhelming. Good News! Some fast foods are healthy and even good for heart health.

Options for healthy fast foods

The two doctors shared the hidden healthy choices on the menus of five fast-food chains. They say the secret is making healthy choices. Going in and ordering a Quarter-Pounder with extra cheese is not the way to do it.

healthy fast foods, Burger King
Burger King

Burger King

Dr. Kahn notes that having burgers as a part of your weekly menu is not okay. However, Burger King’s Impossible Whopper has a soya patty, making it a healthier choice than a beef patty. Nevertheless, even a soya burger has unhealthy salt and fat — or sodium and saturated fat.

Having a soya patty does not make the Impossible Whopper a health food — it is still a burger. The whopper will only be a healthy choice if you swop the mayo and cheese toppings for tomato and lettuce. Soya is a good source of Omega 6, crucial for brain function, and tomato and lettuce are rich in antioxidants. In contrast, mayo is almost pure oil, and after preparation, the cheese is saturated fat.

Healthy fast foods, Burrito
Build a Burrito Bowl at Chipotle

Chipotle has healthy fast foods options

The Chipotle Burrito Bowl could be healthy if you choose wisely. Some suggest instead of wasting calories on carbs or white rice, choose veggies, protein and beans. However, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum says that the best choice for heart health is tomato, lettuce, rice and beans.

The beans make the burrito bowl a hearty protein bowl. No other ingredient could provide as much soluble fiber, which lowers LDL cholesterol risks. Furthermore, beans are a good source of antioxidants, decreasing the risks of certain cancers. In addition, the antioxidants in tomatoes lower inflammation risks.

Healthy fast food, 2 Burritos
Choose wisely at Taco Bell

Taco Bell

You must have gathered by now that beans will always be a winner when it comes to food choices and healthy fast foods. According to Dr. Kahn, it is very true that choosing beans is good for heart health. Furthermore, selecting tomatoes instead of cheese will increase the nutritional value of your Taco Bell meal.

Did you know that one Taco Bell Burrito provides half of the recommended daily portion of fiber? Also, it will provide 20% of your daily iron requirement, which provides further cardiovascular disease protection.

Healthy Fast Foods, Baked Potato
Choose chili instead of cheese at Wendy’s


Any carb haters might tell you not to have one of Wendy’s baked potatoes. However, Dr. Kahn asserts that potatoes are healthy. A Wendy’s baked potato is rich in fiber, and it will provide half of your daily required potassium. Potassium is crucial in the regulation of blood pressure, making this menu choice a heart-healthy one.

Here too, declining the usual toppings of butter, bacon, cheese and sour cream is essential. Choosing a side of chili beans instead can add this to the list of healthy fast foods.

Healthy fast foods, burger
Dunkin Donuts Beyond Sausage still healthier than bacon

Dunkin Donuts

The Dunkin Donuts Beyond Sausage contain healthy ingredients, which, sadly, are compromised by some equally unhealthy ingredients. The primary ingredient of the Beyond Sausage is pea flour, a healthy protein. It contains significant amounts of lysine, which helps to produce energy from fatty acids. In addition, it contains arginine, an ingredient that helps to lower blood pressure. Up to here, it is a healthy choice.

On the other hand, along with the goodness, the sausage contain coconut and soybean oil. The addition of these saturated fats goes against the heart health of the product. Nevertheless, Dr. Kahn says it still beats bacon as a healthy breakfast sandwich choice.

There you have it!  Healthy Fast Foods

Armed with this information, you can stop feeling guilty after giving in to your cravings. As long as you remember that the choices of sides and other additives are key to keeping it healthy.

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