You have several options at each restaurant, so if one of the restaurants isn't
nearby, you can use one of the others twice and have something different. We've also thrown in
occasional facts and figures about the other menu choices, just so you know what kind of
damage eating fast food can do to your figure if you aren't careful. We've kept nearly all the fast
food lunches at less than 500 calories (all calorie counts come right from the restaurant's web sites).
(Article continued below.)
Day 1 — Wendy's
Celebrate your first day with a 6 oz. Junior Frosty™ (160 calories, 4 grams fat). If you're not in the mood for a Frosty™, of if you're feeling especially virtuous, you can have a side salad with Low-Fat Honey Mustard Dressing (145 calories, 3 grams of fat).
Perhaps you're wondering why none of Wendy's meal salads are a selection. The reason is they're all served with very high calorie dressings — take the lightest example here, the Spring Mix Salad. It sounds harmless, and without the dressing it is. The salad itself is a mere 180 calories. Even adding the pecans at another 130 calories is okay — even though the 13 extra added fat grams are a bit much for a diet, nuts are rich in healthy, non-saturated fats. But then there's the 190 calorie House Vinaigrette Dressing — that makes it 500 calories total, and a not-terribly filling 500 calories at that. For the same calorie count you can indulge in the Sour Cream & Chives Baked Potato and dessert! Yes, you could replace the dressing with the Fat Free French, but even that has 80 calories, which is a lot for a fat-free dressing. Wendy's needs a lower-calorie, reduced-fat or fat-free dressing to bring its salads down to a reasonable lunch choice.
Day 2 — Subway
Since Jared Fogel very publicly lost 245 pounds on Subway fare, making this place a fast food diet choice is a no brainer. And you have more choices here than anywhere else.
Choose one. Remember to skip the mayo, oil and cheese and stick to one of the standard breads —
White, Wheat, Sourdough or Hearty Italian:
Surprisingly, four 6-inch Double Meat subs qualify:
And don't forget the deli sandwiches:
Since this is a low calorie, not a low carb diet, there's only one Atkins®-friendly wrap that
qualifies (the rest are over the calorie limit):
Add a Veggie Delite® Salad with Fat Free Italian Dressing (95 calories, 1 gram fat)
A cup of one of the following soups:
If your sandwich is 310 calories or less, you can have both soup and salad. That's a lot of food for under 500 calories!
Day 3 — Taco Bell
Taco Bell has made efforts to create healthier menu options, so you can now have something closer to an actual meal than just one skimpy soft taco and an order of Pintos 'n Cheese (180 calories, 7 grams fat, 6 grams fiber). There are over a dozen meal items you can order "Fresco Style," which means they replace the cheese and/ or higher-fat sauce with a tasty tomato, onion and cilantro salsa. This can save you up to a hundred calories and 10 grams of fat. Here are the options that will give you a decent lunch for under 500 calories:
Get the Pintos 'n Cheese your choice of the following:
2 Crunchy Tacos "Fresco Style" (300 calories, 14 grams fat for both)
If you choose one of the following items, you can get it regular instead of "fresco Style":
If any of your meal choices is 290 calories or less, you can opt for the Mexican Rice (210 calories, 10 grams fat) instead of the Pintos 'n Cheese, but we recommend you go with the beans — they are more filling and you get a nice amount of fiber.
Day 4 — McDonald's
In 2002 McDonald's was hit by several lawsuits from plaintiffs who claimed the fast food's fare made them fat (as if these people had no choice in their menu options). You have probably also heard of the documentary Super Size Me, in which the filmmaker gained weight, along with a load of health problems, when he ate nothing but food from McDonald's. Since the company has received so much unfavorable press in the past couple of years, it has made efforts to offer a selection of healthier choices. Unfortunately, unless you want to spend a lot of time creating a special order, your low-calorie options are still pretty slim. The McDonald's website offers a whole section of nutrition tips if you want to figure out how to make their menu diet-friendly. You can check out their information at your leisure (there are a number of pages or .pdf files to browse through); right now we're going to cut to chase and list the ready-made items that will give you a 500-calorie-or-less lunch:
Choose one of the following:
Surprise — you do get dessert! If your local McDonald's offers it, we recommend the Apple Dippers with Low Fat Caramel Dip (100 calories, 1 gram fat). Otherwise you can have the Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait (160 calories, 2 grams fat) or the Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone (150 calories, 3.5 grams fat). And you really should reward yourself with one of these desserts after your Spartan lunch.
Day 5 — Chick-Fil-A
Chick-Fil-A, as its name implies, specializes in chicken. While they certainly have their higher calorie choices, like the Chicken Deluxe Sandwich, which has 420 calories and 16 grams of fat, you've got some diet options:
Your side dish choices — pick one:
Day 6 — Carl's Jr.
Carl's Jr. low-calorie choices are as sparse as McDonald's. But you do have a couple options — no one's forcing you to consume a 919 calorie, 51-fat-gram Double Western Bacon Cheeseburger (add onion rings — 436 calories, 22 grams of fat — and a small Coca-Cola Classic at 263 calories, that's a day's worth of calories and more fat than you would consume on one full day of this diet!).
Add the following as directed:
Day 7 — KFC
Okay, so KFC got bashed for trying to claim its fried chicken constituted a healthy meal choice, but the fast food franchise does have a few decent lower-calorie choices. And since it's the last day of the diet, we're gonna let you indulge — note that corn on the cob and mashed potatoes are both side order choices!
With the Tender Roast Sandwich, you get:
With the BBQ Sandwich, you get:
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