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Food on the Run: Wendy's

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Sometimes you have to eat on the run. Sometimes you just want to eat away from home. But can you fit fast food into a healthy diet? Of course! Here are some healthy options you can find when dining out at Wendy's.

Most of these options are below 250 calories and 10 grams of fat and can be included in a health diet once in a while.

Jr. Hamburger
Calories - 220
Fat- 8 grams
Protein - 13 grams

Mandarin Chicken Salad (skip the almond, noodles and substitute the dressing)
Calories - 180
Fat - 2 grams
Protein - 24 grams

Chicken Caesar Salad (skip the croutons and substitute the dressing)
Calories - 180
Fat - 4 grams
Protein - 28 grams

Side Salad
Calories - 35
Fat - 0 grams
Protein - 1 gram

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Calories - 90
Fat- 6 grams
Protein - 0 grams

Fat Free French Dressing
Calories - 70
Fat - 0 grams
Protein - 0 grams

Small Chili
Calories - 190
Fat - 6 grams
Protein - 14 grams

Strawberry Yogurt Squeezerz
Calories - 70
Fat - .5 grams
Protein - 2 grams

Mandarin Orange Cup
Calories - 80
Fat - 0 grams
Protein - 1 gram

Low Fat Milk
Calories - 100 (white) 170 (chocolate)
Fat - 2.5 grams
Protein - 8 grams

Now that you have all these options, the fun is putting together a meal that best meets your nutrient needs. Here is a healthy meal from Wendy's that I would put together:

Wendy's Jr. Hamburger
Side Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Mandarin Oranges
Total = 445 calories; 14 grams fat; 15 grams protein

I will share other restaurant and meal ideas in the future. Let me know if you have a specific chain you would like to learn more about.

Share your meal combination ideas. Will you keep any of these ideas in mind next time you find yourself needing to eat out?

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Wendy's chili is great with either the side salad or a baked potato; I pour the chili on top and it's a very tasty, filling meal. Report
my fav combination at MCD is tuna salad plus low fat balsamic dressing. abt 270 cal together and very filling. Report
As others have noted, the McDonalds small vanilla cone is a great snack/treat. At 150 calories, it feels like an indulgence but has less calories than a granola bar. It's surprisingly filling too. Report
Thalia_82, thanks for the tip! I do love Wendy's baked potatoes but I, too, hate that goo they call "cheese." I had no idea that I could ask them to sub real shreds of cheddar! Wish they'd offer FF sour cream, tho. My meal has been a baked tato with just broc and a side salad, or the occasional grilled snack wrap. But I do try to stay clear altogether as I'm even now addicted to their fries. Report
Did anyone mention the low fat frozen yogurt at McDonalds? 3.5 grams of fat, get it in a cup to cut sweet cravings!! I share one with my boyfriend every once in a while. Report
Wendy's chili is the only thing I like. Report
YUCK to all of it! Report
My usual McDonald's meal is the "Bacon Ranch Salad" with grilled chicken, where I use the Newmann's own Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing instead of Ranch, and then take off the cheese/bacon. The meal then becomes vegetable salad, grilled chicken, and lite dressing. It's still salty, but other wise healthy.

There's nothing that says you can't make a meal HEALTHIER by removing the automatic add-ons. Just because the restaurant throws on the cheese doesn't mean you have to eat it.

I'm not sure exactly why cheese has become a regular "salad" ingredient anyway (Chili's and Denny's side-salads both have it). What a dumb idea. Report
hmm my favourite Wendy's meal is a small chili and broccoli cheddar baked potato, but I ask them to put the shredded cheese not that liquid (or as I call it, plastic) cheese over the potato. Then I cut up the potato and pour the chili over top, hmmm!! The liquid cheese is gross and full of fat, by substituting real shredded cheese you're cutting fat and calories, they also put less of it on the potato, when they use the liquid the poor potato is usually swimming in it. Report
Every Sundays my sisters and I go to burger King I wish they had somethimg about burger king.... This Sunday we will be going to Mc Donald's....God Bless!!
Thank you.... Report
The Zone Diet also recommends McDonald's egg mcmuffin as a decent choice. It is a balanced carb/protein ratio. Get it without the cheese and it will reduce the fat Report
Wendys-Ultimate Chicken Grill and a Sour Cream and Chives Potato. Only 11 g fat and 590 if you eat the sourcream they provide. Sometimes I'm taking this home so I use my own fat free sourcream instead. Report
i love the soft serve at mcdonalds....that is my treat once in a while...yummm Report
I was thinking about having a grilled snack wrap from McDonald's the other day, but the drive thru line was way too long! Good to know its an option!! Report
I had the Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad last week. The chicken was much better than I expected, there was plenty of lettuce, and I dropped a little salad dressing and then shook it up. I'd recommended it. Report
"I'm loving it!" :) Report
Thanks! I needed that, I got to work and realized I didn't bring anything! I was trying to figure out what I could find that was kind of healthy on campus :) Report
Unfortunately when I go to Wendy's I gotta have my spicy chicken sandwhich. I do however always have the 35 calorie side sald rther than fries. I quit eating all but an occasion french fry years ago. Report
The chicken snack wraps at McD's are pretty good. And I usually only eat just one. But sometimes, I just gotta have a quarter pounder with cheese. We used to eat a lot of fast food, but now it's more like a treat a couple of times a month. Report
I usually get a classic grilled chicken sandwich from McDonald's (no mayo, of course). Sometimes I just need a meal that's... hot. I get tired of salad and eating cold food all the time because those are mostly what healthy options on the run consist of. Apple slices, yogurt, oranges, salads, milk... At least Wendy's offers chili that's reasonably low in fat and calories. I'd like to see more options like that from fast food chains. Report
The honey mustard grill snack wrap is a great choice at McDonald's as far as flavor and portion sizing. Report
Wendy's is a better choice than McD's in my town. The food is higher quality and more predictible. I also like the soft serve cones from McD's as a cold, sweet treat when on the run! Report
If McD's is the only option I opt for the side salad and hamburger, I used to love their fries(actually still do) but I am working at it.
At Wendy's the chili has always been a fave for me along with a ceasar side with a low fat dressing option. Report
I love McDonald's french fries! So, lately when I take the kids there, I have a salad instead of a burger and allow myself a small fry instead of the large fry I used to get. :0) Report
I love wendy's mandarin chix salad!!! I use the almonds and a pinch of the noodles, and about half the dressing. I wish they would go back to using less iceberg lettuce though.....As for McDonald's, I go about once per year when I have absolutely nowhere else to go, then pay for it later with a severe stomach ache and chest pains...no thanks! Report
I usually get a McChicken or two when I go, but it's only once every month or so. Report
I would like to see some idea for pizza hut. This is good info for McD's and Wendy's! Report
wait a min, the BIG MAC is not healthy?? Report
I'm not seeing my "usual" meal of 2 McDoubles and a small fry listed, guess I need to make some serious changes.. thanks again! Report
Great info! Report
Good info. I wish I'd seen the Wendy's chili here. It seems pretty tasty, low in fat, but likely high in sodium. Thanks for the article. Report
i like a small chili and side salad too- yum! Report
Someone mentioned McD's nutritional site, Wendy's has a really great one as well. You can build your own meal and add and subtract condiments. I wish Subway had that option. Fast food may not be the best choice, but I figure if I eat smaller portions once a week instead of a full sized combo 3 times a week it's progress.
Carl's Jr. is terrible though. I don't understand why their food is so much higher than the equivalent elsewhere, but yikes! Report
Wendy's -- my favorite is a side salad and small chili--I dump the chili on top of the salad and don't need dressing. It is good and very filling, if I am still hungry I may get something else...no fry temptation at wendy's though, there fries are terrible.

McDonald's--Sometimes, I just get a happy meal, I know it isn't the best but it is still lower than others. When I go to Mcd's I want a cheeseburger and fries, I just can't help it. Or sometimes I just get a cheeseburger, apple dippers and caramel sauce. As long as I have my cheeseburger. Report
I just started Feb 23 and I am still learning but I sure am glad I read this article as my husband always picks Thurs to go to Wendy's. I love the Baked potato with Chili and it looks like the numbers are ok and filling as well. Report
I can't stand fast food salads they have a process taste to them. Gross! I just make sure I have a hearty breakfast like oatmeal because it can hold me off til I get home. I am so done with fast food as a whole. Even if you remotely go your choices are so tired! Bland chicken no fat this no fat that! Mines well make a cheat day and eat what you want! Report
Another idea: McDonald's and several other chains offer their nutrition menu online. For those of you who would like added info, this would be a good place to look at. Also, McDonald's' site will let you put together your own food groupings and tell you the total nutrition info. And, it will let you subtract an item such as mayo off of a sandwich and tell you the info. Report
With all the money spent on bad fast food, you can buy hormone free beef, high fructose free buns (french bread, german rolls etc.), make your own burgers and feed a whole family. Go to McD's for coffee only and after a while you are so proud of yourself watching the rest of the population stuff their faces with junk!! It is actually pretty disgusting!
It takes 1000s of calories to stay heavy and you know it. Report
Good to know, but I think I've eaten Mac food twice in the last 5 yrs but still good to know. Report
Good Ideas but I never eat MCDonalds food anyway its just to discusting:( Report
You can also put together a small chili with a plan baked potato. Forget the butter and sour cream - just put the chili right on the potato and it's delicious! Report
sorry know not now Report
I am a dollar menu girl bad i now Report
Good information for an "on the go" lunch.. Report
I wish they included the nutrition on the baked potato at Wendy's I like to get the potato with a small chili..pass on butter and sour cream. I like to put a little of the chili on top the potato and then eat it all. From McDonalds I only get the fruit and yogurt parfait although I remeber a food showdown that said the icecream mcdonalds uses is lowfat and that the kiddie cone won the showdown. Also said you could splurge on the regular size cone just skip the sundae. Report
I use to go to McDonald's quite a bit, but now, I don't really care for most of their food. They could stand to add something new to the menu, that taste good, and isn't loaded with salt and fat. Thanks for checking these food places out for us. I do like Wendy's small chilli. Used to like their salad ,until they changed the lettuce that they use. I prefer iceburg lettuce for my salads. Report
I wish you would have listed carbs for these foods. Those of us with diabetes would greatly appreciate it. Report
Where I live and work (London, UK) fast food of this kind is seeminlgly decreasing in popularity - what is on the rise is fresh sandwich and salad places - like Pret a Manger (which is in NY too), and in the road I work (which is a fairly historic street) I have a burrito snack bar, a japanese bento box place, a salad resturant, a stir fry restuarant, a pret, two starbuck and a tiny mcdonalds all within a 2 minute walk of where I am. As most of the food is fresh very little of it is labelled with nutition info, but some of it is available on the internet. My general finding is that almost anything is healthier than macdonalds! Report
I am diabetic and would like to see the Carb count on these items to help me track better if I do end up having to stop for a quick something to eat. Report
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