In a new partnership with Seattle's Best Coffee, Burger King looks to compete with McDonald's
Burger King is looking to give McDonald's and its McCafés a run for their money: now, you'll start seeing specialty lattes at Burger Kings as soon as March.
MSN Money shares that the lineup of 10 new coffee drinks, which includes vanilla, mocha, and caramel lattes and iced coffees plus Arabica brewed coffee, is thanks to a partnership with Seattle's Best Coffee chain. And while it's pretty clear that Burger King is hoping to lure people away from their McCafés, there's more to it — while soda sales are on the decline, coffee drink sales are trending up. Coffee makes for a $32 billion industry — a lot of moolah. As restaurant industry researcher Malcom Knapp put it to USA Today, "[Coffee drinks] are a lot more profitable than cheeseburgers or fries."
And the real winner behind Burger King's new drinks? Starbucks. Seattle's Best is a Starbucks-owned chain, which means for every vanilla latte you buy at Burger King, Starbucks will get a cha-ching at the register. (And hey, it's way cheaper than Starbucks — $1.49 for a small iced coffee, and $3.49 for a large latte.) Only time will tell whether BK's push forward will cramp McDonald's McCafé sales.
THE TREND-INSPIRED EVOLUTION OF THE FOODSERVICE INDUSTRY
Trends come and go, albeit fashion, music or food. In the case of the foodservice industry, it’s safe to say that anyone paying close attention to the carousel that is food trends has witnessed countless changes, from menu options to where and how trendy items are prepared and served. And with the continuum of food trends piquing our palates and then fading out of the limelight, the focus has shifted a bit to highlight not only on food trends, but how they affect the foodservice industry.
What is a Trend?
To fully understand the conception and evolution of food-related developments, it’s important to note that a trend is defined as style or vogue currently popular. And in the digitally published article Trend vs. Fad: Food Marketers should think more like venture capitalist on SmartBlog’s Food & Beverage segment, there are two types of food trends:
- Steady-burn trends, which last decades and are often recession-proof
- Long-arc trends that eventually peak and slowly decline
What Causes the Decline?
When it comes to decreased food interest, a major culprit is opioids – a pleasure releasing brain chemical stimulated by new experiences that become less intense after several repeated experiences of the same thing, yielding a “been there, done that” result, as published in Why People Get Bored by www.psychologytoday.com. Additionally, market saturation is a definite factor in trend decline. Further growth, according to Investopedia.com, can only be achieved through market share gains, a rise in consumer demand, or product improvements.
With opioids and market saturation both affecting the popularity of food trends, it could be safe to assume that a culinary development dies off once it becomes a gastronomic bore however, the seeming end is not particularly final for any specific flavor experience.
World-renowned Chef Daniel Boulud’s insight on this topic is noted in a simple and straight to the point phrase, where he states “Trends have to die in order to reinvent themselves.” However, this doesn’t only apply to food trends, but food establishments as well.
Trends and Trailblazers
Internal restructuring, rebranding, and overall presentation are the ingredients for brand revival within the industry. Recent examples of trendsetting trailblazers in the food industry are major influencers such as the mega-successful Panera, Wendy’s, and Starbucks chains that transitioned customer-focused trends into major, long-standing movements throughout the industry.
For instance, Panera added caloric counts to its menu before the government ruling for restaurants to do so had become official Wendy’s being a forerunner in sourcing better ingredients and Starbucks returning to the handcrafted latte model were examples of industry leaders setting the pace for change. Additionally, grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Eataly were pioneers in offering full-scale grocerants, which raised the bar in the grocery industry regarding what consumers have come to demand, and what other kinds of restaurants must do to remain competitive.
What a Difference Reinvention Makes
What the customer wants, they shall receive including everything from trendy ingredients to the reinvention of old classics that run the gamut from all-day breakfast options to late-night snacks.
In regard to the first meal of the day, QSR breakfast sandwiches date back to Jack in the Box’s 1969 Breakfast Jack, featuring a fried egg, ham, and American cheese on a bun. But customer demand championed change. Therefore, the breakfast revolution began with the addition of biscuits, muffins and tortillas as alternative options to regular buns for breakfast sandwiches. The recent upgrade to flatbreads, wraps, tacos, and burritos, as well as baked goods such as scones, muffins, donuts, and mini cakes are now offered as standard breakfast items. And to keep the interest of choosy breakfast eaters, portable oatmeal in several flavor varieties, and innovative waffle and pancake breakfast sandwiches garnish breakfast menus across the country.
Seeing as offering daypart options are a definite way to increase sales, even food giants such as Taco Bell, traditionally known for their Tex-Mex lunch and late-night cuisine, has hopped on the bandwagon of breakfast sales, offering traditional combinations in burrito and taco form. The company also boasts portability as a selling point with wraps that encompass every element of a breakfast meal in its contents.
Adding to the significance of the breakfast trend is upgraded coffee selection, as QSRs are aware of the changing culture among coffee drinkers now looking for more gourmet blends.
Going, Going, Gone Gourmet
Establishments such as QuikTrip® and Sheetz are modern examples of gourmet convenience store chains that are catering to the growing audience of consumers who seek more upscale provisions. Their menus read like a short novel of tempting goods, including freshly made flatbread sandwiches, pizzas, premium milkshakes, chicken wings, fresh salads, and other goodies that outshine the typical roller-grilled hot dog. Sheetz allows consumers to order online via their website – a far cry from the casual walk-in convenience store of yesteryear.
And due to a sociological sway in public opinion regarding health, foodservice providers across the board are focusing on the trend of shrinking their menus and creating the modern, chic eating environment today’s consumer expects.
Sociology and Edutainment
Fitness gurus of the past such as Richard Simmons, Jack LaLanne and Jane Fonda were the go-to sources for mainstream information about health. Today there are television shows such as The Doctors, Dr. Oz and The Biggest Loser that tap into people’s emotional sides when it comes to health. On top of that, almost anything people want to find out about is only a keystroke away from public knowledge thanks to the Internet. The masses no longer depend on nutritionists and personal trainers as a sole source for optimal health information, and they have taken their newfound knowledge and health-focused demands to foodservice operators, setting the path for the expansive health trend that is currently overtaking the industry.
Starting with children, foodservice giant McDonald’s has incorporated items such as yogurt, fruit, fat-free chocolate milk, low fat white milk, and apple juice into their famous Happy Meals. Burger King followed suit with the addition of Satisfries to their menu, as well as apple slices, apple juice and chocolate milk. Wendy’s, KFC, Subway, Sonic, DQ, and Arby’s are other examples of restaurants following the trend of better nutrition for children with the addition of fruit, juices, yogurts and milk to their menus as well.
Also, more of a food-allergy and gluten-free focus has been sweeping through the industry as part of the health trend.
A greater push for more protein-rich ingredients and dishes have also become more widespread, as well as bite-sized entrees (tapas) and snacks to support portion control, and reduced calorie meal options can be found on almost every FSR in the industry.
How Do I Look?
It’s not just about the aesthetic-inspired trend of “boutiquing” eating establishments to make consumers comfortable, but also the trend of looking knowledgeable to the general public overall. Conceived from this idea is the trend of creating a suitable environment for all diners with the addition of customizing dining options banning the use of cell phones while dining as to not disturb other guests, and declining special food requests to ensure timely service.
International influences are a factor as well in terms of trends. With America being the salad bowl of nationalities, palates are becoming more adventurous and open to flavors outside of American culture, such as Indian spices, and Asian cuisine. Be aware that structured eating is also a thing of the past, as meals are interchangeable now, i.e., breakfast can be served for dinner, and snacks are consumed as meals.
There is no doubt that as long as new spices, fruits, vegetables, or any other kinds of consumables continue to surface as safe to consume, the foodservice industry will continue to evolve. New trends will be ever-present on the menus of eateries across the country, and consumers will continue to turn out for a taste of the latest and greatest.
Burger King Hops on Specialty Coffee Bandwagon - Recipes
I'm kind of a huge frappe fan. I don't really go out of my way to get Starbucks because (don't shoot me) I don't think it's all that good. In fact, most of their drinks are just weird tasting. Except the frappuccinos. I love the frappuccinos. I also completely love the BK Caramel Frappe. I know McD's has one too.
But what in the world do they put in that stuff? I mean seriously, do people even think about it? But I digress. I made a frappe at home. and so easy and more delicious than the stuff you get at any place - gonna make this all the time!
- 1/2 cup strong coffee, frozen
- 3 Tbsp. caramel syrup (the kind in the coffee aisle - not the ice cream sundae stuff)
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 10 to 12 ice cubes
- Whipped cream (the kind in a can)
- Caramel Ice Cream topping
8 comments :
I don't care for their coffee either, too strong or bitter or something, but I do like the frozen frappe drinks. I have a Keureg, so don't know how to get strong coffee. Maybe instant? I'd love for you to join my first Worth Wednesday Link Party, http://forwhatitsworth-jeannie.blogspot.com/2012/11/tortilla-roll-up.html
Yuuum! You're not alone on the Starbucks thing - I really don't get the big deal either. Pinning this great recipe :)
Oooh sounds delicious! I am actually a gold card carrying big fan of starbucks hehe :) But I won't hold your dislike of starbucks against you!
Visiting from Worthy Weds :)
Love, love, love your new look! And, featuring this today from MTM. Thanks for sharing!
Love this one! And totally agree with you when it comes to Starbucks!
Thank you for sharing this at Wednesday Extravaganza! Hope to see you there again this week :)
This is my fave drink at Starbucks! Can't wait to try your recipe.
Visiting from http://www.fiveoritethings.com
I have tried this using my Keurig. What brand of K-Cups did you use. I am crazy about the McDonald's Caramel Frappe - I drink no less than 2 a day.
@Elizabeth Brooks - to be honest, I have no clue. We're big on Green Mountain Breakfast Blend and the Donut Shop coffees. Anything that's mild to medium roast.
THE #1 COPYCAT RECIPES WEBSITE
By making a few tweaks to basic pancake batter, including adding a little cake flour to the mix, typical flapjacks are deliciously converted into ritzy, flat red velvet cakes just like those offered for a limited time at the world's largest pancake chain.
But the recipe would not be complete without a sweet clone for the cream cheese icing that's drizzled over the top, so that's included here as well.
Cooking these pancakes on a griddle pan set over medium/low heat seems to work the best. Just be sure to give your pan plenty of time to heat up and only add the nonstick spray once.
I've copied a ton of items from IHOP. See if I hacked your favorites here.
Menu Description: “Four buttermilk pancakes layered with vanilla sauce and dulce de leche caramel sauce. Crowned with whipped topping.”
Re-creating this pancake version of Mexico’s mucho moist tres leches cake boils down to mastering two easy sauces: dulce de leche caramel and a vanilla sauce.
For the dulce de leche we’ll use a can of sweetened condensed milk, as do many traditional recipes. But I found that undiluted condensed milk produced caramel with an unpleasant canned-milk aftertaste. To improve the flavor, I first combined the condensed milk with whole milk, then cooked it down in a water bath the same way. The caramel sitting in the bottom of the pan was smooth and creamy, it tasted much better, and the process was as simple as it gets.
Turning to the vanilla sauce, I expected a basic formula at IHOP flavored with just vanilla extract, but I was pleasantly surprised to see real vanilla bean seeds in there. I excitedly added the seeds of a whole vanilla bean to our clone, in addition to the vanilla extract. But that’s not all the flavor we need for a match. I taste some butterscotch in there as well, so I’m including a little butterscotch flavoring in the final formula. If butterscotch isn’t your thing, feel free to replace that flavoring with an equal amount of vanilla extract.
Wendy's Classic Chocolate Frosty
The classic chocolate Frosty from Wendy's doesn't look too special or too unique, but there's just nothing else quite like it. While it appears to be chocolate ice cream, it's actually a dessert that resides somewhere between soft serve ice cream and an old fashioned milkshake. Furthermore, a classic chocolate Frosty is actually made with both chocolate and vanilla, making it the perfect flavor balance.
These days, you can also order a vanilla Frosty, but it's just not the same. Go with the classic version and then, if you really want the ultimate experience, dip your Wendy's fries in the Frosty while you're at it.
Restaurant Chains That Won’t Give the U.S. the Vegan Goods
Isn’t it so annoying when restaurants don’t eagerly hop on the vegan bandwagon? Yes. But I’ll tell you what’s even more annoying: when they are hopping on it in other countries but not in the U.S.! Why? What gives? Are we not vegan enough for them? Did we offend them with our desire to have a healthy, sustainable, and ethical lifestyle? What is it?
The seven restaurant chains below have a lot of explaining to do. Except not. 🙉 We just want them to update their menus across the U.S. with the vegan goods. See which ones are doing us dirty, and click on the links to take action while you’re at it.
In the U.S., this coffee and doughnut chain offers some great vegan options, including a Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich and oat milk lattes. While we’re still anxiously awaiting vegan doughnut options here, we’re happy to see that Dunkin’ is debuting a huge vegan menu at its stores in Belgium and the Netherlands. An impressive menu of over 40 vegan doughnuts is making its way to these locations in Europe, with fun flavors like Strawberry & Crème, Chocolate Chip, and Confetti. We can’t wait until some of these flavors make their way across the Atlantic. Until then, you can enjoy Dunkin’s other vegan options and grab a vegan doughnut at other shops across the country.
Brits can choose from seven different vegan pizzas at Papa John’s U.K., including a jackfruit “pepperoni” pie and the new Alice Tai vegan pizza, which features vegan sausage, chestnut mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet corn, onions, black olives, and a stuffed crust with vegan cheese. The chain is even offering crispy Not-Chicken Vegan Bites alongside several other savory sides. Papa John’s: better ingredients, better pizza, better make this stuff available in the U.S.
Krispy Kreme launched a vegan version of its original glazed doughnuts in the U.K. to celebrate “Veganuary.” These delicious sweet treats can be ordered by the dozen for nationwide delivery in the U.K. We’re looking forward to the day when U.S. locations do the same. In the meantime, you can get your vegan doughnut fix at plenty of other places.
Vegan chicken nuggets have made their way to Burger King menus in Germany, courtesy of the Dutch brand The Vegetarian Butcher. These bits of golden goodness, which are soy-based with a crunchy cornflake coating, can be ordered with ketchup, barbecue sauce, or sweet-and-sour sauce. The Vegetarian Butcher also makes Burger King Germany’s Rebel Whopper patty, which can be ordered vegan by omitting the mayonnaise. We think Burger King should offer these nuggets stateside, especially since vegan chicken is starting to make a splash in the fast-food market with KFC’s Beyond Chicken test. Your move, Burger King.
Shake Shack is at it again with this yummy burger. The Roadside Double comes with two beef patties covered in Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard, and onions simmered in bacon and beer. Let me just repeat that last part for you: onions simmered in bacon and beer. My soul is screaming for this burger.
McDonald’s came out with three new gourmet burgers this year, and this one is shockingly delicious. This burger comes with a quarter-pound beef patty, Applewood smoked bacon sprinkled with sweet maple seasoning, creamy Dijon sauce, grilled onions, white cheddar cheese, and lettuce. You get to choose an artisan roll or sesame seed bun – I recommend the artisan roll.
Our Definitive List of the Best and Worst Fast Food French Fries (Burger King's New Satisfries Not Included)AP Photo/Burger King, Noel Barnhurst
Earlier this week, Burger King—the corporation, not that guy in the creepy plastic mask from their commercials—unveiled a new lower-fat French fry. Lower-fat, not low-fat. Just pointing that out.
"Satisfries" are crinkle-cut fries coated in a thin layer of batter that absorbs less oil, B.K. says. A small serving contain 270 calories and 11 grams of fat, versus the regular fries' 340 calories and 15 grams of fat. They also cost about 30 cents more than regular fries.
Really: If you're pairing them with a Whopper, why bother?
"Satisfries" also contain 40 percent less fat and 30 percent fewer calories than McDonald's fries, "which are widely considered [be] the fast-food industry's most popular French fries." But does Micky D's also have the best French fries?
We weighed the pros and cons of the fries offered by some of the most popular fast food chains and now present them in our definitive, ranked list of the best and worst. Because science.
The 30 Healthiest Foods You Can Eat at Every Major Fast Food Chain
No matter how health-conscious you might be, at one point or another, you&rsquore bound to find yourself at a fast food restaurant. Because, well, life happens. You might be hangry before a work meeting or forget your carefully prepared lunch at home. (Argh!)
Luckily, fast food restaurants today are offering more options that fit into a wholesome diet. At some restaurants, that may admittedly come down to just one or two menu options&mdashbut those options are still much better alternatives to a typical high-calorie, fast food dish that&rsquos practically drowning in grease. As long as you don&rsquot make eating at places like McDonald's a habit (even the healthier selections may be high in sodium and fat), these meals can occasionally fit into a healthy diet.
Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal or Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal
Believe it or not, some of the pastries and breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks have as many calories as a fast food burger. The coffee chain&rsquos fiber-rich hot oatmeal options, however, are waistline-friendly and don&rsquot skimp on flavor. To keep your sugar intake to a minimum, say &ldquono thanks&rdquo to the optional sugar add-ins. The 160-calorie Classic Whole-Grain Oatmeal comes with brown sugar, and the 220-calorie Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal comes with agave syrup.
&ldquoThe oatmeal is a clear winner that&rsquos low in calories, sodium, and fat, and has 4 to 5 grams of fiber, plus it&rsquos served all day,&rdquo says Bethany Doerfler, a nutritionist at Northwestern Medicine. &ldquoWomen in particular often benefit from a nice dose of whole grains, because it&rsquos the best way to get magnesium, something often lacking in their diets and essential in reducing insulin resistance.&rdquo
Nutrition info: 220 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 43 g carbs (5 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 125 mg sodium, 5 g protein
Grilled Chicken Breast with Green Beans
Despite being the fried chicken kingdom of the world, KFC does offer grilled options&mdashwhich should be your only go-to at this chain.
&ldquoA grilled chicken breast would be great served with a vegetable side,&rdquo says Rachel Lustgarten, a clinical dietitian at the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill-Cornell Medicine. &ldquoKFC has actually done a pretty good job of switching up their side options. They have a greater variety of vegetables than you might find at other fast food outlets, including green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes.&rdquo
If you&rsquore bringing food home for the family, the 8-piece Bucket Meal comes with eight pieces of your choice of chicken, two large sides, and four biscuits. Stick to one grilled chicken breast and a veggie side for a satiating meal. Pro tip: If you opt for the chain&rsquos classic mashed potatoes (90 calories), order them without gravy to save calories and fat.
Nutrition info (per piece): 210 calories, 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 710 mg sodium, 38 g protein
Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad
Next time you find yourself at the home of the Big Mac, skip the greasy burger and fries and instead, order the Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad, minus the tortilla strips and the sugary cilantro lime glaze.
&ldquoTortilla strips seem pretty benign because they&rsquore small, but they&rsquore fried, so they&rsquore adding fat and calories,&rdquo says Lustgarten.
By swapping out the cilantro lime glaze dressing for Newman&rsquos Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and nixing the tortilla strips, you&rsquoll save 50 calories and 3 grams of fat. If you&rsquore looking to nix an additional 60 calories, order the salad without cheese. You&rsquoll still be left with a satiating blend of grilled chicken, lettuce, baby spinach and kale, carrots, roasted corn, black beans, roasted tomato, poblano pepper, and cilantro for a total of 240 calories and 33 grams of protein.
Nutrition info: 350 calories, 11 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 27 g carbs (6 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 1,070 mg sodium, 37 g protein
Skinny It Up Pizza
This pizza chain may be famous for its stuffed crust pizzas and gooey cheese sticks, but it also makes eating a lighter meal surprisingly easy with its Skinny It Up option&mdashwhich limits pizzas to 300 calories or less per slice.
&ldquoThis can be an easy way for people to moderate their choices,&rdquo Lustgarten says. &ldquoAdd as many vegetables as you&rsquod like, which can help you eat fewer slices because you&rsquoll feel more full.&rdquo
It&rsquos best to avoid meat at pizza chains since most of the options are high in sodium and heavily processed (we&rsquore looking at you, pepperoni), but if you have a meat craving you can&rsquot shake, your best bet is to go with grilled chicken or ground beef.
And to keep sodium to a minimum, order a Skinny It Up pizza with &ldquolight&rdquo cheese, suggests Lustgarten. &ldquoWith pizza, believe it or not, the combination of the cheese and the dough make it quite high in sodium before you add anything to it,&rdquo she says.
Nutrition info: 200-300 calories, depending on your toppings.
Hamburger Kids&rsquo Meal
This popular chain may tout the slogan &ldquoFan Food Not Fast Food,&rdquo but nutritionists aren&rsquot fans of many of menu items, which include options like fried cheese curds, chili cheese dogs, and fudge stuffed cookies.
Next time you find yourself at Dairy Queen craving a classic fast food staple, opt for the kids&rsquo hamburger, which is served with a banana and milk. If you can&rsquot kick the craving a sweet treat, go for a kid&rsquos sized vanilla ice cream cone (170 calories).
&ldquoI often encourage my clients to get a kids&rsquo meal, because it can give people the portion control they&rsquore looking for, helping them keep calories, saturated fat, and sodium in check,&rdquo Doerfler says.
Nutrition info: 320 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 620 mg sodium, 18 g protein
Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich
With its retro-inspired, super indulgent menu (which features things like hot dogs and chili cheese fries) eating healthy at Sonic isn&rsquot the easiest thing in the world, but it can be done.
&ldquoThe hot dogs are highly processed, which would be the biggest concern, and the bun is going to be refined carbohydrates,&rdquo says Neal Malik, RD, chair of the nutrition program at Bastyr University in San Diego. &ldquoGo for a grilled chicken sandwich, and ask to skip any sauce or mayonnaise. If they have packets on the side, you can add your own.&rdquo
Sonic offers a Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich, an all-white grilled chicken breast served on a whole grain ciabatta bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and light mayonnaise. Even if you don&rsquot limit your mayonnaise, this sandwich adds up to a decent meal of 460 calories. (Just don&rsquot confuse it with the higher-calorie Classic Fried Chicken Sandwich.)
If you&rsquore going to indulge in a fried side, remember this for any fast food restaurant: Opt for straight, thin French fries, rather than curly fries or tots. The more surface area a potato has, the more fatty oil it&rsquos going to get covered in, Malik points out.
Nutrition info: 490 calories, 22 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 42 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 1,370 mg sodium, 31 g protein
Veggie Egg White Flatbread
The World Health Organization has categorized processed meat as a carcinogen, and unfortunately for Dunkin&rsquo Donuts fans, their breakfast menu is full of the stuff. To ensure you&rsquore sitting down to at least a somewhat nutritious meal avoid the bacon- and sausage-topped sandwiches, as well as the donuts, which are full in fat and sugar, and bring little to the table in terms of nutrition.
&ldquoI want to make sure that fat and calories aside, that my clients limit as much as possible, if not avoid, the intake of smoked, cured, and processed meats,&rdquo Doerfler says. &ldquoDunkin&rsquo Donuts has breakfast sandwiches that have turkey bacon or Canadian bacon, which is lower in fat, but it&rsquos a processed meat that increases your risk of colon cancer.&rdquo
Instead, try the Veggie Egg White Flatbread, which boasts bell peppers, mushrooms, and green onions in an egg white patty. A &ldquoDDSmart Item&rdquo with 330 calories and 14 grams total fat, it has about 25% fewer calories, fat, and sodium than Dunkin&rsquo Donuts&rsquo sausage, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich.
Nutrition info: 160 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 15 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 510 mg sodium, 8 g protein
Power Menu Bowl Combo
Similar to McDonald&rsquos, Taco Bell is open to customizing their menu items, which makes choosing a healthy option easy. Opt for the Power Menu Bowl Combo, skipping the added cheese and sour cream.
&ldquoThose are two big areas of high fat and high calories,&rdquo Lustgarten says. &ldquoYou can switch out the rice as a base for the lettuce to make it more like a salad bowl.&rdquo
As for protein, stick with the chicken, or go meat-free and simply enjoy the bowl&rsquos veggies, beans, guacamole, and pico de gallo sauce. &ldquoThese make the meal really robust and filling without being dependent on the [meat],&rdquo Lustgarten says.
A Power Menu Bowl without chicken, added sauce, cheese, sour cream, and rice is just 190 calories with 6 grams fat and 3 grams sugar, making it ideal for a mini meal or craving-crushing snack.
Nutrition info: 500-930 calories, depending on what you add to your bowl.
Baked Potato Topped with Chili
At this chain, feel free to indulge in a &ldquocomfort&rdquo meal.&ldquoThey have a classic chili that would be a nice option served over the baked potato side,&rdquo Malik says. A small side of Wendy&rsquos Rich & Meaty Chili is just 170 calories, while the Plain Baked Potato is 270 calories&mdashand both are good sources of satiating fiber.
Nutrition info for chili: 170 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 16 g carbs (4 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 780 mg sodium, 15 g protein
Nutrition info for baked potato: 270 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 61 g carbs (7 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 25 mg sodium, 7 g protein
Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Whether this fast food chain is called Hardee&rsquos or Carl&rsquos Jr. in your region, one thing remains consistent: It likes its burgers tall, fatty, and gooey with cheese.
&ldquoWhile many fast food companies are going to lower-carb, nutritious, or healthy menu options, Carl&rsquos Jr. has kind of gone the opposite direction in doubling up on ingredients,&rdquo says Malik. &ldquoSo it&rsquos going to be a little more challenging to find better options there.&rdquo
That doesn&rsquot mean it&rsquos impossible, though. The chain has &ldquoTrim It&rdquo entrées under its &ldquoBetter For You Options&rdquo menu, including a Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich. This sandwich skips the unhealthy ingredients this restaurant is known for, like bacon, and fried onions, and instead, comes with grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce. Ask for the sauce on the side (you&rsquoll likely add less yourself than the chef), and you&rsquoll sit down to a savory sandwich with about 210 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. Even so, you won&rsquot want to make it this option a go-to. Like most fast food meals high in salt, packing nearly a half day&rsquos worth of sodium.
Nutrition info: 390 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 50 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 990 mg sodium, 30 g protein
12-Piece Grilled Nuggets
These grilled chicken bites are more than 200 calories less than their breaded counterparts. Lisa DeFazio, MS, RD, points out that they are a great option, as they are very high in protein, tasty, and lean. &ldquoChick-fil-A&rsquos under-50-calorie sauces&mdashsuch as Zesty Buffalo, Barbecue, Honey Mustard, and Sweet and Spicy Sriracha&mdashwill make them even tastier," she adds. She also suggests adding a garden salad (with low-calorie dressing) to get your veggies in.
Nutrition info: 210 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 670 mg sodium, 38 g protein
Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap
While these wraps are made with grilled chicken, lettuce, red cabbage, carrots and cheese all wrapped in a flaxseed-flour flat bread, they're relatively high in sodium. DeFazio points out that this is common for most menu items found at fast food restaurants. What makes them a good option, however, is that they're very high in fiber and protein.
Nutrition info: 350 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 29 g carbs (15 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 960 mg sodium, 38 g protein
Turkey Breast Sandwich
A six-inch turkey sub at Subway is one of the healthiest items on the menu, if you forgo the cheese and condiments and opt for their nine-grain wheat bread. DeFazio also suggests adding some avocado for healthy fat or mustard and vinegar to boost the flavor. If you want to forgo bread altogether, she points out that Subway also offers spinach wraps.
Nutrition info: 280 calories, 3.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 46 g carbs (5 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 760 mg sodium, 18 g protein
Spinach, Feta, and Cage-Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap
This vegetarian-friendly and protein-rich breakfast sandwich features cage-free egg whites, spinach, feta cheese and tomatoes inside a whole-wheat wrap. DeFazio says it's important to note that the sodium is on the high end, so be sure to watch your salt intake for the rest of the day. But it's still a good option for an on-the-go breakfast. The American Heart Association recommends you consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day with an ideal limit of 1,500 milligrams.
Nutrition info: 290 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 44 g carbs (6 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 830 mg sodium, 19 g protein)
Chicken & Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens
This salad bowl is filled with grilled chicken, black beans, roasted corn, jicama tomatoes, feta, spring greens, and quinoa and is served with a side of mild chili vinaigrette. &ldquoI love the balance of protein, fat, carbs, and fiber,&rdquo explains DeFazio.
Nutrition info: 360 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 38 g carbs (8 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 840 mg sodium, 14 g protein
Chicken Soft Taco "Fresco Style"
Did you know that you can order almost any item on the Taco Bell menu &ldquoFresco Style&rdquo? Ordering fresco style means swapping out the mayo-based sauces, cheeses, reduced-fat sour cream and guacamole with freshly prepared pico de gallo. You can also make your taco healthier by opting for fire-grilled chicken instead of shredded. &ldquoSometimes you just crave Taco Bell!,&rdquo exclaims DeFazio. &ldquoThis is a guilt-free way to satisfy cravings, because it is low cal and low fat.&rdquo
Nutrition info: 140 calories, 3.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbs (1 g fiber), 450 mg sodium, 11 g protein
Ancient Grain & Arugula Salad with Chicken
Nutrition info: 360 calories, 11 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 37 g carbs (5 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 135 mg sodium, 30 g protein
Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich on Tomato Basil
While the sodium might be high, this veggie-filled sandwich, it makes a good vegetarian option, explains DeFazio. It's filled with zesty sweet Peppadew&trade peppers, feta cheese, cucumbers, greens, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions a and cilantro-jalapeño hummus. &ldquoEveryone should consume a few vegetarian meals per week,&rdquo she says.
Nutrition info: 440 calories, 13 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 67 g carbs (6 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 1,230 mg sodium, 18 g protein
McDonald&rsquos classic burger &mdash seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with pickles, chopped onions and ketchup and mustard&mdash actually isn&rsquot all that bad for you compared other items on their menu. &ldquoIf you have to have a burger, this will do the least damage,&rdquo says DeFazio. Consider ditching the bun if you're craving the protein and don't need the carbs.
Nutrition info: 250 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 31 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 480 mg sodium, 13 g protein
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Another protein-packed option over at Wendy&rsquos is a bun-free grilled chicken sandwich. &ldquoHowever, if you don&rsquot eat the bun you may crave carbs later, so order a salad with fruit with it if you can,&rdquo DeFazio suggests.
Nutrition info: 200 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 5 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g fiber), 510 mg sodium, 28 g protein
Grilled Chicken Sandwich, No Mayonnaise
While some of their breaded and fried chicken sandwiches are easily around 1,000 calories, this grilled chicken sandwich is just 360 calories and is surprisingly healthy. At 36 grams of protein, 39 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fiber, it's a great option for someone with type 1 or 2 diabetes.
&ldquoLearning to eat on-the-go is essential when trying to live a healthy lifestyle, regardless of your medical conditions,&rdquo explains Laura Cipullo, RD, the founder of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services in New York City and the co-author of Diabetes Comfort Food Diet along with the Editors of Prevention, and Everyday Diabetes, Meals for 1 or 2. &ldquoHaving choices at places such as Burger King makes living with diabetes a little easier," she says.
Nutrition info: 360 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 39 g carbs (6 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 760 mg sodium, 36 g protein
Thin-Crust Pizza With Chicken and Veggies
The key to ordering healthier pizza is opting for a thin crust over anything thicker. Ask to go light on the cheese and load up on protein-rich grilled chicken and an abundance of veggies, Cipullo suggests.
&ldquoAdd broccoli for cancer-fighting free radicals and calcium,&rdquo she explains. &ldquoOlives are also a great choice because of their monounsaturated fat, but be mindful of their high-sodium content.&rdquo The greater the variety of veggies will also increase the flavor profile. &ldquoWith the calories, carbs and protein so low, you can choose two to three slices to feel both filled and satisfied,&rdquo she says. But because of the high sodium, you should drink plenty of water with your pizza. It's also important to note that the nutritional info changes, depending on how many vegetables you add to your dish.
Nutrition info:143 calories, 6.5 g fat, 15 carbs (2 g sugar), 290 mg sodium, 5.5 g protein
While there are many healthy eating options at Chipotle, Cippulo is a fan of their Burrito Bowl. &ldquoGo for chicken, black beans, brown rice and two servings of veggies,&rdquo she recommends. Add a little calcium, vitamin D and fat with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. However, beware of the salsa, she warns that it's higher in sodium than you might think. Also be mindful of the sour cream and ask for just one spoonful. Same goes for the guacamole.
Nutrition info: 655 calories, 22.5 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 65 g carbs (11 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 1,050 mg sodium, 51 g protein
Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad
You can still eat bacon without derailing your diet. This hearty salad from Arby's features turkey, bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, tomatoes, mixed greens, and iceberg lettuce. It's packed with three servings of protein and some fats and fiber, which will keep you full and energized for the rest of the day, explains Elizabeth Adler, MS, RD, CDN. &ldquoMake this even healthier by adding your own dressing of EVOO and vinegar, and of course, add a bottle of water.&rdquo
Nutrition info: 285 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 8 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 870 mg sodium, 22 g protein
Nutrition info:285 calories, 13 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 8 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 870 mg sodium, 22 g protein
Chicken Fajita Pita
This whole-grain pita&mdashfilled with grilled chicken, shredded cheddar, lettuce, grilled onions, and tomato&mdashis a "warm, satisfying, and balanced meal choice," Adler says. &ldquoA powerful mixture of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, it will keep you energized and satisfied,&rdquo she says. She suggests pairing it with a Gold Peak fresh brewed ice tea to stay hydrated.
Nutrition info: 346 calories, 12 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 36 g carbs (4 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 1,117 mg sodium, 24 g protein
3-Piece Blackened Chicken Tenders
These breadless chicken tenders don't skimp on flavor or juiciness. &ldquoThe Blackened Chicken Tenders offer a low-carbohydrate alternative for someone with diabetes or someone who is watching their carbohydrate intake, as three tenders provides only two grams of carbohydrates,&rdquo explains Lisa Mikus, RD, CNSC, CDN, co-author of Everyday Diabetes Meals&mdashCooking for One or Two. To get your veggies fix, you can add some green beans (40 calories) or mashed potatoes (110 calories).
Nutrition info: 170 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 550 mg sodium, 26 g protein
The broccoli beef option from Panda Express is extremely flavorful, and is very low in calories. &ldquoThe broccoli provides fiber, calcium and all the nutrients for which broccoli is famous, and the beef provides iron as well as protein for staying power,&rdquo explains Cipullo. Because this dish is so low in calories, consider adding a side of their mixed veggies and incorporate it into the broccoli beef dish for a well-rounded and more satisfying meal. &ldquoIf you&rsquore looking for more carbohydrates, they also offer steamed brown rice, which you could add as a side,&rdquo she suggests.
Nutrition info: 150 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 13 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 520 mg sodium, 9 g protein
While it doesn&rsquot appear on their official menu, Five Guys posted a photo of their bun-free bowl on Facebook, and it went totally viral. It&rsquos basically a burger in a bowl, and you can make it as healthy as you please. &ldquoThe Five Guys burger patty offers 18 grams of protein and is free of allergens such as gluten, peanut, and MSG,&rdquo explains Cipullo. &ldquoIt's a great option for someone with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.&rdquo She suggests adding one slice of cheese and any fresh veggies you desire, including green pepper, jalapenos, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. But hold the pickles because of the preservatives and artificial coloring. &ldquoIf you want to use a condiment, opt for mustard,&rdquo she adds.
Nutrition info: 372 calories, 23 g fat (11.5 g saturated fat), 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 70 mg sodium, 20 g protein
This fast food chain has jumped on the veggie noodle bandwagon. Made with zoodles (zucchini noodles), almonds, cream, sun-dried tomatoes, vegetables and feta, Mikus says it's the perfect meal if you are trying to keep your carbs in check but are craving pasta. &ldquoIt&rsquos gluten-free and offers a ton of flavor without a lot of calories,&rdquo she explains. However, she points out that it is high in sodium content, so be sure to drink lots of water with it.
Nutrition info: 280 calories, 21 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 17 g carbs (5 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 1,460 mg sodium, 9 g protein
Hummus Veg Out
This veggie sandwich includes a baked multigrain roll with some hummus and the Garden Veggie Shmear. It's topped with tomato, arugula, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, and red onion. According to Cipullo, it's a great vegetarian option that will fill you up.
&ldquoSince it offers all three macros (carbohydrate, protein and fat), it&rsquos likely to keep you satisfied until your next meal,&rdquo she explains. Due to the high fiber content, your net carb intake will be 54 grams, keeping this right in line with consistent carbohydrate counting. &ldquoThe arugula, roasted red peppers and red onion pack a ton of flavor and antioxidants to fight inflammation.&rdquo
Nutrition info: 420 calories, 12 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 62 g carbs (8 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 830 mg sodium, 17 g protein