Ask the Health Coach: Are There Any Healthy Fast Food Options?

Sometimes, fast food's your only option. But between Wendy's and Burger King and a zillion other options, which is best? Health coach Maura Manzo offers her best bets.

Dear Maura,

You’re in the car, the kids are screaming, and you have to hit a drive thru to calm them down. What’s the best option? McDonald’s? Burger King? Taco Bell? Wendy’s? Chick-fil-A? Please help!

~ Melissa M.


Melissa, this is such a great question. I’ve watched my nieces have meltdowns in the car while my sisters frantically try to figure out what to do; almost always, they throw all their healthy-eating habits out the window. But this question also makes me cringe. I hate that there isn’t a Whole Foods drive-thru (great idea, right?), or at least some better, healthier options for kids (and adults) when they’re in a pinch.

So I sat down to do some research and it seems that there actually is some hope, thanks partially to First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity. And it comes by way of Chick-fil-A. Beginning January 9, the company launched one of the “most nutritious kids’ meals in America.” Here are the highlights:

  • Grilled chicken nuggets: 100 percent all-breast chicken. A four-count has 80 calories and 1 gram of fat; a six-count has 110 calories and 1.5 grams of fat. Bonus: They’ll accommodate adult orders, too.
  • Buddy Fruits pure blended fruit-to-go applesauce: a safe 60 calories and no fat grams.
  • To drink, kids can get 100 percent apple juice or 1 percent milk (buh-bye, soda!).
  • Both the grilled nuggets and Buddy Fruits are gluten-free options.
  • The four-count grilled nuggets, fruit cup and 1 percent milk kid’s meal option contains only 210 calories and 3 grams of fat—an 86 percent cut in fat and 56 percent cut in calories compared to previous offerings.

Not bad, huh? While I’m certainly not promoting fast food, I realize that sometimes there is no other option for parents. Life happens. Sh*t happens. It’s smart for parent to have the facts, so they can make the best choices for their kids. You’ll be back on the road in no time!

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Maura Manzo is a yoga teacher and health coach specializing in integrating diet, health and wellness. She supports others in becoming their best possible selves. Maura is available for private instruction and coaching, as well as on-site corporate classes and speaking engagements. She is co-creator of the Beyond Asana 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training and the Art of Letting Go: Maya Tulum Mexican Yoga Vacation. Learn more about her teaching schedule, coaching practice and yoga trainings at