While it might seem like “low sodium” and “fast food” couldn’t possibly exist side-by-side in the same sentence (much less in the same reality), we’re here to show you that low sodium dreams can come true. Many popular fast food joints have started catering to the health community – including things like gluten-free, dairy-free, and heart-healthy items on their menus such as fruits, veggies, and grilled or baked meats. Luckily, low sodium foods are also being offered as part of the movement.
So before you write off your favorite fast food joints because you’re on a low sodium diet, check out the list below.
1. Taco Bell
Taco Bell has an abundance of menu options that clock in at less than 500 mg of sodium. These include:
• Hash Browns at 270 mg
• AM Grilled Taco with Egg & Cheese at 330 mg
• AM Grilled Taco with Sausage at 460 mg
• Cinnabon Delights, 2 pack at 80 mg and 4 pack at 160 mg
• Beef Crunchy Taco at 310 mg
• Fiery Doritos Locos Taco Supreme at 400 mg
• Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme at 390 mg
• Chicken Crunchy Taco at 430 mg
Additionally, one of the ways Taco Bell meals can be transformed into a low sodium meal is by choosing crunchy corn tortilla shells instead of their regular flour tortillas, and avoiding additional sauces and/or dressings.
Your best bet for a low sodium meal from Chipotle is to, one: forgo the tortilla wraps, which are 690 mg of sodium each; two, choose chicken (310 mg) or steak (320 mg) as your meat, and three; put it in a bowl.
For instance, if you order a bowl with chicken, brown rice, lettuce, cheese, and Tabasco sauce (avoid the salsa as it clocks in at 500 mg per serving), you can have a full meal for under 700 mg of sodium.
If you play your cards right, there are plenty of options on the McDonald’s menu that remain under 500 mg of sodium, including:
• Scrambled Eggs (2) at 180 mg
• Fruit & Yogurt Parfait at 80 mg
• Cinnamon Melts at 370 mg
• Fruit & Maple Oatmeal at 160 mg
• Hash Browns at 310 mg
• Hamburger at 480 mg
• Side salad without dressing at 10 mg
• Bacon Ranch Salad without chicken or dressing at 320 mg
• Small french fry at 130 mg
• Hot Apple Pie at 170 mg
The good news is that Subway has partnered with the American Heart Association, which means that their base sandwiches are geared toward being “cleaner” overall. However, the bad news is that many of the condiments and sauces that come with these sandwiches add all kinds of things (namely sodium) to an otherwise healthy sandwich.
Best Options on the Subway Menu:
• Veggie Delight on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers at 280 mg. If you add chicken, add another 610 mg.
• Tuna sandwich on 9-grain wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cucumbers at 580 mg.
• Tuna salad with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers, and olives at 270 mg. Use only the oil and vinegar dressing – the rest are packed with sodium.
• Choose Swiss cheese as a condiment at 35 mg, and for dessert – choose the apple slices at 0 mg.
5. Panera Bread
Panera Bread has a wide range of menu options, which means a higher chance of finding something low sodium that you’ll enjoy. The best options:
• Oatmeal (any kind), the fruit cup, or the parfait, which are all under 300 mg
• Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat at 340 mg with the Reduced-Fat Wild Blueberry Cream Cheese at 200 mg
• Strawberry Poppyseed and Chicken Salad (full) at 300 mg. Use half of the Reduced Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette serving on the side for an additional 55 mg
• One cup Vegetarian Creamy Tomato Soup at 510 mg
• Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup with Pesto at 560 mg
• One cup New England Clam Chowder at 680 mg
• Cookies are less than 350 mg, but stick to one
6. Burger King
Burger King is similar to McDonald’s as far as low sodium options go. In general, try to avoid sauces and salty condiments, such as pickles or bacon.
• Maple oatmeal at 270 mg
• Cinnamon rolls at 280 mg
• Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich at 580 mg
• Hamburger at 380 mg
• Double Hamburger at 400 mg
• Chicken Nuggets (4 pc.) at 310 mg
• Garden Side Salad with no dressing at 95 mg
• Value size french fries at 330 mg (order unsalted to lower this a little)
Chick-fil-A has a history of offering healthier options, such as grilled nuggets and fruit, so it’s not surprising that they also offer lower sodium meals.
• Greek yogurt parfait with granola at 95 mg
• Fruit cup at 0 mg
• Hash browns at 400 mg
• Grilled nuggets (8 pc.) with side salad (no dressing) at 690 mg
• Grilled market salad at 680 mg
• Chocolate chunk cookie at 230 mg
As you can see, most of these fast food restaurants have decent options for a low sodium meal. Not to mention, almost all of these chains can be found across the nation, so you don’t have to worry about not having access to a quick, low sodium snack on the road.
For additional low sodium options, check out the Tim Hortons Menu.