Order This, Not That: Wendy's

Out of all the fast food restaurants in the country, Wendy’s was recently rated the top fast food joint in a poll by Ranker. With many folks frequenting this popular restaurant, be prepared with these better-for-you choices.

Burgers

Order: Jr. Cheeseburger

This 100% beef patty is topped with cheese, pickles, onions, and mustard on a bun—just in a much smaller portion then many of Wendy’s other options. The nutrition numbers are pretty reasonable: only sodium is a touch high with 36-percent of the daily recommended amount.

Nutrition info: Calories 280; Fat 13g (Saturated 6g); Sodium 820mg; Carbohydrate 25g; Protein 16g

Not: Dave’s Triple

This cheeseburger is made with three burger patties equaling three-quarters of a pound of 100% North American ground beef, three slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo, and ketchup on a warm, toasted bun. That’s 110-percent of the maximum recommended fat, 150-percent the maximum recommended saturated fat, and 84-percent the daily recommended sodium.

Nutrition info: Calories 1090; Fat 72g (Saturated 30g); Sodium 1930mg; Carbohydrate 36g; Protein 70g

Chicken, Wraps, and More

Order: Grilled Chicken Wrap

Made with grilled chicken, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and smoky honey mustard wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla, this choice provides four food groups including lean protein, dairy, whole grains, and vegetables all with a reasonable amount of calories, fat, and sodium.

Nutrition info: Calories 270; Fat 11g (Saturated 2.5g); Sodium 620mg; Carbohydrate 24g; Protein 20g

Not: Asiago Ranch Chicken Club

All white meat chicken can be part of a healthy sandwich, but topped with thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Asiago cheese, and a creamy ranch sauce you have high calorie, fat, and sodium coming at you from all directions. If you’re watching your waistline, skip this sandwich.

Nutrition info: Calories 670; Fat 33g (Saturated 9g); Sodium 1610mg; Carbohydrate 54g; Protein 38g

Salads

Order: Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad, Full Size

Grilled chicken is teamed up with feta cheese, hummus, and a quinoa blend to provide a well-balanced, varied dish (only available at participating locations).

Nutrition info: Calories 450; Fat 15g (Saturated 4g); Sodium 1070mg; Carbohydrate 42g; Protein 40g

Not: Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad, Full Size

Wendy’s has expanded their salad selection, but the full size Caesar is one to steer clear of. Made with romaine, chicken breast, three cheeses, tomatoes, croutons and topped with a Caesar’s dressing, the calories are higher than necessary for one meal. Plus, with 66-percent of the daily recommended amount of fat, 65-percent saturated fat, and 77-percent sodium, there are better options on the menu to choose from.

Nutrition info: Calories 720; Fat 43g (Saturated 13g); Sodium 1760mg; Carbohydrate 41g; Protein 43g

Sides

Order: Side salad

You can customize many dishes, including the side salad. Ask for light balsamic and skip the croutons for a calorie-friendly way to add vegetables to your meal.

Nutrition info (side salad with light balsamic vinaigrette and no crouton): Calories 70; Fat 2g (Saturated 0g); Sodium 150mg; Carbohydrate 11g; Protein 1g

Not: Natural-Cut Fries, Large

Burger and fries go hand-in-hand, but ordering a large and downing them on your own can cost you over 25-percent the daily recommended calories and a boatload of fat. If you do choose a large fries, make sure to share it among two or three friends.

Nutrition info: Calories 530; Fat 24g (Saturated 4.5g); Sodium 520mg; Carbohydrate 70g; Protein 7g

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Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

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