When you’ve got kids, the occasional fast-food meals are inevitable. Who hasn’t cried with relief at spotting a drive-thru ready to provide life-sustaining caffeine without having to get the kids out of the car? But we still want to try our best to keep our choices as healthy as possible, so here’s a cheat sheet of the healthier options and the worst picks from fast food nation.
Pick It: The bistro boxes are our pick for great energy without a crash. At 17 g of protein, the fruit and cheese option actually has more protein than the protein box, and provides a serving of fruit. And the sous vide egg white bites are a great little breakfast option. Pair them with a green tea and you’ll feel rejuvenated.
Skip It: That blueberry scone looks like an innocent snack to go with a morning cup of java, but with 460 calories and 22 grams of fat, it packs a serious caloric punch and will likely leave you in a carb slump that even a venti will do little to dispel.
Pick It: Thought we were going to say a salad? We’re realistic, and know that eating a salad in the car is probably not going to fly. So instead go for the oven-roasted chicken sandwich and pile on the veggies, not the fatty condiments. Have some water or milk and you’ll reap the benefits of the energy boost.
Skip It: We know the cold cut combo evokes some pretty strong childhood memories. But the sodium levels are through the roof! So unless you want even more pronounced shadows and bags under the eyes, keep that memory a distant one.
Pick It: Whether standing in line or sitting at the drive-thru, there’s one thing that can be found aplenty at Timmy’s and it’s not just caffeine. We’re talking refined carbs. Make a better pick with a multigrain bagel to get 6 g of fibre and top it with some peanut butter for some energy-rich protein.
Skip It: Unless it’s a special treat, just say no to that pack of Timbits. They’re almost too convenient to eat, and before you know it, five Timbits—that’s not a lot—will set you back more than 300 calories and 10 g of fat. With those numbers, you could have just had the maple dip doughnut!
Pick It: Boost your protein with a smoothie like the bananas and whey offering and you’ll get 13 g of protein to balance the 22 g of sugar. Plus, the banana starts in its pure unadulterated form, not one of those purees that detract from the goodness of a smoothie.
Skip It: The original smoothie is pretty basic, but only provides 2 g of protein and comes with a whopping amount of sugar. Naturally occurring sweetness or no, there’s not much nutrition in this drink.
Pick It: Harvey’s makes a great veggie burger, and with a side of their delicious dill pickles, we are all satisfaction and smiles with only 10 g of fat.
Skip It: Deep-fried onion rings always seem like a good idea in theory, but end up with a very different result in practice. They just don’t seem to be worth the heartburn and gut rot. As delicious as they smell, onion rings have no redeeming qualities, friends.
Pick It: One word. Fries. Wait—what? That’s right. We’re all going to indulge in these wonders at some point, so we say plan for it and make it work by choosing the kid’s size at Wendy’s, where no trans fat is used and the damage is limited. I mean, what’s life without french fries, right?
Skip It: We won’t do ourselves any favours by ordering the Spicy Chicken Caesar salad. At 60 g of fat, you might as well have two cheeseburgers, and at 1990 g, the sodium levels are downright frightening.
Pick It: Try a whole-grain, thin-crust offering and add flavours with extra tomatoes and veggies and you’ll have a decent serving of fibre and protein while keeping the caloric count in check. Plus, what’s better than pizza? Mmmmm.
Skip It: We’re proud to be Canadian, but the Canadian pizza—with two fatty, salty types of meat—does little for our health. If you must have meat, limit it to one choice per slice and round it out with some extra veg. And double cheese? Just unnecessary.