Low-calorie fast food items
Say what you like about it, but fast food holds a place dear in our hearts, whether it’s for convenient go-tos or comfort food that is always yummy. Yes, yes, we know it’s not the healthiest route, but we’ve sussed out the “healthiest” low-calorie fast food items so you can go right ahead and order that McD’s meal guilt-free.
More ways to get healthier:
1. McDonald’s – Grilled Chicken Salad (161 calories)
Image credit: McDonald’s
Think of fast food and McDonald’s immediately comes to mind. For a lower-calorie alternative to their burgers, nuggets, and fries, head straight for their Grilled Chicken Salad (from $5.80). Coming in at 161 calories, it’s got a healthy serving of greens including lettuce, tomatoes and corn, and is topped with grilled chicken for that dash of protein.
If you still need your go-to burgers, you might be a little relieved to know that meals with Cheeseburgers, Filet-O-Fish or McChicken burgers are all below 500 calories.
2. KFC – Original Chicken Drumstick (149 calories)
Image credit: @kfc_sg
Most people enjoy fried chicken but might be under the impression that they’re high in calories. You’ll be pleased to know that KFC’s Original Recipe chicken drumstick ($3.90/piece) only clocks 149 calories, so you have more than enough room in your lunch or dinner calorie budget for a 2-piece chicken meal.
For those who prefer more of a spicy oopmh, the Hot and Crispy chicken drumstick ($3.90/piece) is just 212 calories.
3. Burger King – Hamburger (294 calories)
Image credit: Burger King
If you’re counting calories but craving a nice juicy burger, Burger King’s Hamburger ($3) is only 294 calories, offering the satisfaction of a grilled beef patty with all the trimmings.
Fun fact: you can compare the calories, protein, sugar and fats using Burger King’s nutritional guide. Guess you’ll have to save that Double Whopper With Cheese for a true cheat day.
Burger King website
4. Popeyes – 3-piece Handcrafted Tenders (445 calories)
Image credit: Popeyes
Popeyes has a good variety of items to choose from so you won’t miss out on your favourite flavours or food items if you’re looking for a lower-calorie meal. Their 3-piece Handcrafted Chicken Tenders ($6.20) is only 445 calories.
Check out their nutrition fact sheet that breaks down every menu item and helps you with portion control.
5. Jollibee – Jolly Spaghetti (300 calories)
Image credit: Jollibee
The queues at Jollibee will attest to the popularity of their fried chicken. Their 2-piece Chickenjoy drumstick and thigh ($7.20) are 220 calories and 320 calories respectively, which come in at below 700 for your lunch calorie budget
Their Filipino-style Jolly Spaghetti ($4.00), which is unique for its sweetness and topped with slices of chicken hot dog and red tomato sauce, is only 300 calories.
6. Subway – 6-inch Veggie Delite (200 calories)
Image credit: Subway
Reduce your calorie intake – and do meat-free Monday – with the 6-inch Veggie Delite ($5.50) at only 200 calories. The sandwich includes lots of greens like lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions, olives, and pickles to fill you up.
To keep the calories down, opt for sauces such as Honey Mustard which contains 29 calories and Sweet Onion which contains 39 calories.
7. MOS Burger – Natsumi Beef Burger (181 calories)
Image credit: @mosburgerphilippines
Burger buns have 140 calories hidden in their fluffy deliciousness. Luckily for us, MOS Burger helps you to avoid them with the Natsumi Beef Burger ($3.70). This bun-less lettuce-wrapped burger only clocks in at 181 calories and is packed with a juicy beef patty, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, sliced cheese, s sunny side-up egg and Japanese mayo.
Mos Burger website
8. 4 Fingers – Chicken Katsu Salad (315 calories)
Image credit: Malaysian Flavours
Those who find themselves craving a light chicken meal can check out 4 Fingers’ range of Korean-style fried chicken dishes with fewer calories. The Chicken Katsu Salad ($8.95), a salad blend of chopped boneless chicken breasts, lettuce and tomatoes, topped with honey mustard dressing, is only 315 calories.
4 Fingers website
9. Texas Chicken – Texas Supreme Burger (415 calories)
Image credit: Texas Chicken
Texas Chicken is a paradise for poultry aficionados with their range of chicken items and unique homemade sauces. For those who still want to get their fix but need a more balanced diet, you’ll be able to opt for the Texas Supreme Chicken ($6.60), which is only 415 calories.
Texas Chicken website
10. Five Guys – Hot Dog (192 calories)
Image credit: Derby Telegraph
Though the Veggie Sandwich ($9) may seem like the healthiest option at first glance, it actually contains 440 calories. The lowest-calorie item on their menu is the Hot Dog ($11), which goes at 192 calories.
And although milkshakes often have the reputation of being high-calorie, the Five Guys signature milkshake ($12) is only 172 calories, while their strawberry milkshake is a mere 118 calories.
Before you lock in your order, check out their menu items’ nutritional levels, ingredients as well as allergen guide.
Five Guys website
11. Domino’s Pizza – Very Veggie Pizza (190 calories/slice)
Image adapted from: Domino’s Pizza
Satisfy your late-night cravings with Domino’s Pizza’s wide selection. Their vegetarian-friendly option such as the Very Veggie Pizza only logs 190 calories per slice.
It’s also fibre-rich with a mix of vegetables like roasted red peppers, olives, mushrooms and baby spinach.
Pro tip: Opt for a thin crust that contains fewer calories.
12. Pizza Hut – Veggie Lover’s Pizza (220 calories)
Image credit: Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut’s vegetarian options prove that their lower-calorie veggie pizzas are as tasty as their meat counterparts. Vegans, vegetarians and those counting their calories can tuck into the Veggie Lover’s Pizza (from $12) at 220 calories a slice.
The dish boasts various vegetables including mushrooms, onions, olives, capsicums, and is layered with chunks of pineapple and tomatoes.
Image credit: Pizza Hut
If you’re still craving meat, you’ll be happy to know that Pizza Hut’s Hawaiian Pizza (from $12) with chicken ham slices and pineapple chunks is also one of the lowest-calorie items on their menu with each slice at 221 calories.
Pizza Hut website
13. A&W – Golden Aroma Chicken (277 calories)
Image credit: A&W restaurants
Beyond the typical cheeseburger, coney dogs, and fries that A&W is famous for, you’ll be able to opt for lower-calorie items such as the Golden Aroma Chicken (from $3.20), which has 277 calories apiece.
To add a little more flavour to complement the already-delicious chicken, you can opt for sauces such as BBQ sauce and honey mustard which go at 40 calories and 45 calories respectively.
Image credit: @awrootbeer
If you’re craving their iconic Root Beer floats ($3.50), which can bust your diet plan at 270 calories, you can pick up a pack of the diet version of their root beer – an amazing 0 calories per can at any grocery store.
14. Carl’s Jr – Chargrilled Chicken Salad (280 calories)
Image credit: Carl’s Junior Malaysia
Carl’s Jr offers a small selection of dishes that still fit into your meal diet plan. Their Chargrilled Chicken Salad ($9) is a balanced meal with a low calorie count of 280 calories.
It includes one piece of marinated chicken breast, cheddar cheese slices as well as chopped up cucumber, onion and red tomato – a tasty mix of flavours even without dressing.
Carl’s Jr website
15. Shake Shack – Chicken Bites (300 calories)
Image credit: Shake Shack
Since the opening of its first outlet in Singapore 2019, Shake Shack has taken the local fast food scene by storm with its American-local fusion noches and refreshments. While you’ll have tonnes of choices with their gluten-free and vegetarian options, the lowest-calorie option on their menu is their Chicken Bites (from $6.40), which has 300 calories.
Sweet tooths craving a delicious but “healthy” dessert can opt for the Vanilla Cup Frozen Custard ($8.80) which goes 280 calories.
Shake Shack website
Treat yourself to low-calorie fast food menu items
It may seem tough to swear off junk food if you’re eating with your friends at your favourite fast food joint. Thankfully, most of them have “healthy” lower-calorie items on their menu so that you don’t have to forgo cheat days.
Places to eat at when you’re done with your diet:
Cover image adapted from: McDonald’s, @kfc_sg, Jollibee