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Low-Cholesterol Fast Food Entrees

You Can Make Low-Cholesterol Choices On The Run

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Updated January 25, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Fast food is convenient, tasty and economical. For years there were little to no heart healthy choices to be found. But thanks to public demand, there are now more lower-cholesterol options to choose from. We aren't recommending you frequent fast food restaurants on a low-cholesterol diet, but if you find yourself in one, here's how to make a smarter choice. Read on for a list of 5 low-cholesterol fast food entrees worth checking out.

Low-Cholesterol Guidelines For Fast Food:

Know Before You Go Check out the nutrition information on the websites of the restaurants that you visit most. Try to plan what you will order ahead of time.

Size Matters Select a small sized entrée. Did you know that in a fast food restaurant small hamburgers (3.0 to 3.5 ounces) are usually a lower-cholesterol choice than chicken sandwiches? (They average 5.0 to 5.5 ounces).

Add A Healthy Topping Add extra vegetables to your entrée, such as pickles or tomato.

Skip the Fries, Add A Healthy Side Try a garden salad with low-calorie dressing (or even better, a squirt of lemon).

Watch Your Frequency Limit eating at fast food restaurants to one or two times per month.

ome options to check out:

Domino's "Thin Crust Veggie Pizza", (2 squares of 12" medium pizza, 1/8 pizza) Locations nation-wide (http://cache.dominos.com/homev8/docs/menu/dominos_nutrition_v2.30.00.pdf)

  • 143 Calories, 63 Calories from Fat, Total Fat 7g (sat 2.5g), Cholesterol 15 mg, Sodium 240 mg, Carbohydrate 15g, Fiber 3g, Protein 5g
  • Tip: Start your meal with a filling "Garden Fresh Salad" to help limit yourself to 2 pizza squares.

McDonald's Small Hamburger Locations nation-wide (http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/food/food_quality/nutrition_choices.html)

  • (3.5 oz) 250 Calories, 80 Calories from Fat , 9 Total Fat g (3.5 g sat, 16% rdv ), Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 520 mg, Carbohydrate 31g, Fiber 2g, Protein 12 g
  • Note: this is not a low-sodium item, so plan the rest of your day's meals accordingly.

Taco Bell's "Fresco Crunchy" Taco Locations nation-wide (http://www.tacobell.com/nutrition/information)

  • (92g) 150 Calories, 70 Calories from Fat , 7 Total Fat g (2.5 g sat), Cholesterol 13 mg, Sodium 350 mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 3g, Protein 7g
  • Tip: Ask for extra salsa for an added nutrient bonus.

Subway's "Veggie Delight" Sandwich, 6'' Locations nation-wide (http://www.subway.com/applications/NutritionInfo/nutritionlist.aspx?id=lowfat)

  • 230 Calories, 20 Calories from Fat, Total Fat 2.5 g (sat 0.5 g), Cholesterol 45 mg, Sodium 410 mg, Carbohydrate 45 g, Fiber 5g, Protein 8g
  • Tip: All 8 varieties of Subway's "Fresh Fit" 6'' subs contain no more than 50 mg of cholesterol, 260 calories, and 6 grams of total fat.

Wendy's "Mandarin Chicken" Salad Locations nation-wide (http://www.wendys.com/food/healthy-options.jsp)

  • (Use just a drizzle of the dressing, and skip the crispy noodle packet.) 330 Calories, 120 Calories from Fat , Total Fat 13g (sat 1.5 g), Cholesterol 85 mg, Sodium 810 mg, Carbohydrate 22 g, Fiber 5g, Protein 34g
  • Note: this is not a low-sodium item, so plan the rest of your day's meals accordingly.
  • Tip: The title "crispy" is usually a code word for fried (meaning extra fat and calories you don't need). Avoid crispy foods and choose baked, steamed or grilled options.

Bottom Line: A busy schedule doesn't have to mean sabotaging your low-cholesterol diet plan. Plan ahead, add healthy extras, and enjoy!

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