Have you ever thought about your sodium intake? Short-term side effects of heavy sodium intake include rapid heartbeat and sluggishness.
In the long-term, it can cause high blood pressure, calcium loss from the bone, heart disease, or even worse, stroke. Studies show that Americans consume more than 1.5 teaspoons of sodium daily, equivalent to 3,400 mg.
Even when eating out, you choose low sodium fast foods to be more conscious about your diet. The CDC recommends consuming only 2,300 mg of salt or less per day.
I’ve looked at the sodium content at popular fast food restaurants and tried the menu; keep reading for my low sodium fast food picks.
Low Sodium Fast Food Options
Check out lower sodium options at popular fast food restaurants if you’re cutting your salt intake.
McDonald’s specialties are burgers and fries, but you can consume low-sodium fast food by asking them to hold salty condiments and fixings.
You can’t go wrong with a Fruit & Maple Oatmeal cup for breakfast. It’s the lowest sodium item on the McDonald’s menu, weighing in at only 150 mg of sodium (7% DV).
It includes whole grain rolled oats, diced apples, a cranberry raisin blend, and light cream.
If it’s lunch or dinner, order a high protein (14g) Filet-o-Fish sandwich with no cheese and no tartar sauce with 370 mg of sodium (16% DV), which is originally 580 mg.
Try the Classic McDonald’s Hamburger, but ask them to hold the pickles, ketchup, and mustard for only 380 mg of sodium (17% DV) compared to the usual 510 mg.
Subway serves deli subs and salads, making it easier to find low sodium options. Customize your own sub or salad to meet your taste desire.
If you are a vegetarian or vegan, try the Veggie Delight. An average 6” Veggie Delight is about 200 calories and 320 mg of sodium.
You can consume even lower sodium if you keep cheese, dressings, pickles, and other high-sodium fixings off the sandwich.
Turn it into a salad to cut out the bread to intake only 75 mg of sodium. Try a Tuna Salad with 390 mg of sodium, which comes with tuna, lettuce, tomato, onion, olives, green peppers, and cucumbers.
Download the Nutrition Data Tables (USA) PDF file to learn more about Subway’s menu options.
Consuming tacos can be a sodium bomb because of the meat, salsa, cheese, and flour tortillas.
However, there are some low-sodium fast food options you can try at Taco Bell.
A hash brown (280 mg) and orange juice (20 mg) total 300 mg. Order a regular crunchy taco for the same intake.
Try the cheesy rollup for 430 mg of sodium. The nacho cheese Doritos Locos taco is 350 mg.
The side of chips with nacho cheese is 280 mg. For a light dessert, order the cinnamon twists, my personal favorite, which is 115 mg.
Expert Tip: Steer clear of Taco Bell’s hot sauce packets as they add on an additional 30 mg to 55 mg of sodium per packet.
Chick-fil-A specializes in chicken sandwiches and salads with low sodium options.
For example, the Grilled Market Salad with no chicken weighs in at 190 mg of sodium as long as you do not use the zesty apple cider vinaigrette (460 mg of sodium for the whole packet).
A Greek yogurt parfait and a fruit cup (no salt) contain only 80 mg of sodium for breakfast, and Simply brand orange juice is only an additional 10 mg, which makes your meal less than 100 mg of sodium intake.
For lunch or dinner, choose the five-count grilled nuggets (270 mg) and the small waffle potato fries (190 mg) for a tasty meal.
Pair with a small lemonade for an additional 5 mg. Cut the sodium completely by ordering water.
Chipotle’s build-your-own burritos, salads, and tacos make it easy to order low-sodium fast food with over 53 ingredient choices.
Out of the meats, chicken has the lowest sodium at 310 mg. A salad with lettuce, chicken, and fajita vegetables (150 mg) totals 460 mg of sodium.
Substitute the chicken for pinto or black beans to cut 100 mg of sodium out of this total.
When I’m in the mood for extra crunch, I choose the chicken tacos on a crispy corn tortilla. The 310 mg of sodium count divides into the three crispy corn tortillas containing no sodium.
Add lettuce, tomato, and black or pinto beans for an additional 210 mg of sodium.
Panera Bread’s bowls and soups in grocery stores are high in sodium, from 600 mg to over 1000 mg per serving. However, they have lower sodium snack options.
Try the Everything Cheese Crisps that are 160 calories and 350 mg of sodium for 24 crisps.
One plain Panera Bread bagel or everything bagel is 330 mg of sodium. Choose the cinnamon swirl bagel to cut out 30 mg of sodium.
Consume a half cup instead of one to tame your soup cravings. A half cup of autumn squash soup is 410 mg, while a half cup of creamy tomato soup is 250 mg.
Panera’s salad menu also has some healthier offerings!
For a breakfast at Burger King, have a sweet yet low sodium treat of three French Toast sticks for only 317.8 mg of sodium. Split the small hash browns with a friend to intake 405.9 mg of sodium.
Low sodium options for lunch and dinner include the four-piece chicken nuggets (495 mg), four-piece jalapeno cheddar bites (453.6 mg), the Whopper Junior or Classic Hamburger, both at 570 mg of sodium (omit the pickles and ketchup the reduce the sodium count even further).
If you’re looking for a low-sodium dessert, try the order of two chocolate chip cookies, which are only 220 mg.
Soft serve in a cup is 146 mg of sodium, while the same in a cone is an additional 7.6 mg.
Starbucks mostly specializes in hot and iced coffee beverages, but you can enjoy low-sodium breakfast meals or snacks with your daily cup of coffee.
Low-sodium fast food breakfast options are plentiful at Starbucks. Try the Kale and Mushroom Egg Bites for 340 mg of sodium, which is the least salty out of the available options.
The Rolled and Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries is 130 mg of sodium. The Strawberry Overnight Grains have only 15 mg of sodium, while the Berry Trio Parfait has 125 mg of sodium.
When I’m not particularly hungry, I’ll grab a Vanilla Biscotti with Almonds for 135 mg or the Squirrel Brand Fruit and Nut snack pack, which is only 100 mg of sodium.
Wendy’s is another hamburger and fry chain that will take some navigating to find low-sodium fast food options.
Even a Sausage Biscuit comes in at 470 calories and 980 mg of sodium. Split the sandwich with a friend to lower the sodium intake to 490 mg.
Some lower sodium options for lunch and dinner include the four-piece crispy chicken nuggets with 380 mg of sodium or the Jr. Hamburger with 420 mg of sodium; remove the pickles and ketchup to reduce the sodium count even further.
The good news is, if you’re looking for a tasty treat instead of a full meal, there are plenty of low-sodium options.
The apple bites contain no sodium, while the Junior Strawberry Frosty contains 85 mg, and the Junior Chocolate Frosty contains 90 mg of sodium.
Low Sodium Fast Food Options
- Taco Bell
- Panera Bread
- Burger King
Low-sodium fast food will help you feel healthier and less sluggish after eating your meal, but finding low-sodium fast food options can be challenging.
This list includes low sodium options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even treats to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Fast food doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Check out the best fast food for diabetics if sugar is also a concern!
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