High Fiber Meals at a Fast Food Restaurant

Many fast food menu items are low in fiber and other nutrients.
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Fast food restaurants aren't known for health food fare. In fact, most fast food restaurants offer foods that are high in calories, saturated fat and salt without also offering essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. That doesn't mean that you have to swear off fast food forever, but you can make smarter choices when you do splurge. Consider the fiber content of your fast food favorites in order to improve the nutritional value of your meal and help you get the 21 to 38 grams of fiber you need each day.

Vegetable Salads

Most fast food restaurants have at least one or two salad options on the menu. The vegetables in salads are a good source of fiber. In fact the equivalent of one carrot shredded into a fast food salad adds about 1.7 grams of fiber to your meal. A cup of peas will increase the fiber content of a salad by 8.8 grams. Spinach, romaine lettuce, celery and tomatoes are common additions to fast food salads that also are good sources of fiber. Many fast food restaurants offer fiber-rich toppings such as dried fruit and nuts. Use low-fat salad dressing and go easy on the cheese, bacon bits and croutons no matter what salad you order; these ingredients add saturated fat but don't offer fiber or much in the way of other nutrients.

Whole Grains

If you have the choice, order your burger or sandwich on a whole wheat or whole grain bun or bread. These are nutritious sources of fiber and will help boost the nutritional value of your fast food meal. A slice of whole wheat bread contains about 1.9 grams of fiber. Fast food restaurants that include pasta on the menu may give you the choice of white pasta or whole wheat pasta. Choose whole wheat pasta and you'll get about 6.3 grams of fiber per cup. Swap your fries for a high-fiber side such as a salad made with quinoa, couscous or barley. If you enjoy an Asian fast food meal, order steamed brown rice with your entree and you'll get 3.5 grams of fiber per cup.


A cup of beans can have upwards of 20 grams of fiber, and they're also low in fat and supply a good amount of protein and iron, too. Have a black or pinto bean taco or burrito at a Mexican restaurant. Vegetable and bean tacos or burritos are even higher in fiber. Even refried beans supply a small amount of fiber, but they're often high in saturated fat, too, which makes whole beans a more nutritious choice. Order a side of hummus at a Mediterranean restaurant. Some burger chains offer a bean patty in place of a meat patty; these are a higher-fiber option, as well.

Additional Menu Items

If you're in the mood for soup, opt for split pea or lentil soup. A cup of cooked split peas contains 16.3 grams of fiber and a cup of cooked lentils supplies 15.6 grams. Try a bowl of chili as another high-fiber option. At a breakfast restaurant, opt for a bowl of oatmeal, which supplies about 4 grams of fiber per cup, or an oat bran muffin, which contains about 5 grams of fiber. Think internationally and have a whole wheat pita sandwich, Indian dahl, or tabbouleh, each of which supplies a healthy amount of fiber.

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