During the 1980s fast food boom, hamburger giant Wendy’s had us asking “Where’s the Beef?” While their classic square hamburgers are still popular as ever, a more nutrition-conscious public has begun asking “Where are the healthier menu items at Wendy’s?” Of course, almost nothing on the Wendy’s menu – or at most other fast food places – can patently qualify as health food. But some options are certainly better choices than others: instead of inhaling the 12 grams of saturated fat in a Big Bacon Classic or the 1470 grams of sodium in just three Homestyle Chicken Strips, you can select from a variety of healthier menu items at Wendy’s.
Healthier Menu Items at Wendy’s: Full-Size Salads
A quick look at Wendy’s nutrition charts, available both on their website and in the restaurants, reveals that the Mandarin Chicken Salad is one of their healthier full-sized salads (sans dressing). With low cholesterol and saturated fat totals, this is also a good choice for Vitamins A and C. The trouble lies in the sesame dressing, which on its own has more sodium than the salad itself, at nearly 500 grams. That’s a lot for a tiny package, so don’t use the whole thing!
Another substantially portioned and reasonably healthy salad is the Caesar Chicken Salad, but again, watch out for the dressing. As an alternative to the usual creamy topping, consider the Fat Free French; it’s got half the sodium and none of the fat that the other dressings have.
Healthier Menu Items at Wendy’s: Side Salads
As for the smaller salads, Wendy’s has two options: the side salad and the Caesar side salad. The former is a better choice because it containers cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots while the latter containers cheese and bacon. The regular side salad, not counting dressing, has 0 grams of fat, compared to the Caesar side’s 4.5 grams. It’s also lower in sodium. So, when grabbing a side salad at Wendy’s, go for the garden variety.
Healthier Menu Items at Wendy’s: Baked Potatoes
I’ve personally always been happy that Wendy’s offers baked potatoes as an alternative to french fries or as a complement to their famous meat-and-bean chili. Even with sour cream and chives to jazz it up, the baked potato is a healthier menu item: it’s low in sodium and only has half the saturated fat of a medium order of french fries.
Healthier Menu Items at Wendy’s: Other Choices
Wendy’s also offer a cup of mandarin orange slices, a serving of strawberry low-fat yogurt, and the ultimate grill chicken sandwich, which has let saturated fat than any of their other sandwiches. It should be noted that, although they’ve recently introduced a “Frescata” deli-style line of sandwiches, these aren’t much healthier than a meaty burger – just check out the stats.
Remember that, unlike some other fast food chains with combo deals, Wendy’s gives you a choice of side substitutions at no extra cost when you pick an order-by-number meal. To complement the usual sandwich and soda, you can opt for a side salad or baked potato (discussed above) instead of french fries. That’s one way cut down on the amount of deep-fried food you’re ingesting. The Wendy’s chain does have healthier menu items; you just may need to substitute and modify the food you order.