Food on the Run: Wendy's


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/19/2009 5:00 AM   :  251 comments

Sometimes you have to eat on the run. Sometimes you just want to eat away from home. But can you fit fast food into a healthy diet? Of course! Here are some healthy options you can find when dining out at Wendy's.

Most of these options are below 250 calories and 10 grams of fat and can be included in a health diet once in a while.

Jr. Hamburger
Calories - 220
Fat- 8 grams
Protein - 13 grams

Mandarin Chicken Salad (skip the almond, noodles and substitute the dressing)
Calories - 180
Fat - 2 grams
Protein - 24 grams

Chicken Caesar Salad (skip the croutons and substitute the dressing)
Calories - 180
Fat - 4 grams
Protein - 28 grams

Side Salad
Calories - 35
Fat - 0 grams
Protein - 1 gram

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Calories - 90
Fat- 6 grams
Protein - 0 grams

Fat Free French Dressing
Calories - 70
Fat - 0 grams
Protein - 0 grams

Small Chili
Calories - 190
Fat - 6 grams
Protein - 14 grams

Strawberry Yogurt Squeezerz
Calories - 70
Fat - .5 grams
Protein - 2 grams

Mandarin Orange Cup
Calories - 80
Fat - 0 grams
Protein - 1 gram

Low Fat Milk
Calories - 100 (white) 170 (chocolate)
Fat - 2.5 grams
Protein - 8 grams

Now that you have all these options, the fun is putting together a meal that best meets your nutrient needs. Here is a healthy meal from Wendy's that I would put together:

Wendy's Jr. Hamburger
Side Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Mandarin Oranges
Total = 445 calories; 14 grams fat; 15 grams protein

I will share other restaurant and meal ideas in the future. Let me know if you have a specific chain you would like to learn more about.

Share your meal combination ideas. Will you keep any of these ideas in mind next time you find yourself needing to eat out?

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  • BKJR62
    Being on the road for work all the time, between offices and states, fast food and eating in the car happens all the time for me (and others in this world). With WW and making better choices I went from 330 to 187 eating lunches from Wendys and TacoBell by making better choices. (I'm bones at 187 , 200 is more a healthy weight for me - people asked if I was losing weight on purpose when I got below 200) I know it may not be the best of foods, and it's not "fresh and organic". But there are better choices at these places when visiting.

    Eating meals at home were fresh, salads, stir frys, home made whole wheat pizzas no sugar sauce. Turkey burgers....

    After getting injured and falling off the wagon and not making good choice I'm was back up to 280, now back on the wagon for 1.5months and down to 265 and losing.

    To kick start, I tried a paleo / Anti-inflammatory diet under guidance, and got very very sick. My wife did great on it (so it wasn't the food itself - as in "spoiled" food). But very expensive and time consuming to follow, and my guts can't take it. None of the enzymes or probios or allowed "oils" did anything to help me. To get my GI back on track, hit Taco Bell for a few tacos w/ no cheeses for lunches and stopped the paleo thing.

    Go figure. Hello better choices at Wendy's and TacoBell. - 9/25/2015   9:39:42 AM
  • 250
    Good information. Good ideas on how to put a meal together when eating out. It would be great information if it had the carbs listed. - 10/20/2014   3:54:09 PM
  • 249
    I would really like a cheat sheet I can print and keep near the dashboard. I travel for a living and find myself in temptation's way far too often. I like the list a lot! - 9/19/2012   5:31:12 AM
  • 248
    Great information. When I have to work a double shift, I don't like to bring both lunch & dinner from home. Wendy's, McDonalds, and Tim Horton's are the closest restaurants and within walking distance, sot I have a tendency to eat one meal at one of them. What gets me the most though when looking at the nutritional information is the amount of sodium added to the food! - 2/23/2012   4:47:24 PM
  • 247
    Oatmeal at McDonalds i can eat any time of the day. I do ask for no Brown sugar. I find the added fruit is sweet enough. Once in a while they add the milk first and the oatmeal never gets thick that way. If I stir it and it is not right I just ask them to microwave it and then it is oustanding. Pat in Maine. - 2/19/2012   9:45:55 AM
  • 246
    By law, these large fast food chains must have nutritional information available. Since I know I am not going to give up fast food, I downloaded the printouts from the Internet and placed them in a binder so I could compare the various menus and make wiser decisions. Believe me, sometimes the reality of the nutritional content of some of these fast food items has caused me to make big changes in my diet. - 2/19/2012   2:04:19 AM
    Everytime i check a page i find great stuff. this is so helpfull i dont go to town much or eat out but i like to and this info helps . thanks - 2/18/2012   1:10:33 PM
    Good info! You should do one on fast-breakfast food. I know I am a sucker for McDonalds breakfast (although I haven't partaken lately!!!) - 6/16/2011   1:22:51 PM
  • 243
    I would have to be desperate to go to any fast food but it was always Wendy's over McD until Mcd's got the oatmeal. - 5/22/2011   9:39:02 AM
  • 242
    Great information. Thanks! - 5/20/2011   12:39:49 PM
  • 241
    Thanks for the options! I disagree on one point though: DON'T skip the almonds on the salad at Wendy's! Almonds are a healthy fat and won't kill you, calorically speaking. - 5/19/2011   2:15:42 AM
  • 240
    I am not too familiar with the ingredients that Wendy's uses, but I recently found out that McD's still uses a lot of MSG in many of their items including the fries! I am much more concerned with stuff like MSG, sodium and carbs than calories and fat (but I do still care!). The low carb thing is working very well for me. I do like the chili at Wendy's. - 3/30/2011   12:14:32 PM
  • KZD2008
    This info is great for people who might need to stop at either of these businesses but it is missing two key nutritional items - carbohydrates and sodium. Salad dressings at these places tend to have high amounts of sodium and contain transfats. The better suggestion would be to avoid the dressing altogether and use lemon juice instead. If a salad is good with fresh ingredients, the vegetables themselves provide enough flavor. - 2/3/2011   3:18:06 PM
    I agree with MSDRPEPPER. The baked potatos are a great choice at Wendy's. I usually get the Ultimate Chicken Grill meal with a baked potato instead of fries. Sadly, I love sour cream so sometimes I use 2 packs. I know, I know. One day I'll get to the point where I use just 1. - 2/3/2011   10:43:24 AM
  • 237
    I like Wendy's chilli, McD's snack wrap, and will try their chicken salad. (I never ordered them, figured they had tons of "hidden" fat)
    Gotta admit, about once a month I just HAVE to have McD's chicken nuggets and fries for lunch. I know, utter crap, but can't help it. When that hits and I cave, I always order the happy meal so I at least exercise some portion control, then eat lean and clean for dinner. - 1/4/2011   5:08:08 AM
  • 236
  • 235
    Odd that this listing for Wendy's doesn't include the baked potato. Baked potatos are a good choice - just leave off the butter and sour cream. Many times I have the baked potato and maybe 1/3 of the butter in their giant "tub" that they include, and top it with the small chili. If you ask for it, you can get a small packet of their "hot sauce" (kind of a pepper sauce) and that peps up the flavor for both the chili and the potato. I don't like too hot, so I probably only use about 1/4-1/3 of the packet. - 7/27/2010   7:19:32 PM
  • 234
    What an eye-opening article! We are about to hit the road and this will be a big help to me. - 7/24/2010   6:26:55 PM
  • MBAY75
    I'm not a McD's fan...when pregnant with #3, I loved Big Mac's but don't enjoy anything there now. I do enjoy Wendy's on occasion (3 or 4 times per year). I like the mandarin Chicken salad without noodles or dressing but do eat the almonds. I also enjoy Jr. Burgers or Chili with a salad. We've hugely cut down on eating out with the economic conditions and it has become a treat instead of a way of life! I now really taste the salt in so much restaurant food that it is difficult to enjoy. - 7/10/2010   3:10:59 PM
    Thanks for this great piece of info. When we eat at McDonald's or Wendy's (the two places we prefer) it is because we're either caught between kids' afterschool 'stuff', caught in traffic, and/or on the road vacationing. It's good to know there are options for eating healthy at these places.
    - 7/6/2010   11:29:12 AM
  • PAYDAY10
    I prefer Wendy's . I feel the food selections are healthier than many of the other fast foods. For instance the small Chili, a baked potato, side salad, yogurt are all part of the menu choices. - 2/13/2010   12:26:02 AM
  • 230
    I appreciate the info, but would like to see the carbohydrates included. I'm a low carb fan, and its worked for me. - 1/19/2010   4:14:05 PM
    thanks for all th info. i visit alot of these places with my 11 yr old, she also will benefit from this info. i really like the comment about printing it all off and putting it in your clove box in your car! - 1/9/2010   9:57:11 PM
  • 228
    I print out the "food on the run" nutritional info and toss them in my glove compartment - that way, when i find myself in need of grabbing a meal out or just feel like stopping for a "junk-food-fix", I can just pull out the printouts, make a good choice and enjoy the experience rather than worry about how many calories something might have, what to order instead of what, etc. It also sooo cuts down the "impulse" order of something that's not so calorie-count-great when I'm sitting in front of that board trying to make a quick decision when the little speaker voice says "may I take your order, please" :) Thanks for providing this valuable info! - 1/7/2010   11:34:13 AM
    Thanks for sharing this...I always have such a hard time trying to figure out what the healthy choice is at the window and wind up going with the favorite like a Big Mac with extra sauce :) - 12/30/2009   11:38:05 AM
  • 226
    This is a great, helpful resource. I have a 4yo that LOVES Mcdonalds and Wendys, and some days it is easiest just to drive-thru. Nice to know what healthy choices to make! - 12/29/2009   12:56:58 AM
  • 225
    Once in a while I go to Mcdonalds and get their Ceasar Salad with grilled chicken. I will add the Newman's Own Italian dressing, and a small yogrut parfait without the granola. Makes for a pretty good lunch. - 12/28/2009   10:46:47 PM
  • 224
    At Wendy's I will eat a side salad and baked potato plain with a fat free french dressing for the topping. It fills that warm food craving. - 11/21/2009   8:29:59 AM
  • 223
    Very interesting. You asked if we had any restaurants that we would like to have checked out, I have one. I would love to know the nutritional info. on TGI Fridays, they are one of the few chains that won't release their info. such as calories and fat content. Is that legal? Can Spark People check into their food? They must be out of the park in calories and fat if they won't release their info. - 11/9/2009   8:15:48 PM
  • 222
    Wendys - what about the plain baked potato with salsa? Or get the side salad and put chili on top for a tex mex salad.

    At McDonalds, that parfait is a calorie waster. JMO. - 11/9/2009   9:26:03 AM
    This is really helpful! - 11/2/2009   8:09:43 AM
  • 220
    I like this idea. Thank you. - 10/16/2009   10:36:07 AM
  • 219
    Finally found the time to read several of the "Food of the Run" articles. The articles were informative and helpful. Thanks! - 10/15/2009   8:31:04 PM
  • 218
    We live an hour away from anything and everything! If subway were close by, I'd eat their sands. twice a day....I don't require a lot of variety lol!!! As it is, when ever I am near I grab a 6 inch turkey - stuffed with 2 inches of veggies...They're filling and good for you! I can eat at subway without hurting my calorie count at all.
    It's great that something so good can be good for you ...and filling...which is a big deal for any of us...come on admit it!! - 10/15/2009   6:31:04 PM
  • 217
    When I eat at Wendys I love to get a small chili (no cheese) and a side salad. I pull the tomatos and cucumbers off the salad (and eat them on the side) and pour my chili on top of the salad. This is a small version of the wendys taco salad. If Ive been really good lately Ill put some sour cream on top. - 10/14/2009   11:55:36 AM
    My FAVORITE fast food choice is Wendy's Grilled Chicken Sandwich combo with side salad instead of fries. Throw away the bun and cut up the chicken on top of the salad. Top with their yummy Ancho Chipotle Ranch dressing (I'm hooked on this dressing) This is only 245 calories!! If you don't like spicy, you can sub the dressing for another low-cal choice. This is a really yummy fast-food meal. - 10/13/2009   6:07:03 PM
  • 215
    I love the fact that you can get good food at McDonald's now. My girls and I share a hamburger and the Southwestern Salad (420 cals, plus the benefit of fiber), then play in the play area to work it off. Not that we eat out alot, but it's a fun treat - 10/13/2009   9:47:02 AM
  • 214
    This is great information. I will post at work, home and keep a copy in my car. The better prepared we all are the better choices we will make. I try to prepare my food with lots of veggies, lean proteins and fruit daily. But there are times when convience is appreciated. - 10/10/2009   12:00:02 PM
    This is great information thanks !!!! - 10/7/2009   10:50:49 AM
  • 212
    This is gross, but let's be honest and talk about it for those with a similar problem. When I travel, sitting long hours in the car tends to make me constipated, which can result in a pretty uncomfortable trip. I always look for a Wendy's so I can get at least one cup of chili /day, and then I stay normal. I also like to have a salad somewhere for one of my other meals. Wendy's Mandarin Chicken is by far my favorite, but a green salad anywhere is fine with me--I'll worry about the calories again when I get back home because when I travel I have another concern. If just to keep the innards humming normally, I am so glad fast food places started adding salads and fruit for us long-distance travelers. - 10/5/2009   11:53:39 AM
    I know this is an old blog, but I would love to see info on Sonic and Taco Bell. Also, O'Charley's which we use as a family restaurant for special occasions. Another is CiCi's Pizza. - 8/17/2009   8:46:21 AM
    I like Wendy's grilled chicken sandwich without honey mustard. Their chicken breast is really good. It's always super hot and fresh. - 7/29/2009   2:29:54 PM
    If I absolutely "have" to have McDonald's, I order off the dollar menu: portion control, and a price control, too! - 7/28/2009   11:00:06 AM
  • 208
    I love Wendy's mandarin chicken salad, but being vegetarian, I take the chicken home to the kitties, and add the almonds and do about a third of the dressing. - 7/28/2009   10:12:13 AM
  • 207
    Wendy's chili is great with either the side salad or a baked potato; I pour the chili on top and it's a very tasty, filling meal. - 7/27/2009   11:25:44 AM
    my fav combination at MCD is tuna salad plus low fat balsamic dressing. abt 270 cal together and very filling. - 6/22/2009   7:45:54 AM
    As others have noted, the McDonalds small vanilla cone is a great snack/treat. At 150 calories, it feels like an indulgence but has less calories than a granola bar. It's surprisingly filling too. - 6/2/2009   3:03:15 PM
  • 204
    Thalia_82, thanks for the tip! I do love Wendy's baked potatoes but I, too, hate that goo they call "cheese." I had no idea that I could ask them to sub real shreds of cheddar! Wish they'd offer FF sour cream, tho. My meal has been a baked tato with just broc and a side salad, or the occasional grilled snack wrap. But I do try to stay clear altogether as I'm even now addicted to their fries. - 5/20/2009   10:24:12 PM
  • 203
    Did anyone mention the low fat frozen yogurt at McDonalds? 3.5 grams of fat, get it in a cup to cut sweet cravings!! I share one with my boyfriend every once in a while. - 5/18/2009   9:46:39 PM
    Wendy's chili is the only thing I like. - 5/10/2009   12:58:12 PM

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