The Best Fast-Food Meals Under 500 Calories

How serious can you be when you're talking to a clown? Millions of us face that problem as we approach the drive-thru squawk box—ornamented with those wacky fast-food characters—and go all Goofy with our orders. No wonder so many of us weigh more than we want to.

Dustin Robinson had exactly that problem. He was a busy guy, so he hit the drive-thru five times a week. The drive-thru hit back, to the tune of 50 extra pounds that Dustin didn't need to be carrying. But when he reached 250 pounds, he used Eat This, Not That! and, armed with the information he needed, started talking to the clown--but this time without speaking nonsense.

Concentrating on delicious entrees like the ones you'll learn about below, he shed more than 10 pounds a month! Now he's down to 215, and well on his way to his goal of 200 pounds. And he's still eating at the restaurants he loves—he's just eating smarter. To help you do the same, here are some of the recommended Eat This! fast-food meals under 500 calories.

Less Than 500 Calories at Dunkin' Donuts
Ham, Egg & Cheese English Muffin Sandwich with English Breakfast Tea
350 calories
15 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1,045 mg sodium

English muffins have a fraction of the carbohydrates of a bagel, and none of the trans fats of the donuts and croissants. The antioxidant-rich tea is also a great way to begin your day.

Less Than 500 Calories at Hardee's
BBQ Chicken Sandwich with a small side of Cole Slaw
490 calories
16 g fat (3g saturated fat)
1,340 mg sodium

Barbecue sauce and a reasonably-sized side dish keep this meal in the safe zone. Just opt for a water, rather than a Hardee's shake or malt, and you're good to go. And if you want to steer clear of the liquid disasters that can blow up your waistline without your knowing it, be sure to check out some of these other worst beverages in America.

Less Than 500 Calories at KFC
3 Crispy Strips with Green Beans and 3" Corn on the Cob, and a Medium Diet Pepsi
475 calories
22.5 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1,200 mg sodium

Order a side of green beans for a good source of vitamins K, A, and C—key players in maintaining strong bones and reducing cancer-causing free radicals. The corn on the cob will also help fill you up with minimal added calories. Just beware the dipping sauces—choosing BBQ over Ranch can save you over 100 calories.

Less Than 500 Calories at McDonald's
Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich with a Side Salad with Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a Medium Iced Tea
480 calories
13 g fat (2 g saturated fat)
1,945 mg sodium

Counting calories doesn't mean your meal is healthy. For example: The Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich matches the Quarter Pounder without cheese when it comes to caloric content—but the chicken has no trans fats, while the burger does. Choose the sandwich and side salad for a good combination of protein and veggies.

Less Than 500 Calories at Pizza Hut
Two Slices Thin ‘N Crispy Pizza (12") with Quartered Ham & Pineapple, and Medium Diet Coke
360 calories
12 g fat (5 g saturated fat)
1,110 mg sodium

Regardless of which pizza chain you favor, ham and pineapple is one of the most trusted combinations you can order. Ham adds extra protein to balance out the crust's carbohydrate load, while pineapple adds low-cal sweetness and a dose of antioxidants.

Less Than 500 Calories at Taco Bell
Two Fresco Soft Beef Tacos with Mexican Rice, and a bottle of water
470 calories
17 g fat (6 g saturated fat)
1,760 mg sodium

Order almost any menu item "fresco" style and the Bell boys will replace cheese and sauces with a chunky tomato salsa, cutting calories and fat by at least 25 percent.  Beyond being nutritious, salsa is also cheap—check out our list of the other healthiest cheap foods you can eat. Finally, the Mexican rice adds a tasty little side (just 110 extra calories) that'll help fill you up without filling you out.

Less Than 500 Calories at Wendy's
Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich with Mandarin Orange Cup and small Nestea Sweetened Iced Tea
500 calories
7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)
983 mg sodium

This is the healthiest sandwich on the menu. Don't order your chicken spicy, though: That's their cue to fry, rather than grill, your bird, tacking on an extra 9.5 fat grams. Adding a small citrus fruit cup side is also a great, low-calorie way to add sweetness—and cold-fighting vitamin C—to your meal.

Have your own nominations for best fast food meals under 500 calories? Please add a comment, and share them with the rest of us.

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