Better Fast Food Choices - Adventures in Penny Pinching

Better Fast Food Choices from Weelicious

Adventures in Penny Pinching is a bi-weekly column from Staci of Chester and Company.

When the time comes and your little ones are old enough to go out in the world to eat where to take them can seem quite scary. I remember thinking I had no options other than McDonalds. And for me that just wasn’t an option. But I also knew that I didn’t want to drop $15.00 so my kid could have something healthy. So I did some research and came to realize that there really are some great “fast food” places where you can feed your kid a healthy meal and not break the bank. When you're traveling, sometimes you may be stuck with fast food as your only option. Here are some ways to make better fast food choices that won't break the bank.


This chain has branded themselves the company that does “Food with Integrity”. They really care about what they are serving. And not only what their customers consume but also how the workers who farmed the food are treated. They serve more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant chain.

A Bean, cheese, Brown Rice and lettuce burrito has only 725 calories. 18.5 grams of fiber and 23.5 g of protein. Pretty good stuff. Now this burrito is big so it can be shared by many little ones. They also have a kids menu. You can get a cheese quesadilla with a side of black beans and rice and it has only 480 calories. But again a lot of fiber and protein.

Corner Bakery_

This chain started in 1991 with handcrafted artisan breads and soon expanded to sandwiches and other great made to order items.

They have a wide variety of kids items. PB&J, Ham Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese and Kid’s scrambler with fresh fruit. And their kids breakfast items are served anytime of the day which is great. I don’t know about your’s, but sometimes mine like to have breakfast for dinner.

Domino’s Pizza_

Now this one was a shocker for me. A vegie pizza with a gluten free crust. Go figure. It is loaded with fresh spinach, mushrooms. tomatoes, etc. And the crust is gluten free for those who need it.

Einstein Bros Bagels_

Sometimes there is nothing better than a fresh out of the oven bagel. And this place delivers. My kids LOVE pizza bagels. We make them at home all the time. You can get one of those here. Have you ever had a bagel dog? Now you can. They also have chopped salads, soups and low-fat smoothies.

Jamba Juice_

Sometimes a full meal is not something you are looking for. You just want a quick fix until you get home. This is the place for that. They have something called JambaKids Meal. Jamba’s Healthy Living Council developed these perfectly sized meals for the little ones. And they come in really cute little cups!!


This place keeps it simple. They bake their bread fresh daily. A 6” sandwich is approximately $3.00. Not bad. A small turkey sandwich has only 280 calories and a small vegie only 230. And there are over 25,000 locations through out the United States.

Whole Foods_

Ok, now this one you might not agree should be included in a penny pinching story. But if you go in knowing what you want it really can work out to be ok. And it’s definitely not something you would do everyday, but if it’s all you got it still beats McDonald’s hands down. The options at this place are endless.

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

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  • Nancy Spangler

    We enjoy Panera Bread. Lots of healthy options such as yogurt, apples, grilled cheese, PB & J, great salads, soups, and artisan sandwiches, too!

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  • Ludicrous Mama

    Subway uses azodicarbonamide in their breads, which is pretty terrible and is banned in most other countries

    and Domino's crusts all have petroleum-derived ingredients in the \"garlic oil,\" including artificial colors, artificial flavors and TBHQ.

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  • Erika

    We love Jason's Deli! Kids' meals are cheaper than McDonald's happy meals and so much healthier!!

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  • Amy Lowe

    Our favs are chik fil a (we do nuggets and baby carrots I always tote), jason's deli, panera, first watch (breakfast), five guys (if we are going to have a burger we want it to be real meat) and take out from Wegmans.

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  • Courtney

    I would warn anyone with Celiac disease that the Dominos pizza crust is GF, but cross-contamination is a concern because they do not make and bake the pizzas in a separate, GF area.

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