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The Best and Worst Drive-Thru Meals to Get When You’re on the Road

Hint: You shouldn’t order anything with double or triple in the name. With one destination on your mind and miles ahead of you, a quick pit stop at the nearest fast food drive-thru provides not only relief from hours of monotonous driving but fuel for the journey. Drive-thru access also makes it that much easier to grab a meal if you just want to hit the road. But beware: If you’re not careful, driving in the express lane can cause you to order a meal upwards of 2,000 calories, not to mention sky-high amounts of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. The good news is that it’s easy to choose a healthy meal, as long as you know what to look for on the menu.

Healthy Drive-Thru Ordering Tips

Fast food worker handing customer McDonald's ice cream sundae from drive thru A few things to keep in mind when choosing your dish: “Try to focus your meal on lean protein options such as chicken, fish, or beans that are baked or grilled,” says Kristen Smith, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and bariatric surgery coordinator at Piedmont Healthcare. “Many fast food chains are now offering fruit as a side instead of French fries. If you choose to go with French fries, try to stick with a small size or share with someone else.” Also, not all items that sound healthy actually are (say, yogurt parfaits or turkey burgers). The same goes for frozen beverages, which often have a ton of calories and sneaky sugar bombs, Smith says. To help you make a smarter choice on the road, we rounded up the best and worst meal at popular drive-thru spots across the country. So dig in, without veering off the healthy path. And while you’re at it, check out 25 Ways to Slim Down Any Fast Food Order.

The Best and Worst Drive-Thru Meals to Get When You’re on the Road

Whether you're driving hundreds of miles on a road trip or want to grab something quick to eat on the way to the office or your home, drive-thru meals are convenient and cheap. But if you're not careful, they can also pack calories, sodium, fat, and sugar. Follow these nutrition tips for making healthier choices.