What are the least unhealthy options at fast food chains?

Who to a fast-food restaurant think, think not to a healthy bite. There are, nevertheless, the last years changes in the industry, by the increasing attention to sustainability and health. What healthy options you can find at the largest fast food chains?

The assortment of McDonald’s is the last years expanded with more vegetarian options and salads. According to Frank Lindner, trend watcher in the field of feed, is the fastfoodbranche definitely concerned with health and sustainability.

“The environment and the gezondheidswensen of the consumer are increasingly important. Fast food restaurants can not be left behind. They should have something in the range of what healthy is, because an ever-larger group of consumers is involved with mindful eating.”

“Indeed, there is a market for healthy fast food outlets and a healthy supply,” said Lars Vierbergen, lecturer Nutrition and Dietetics at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. “But I wonder if the largest fast food chains on a large scale are going to move with this trend.”

Fastfoodbranche in the Netherlands

  • The number of fast food restaurants over the past five years has increased from 364 to 422 restaurants, according to research by van Spronsen & ners horeca-advies.
  • 85 percent of the market share is in the hands of McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. Among the remaining 15 per cent fall, for example, Five Guys, Ellis Gourmet Burger, New York Pizza, Pizza Hut, Chicken Spot and Halal Fried Chicken.

See also:
Why there are more and more fast food restaurants open

What are healthy options?

Vierbergen do not think that health in the large chains on one state. “I can imagine that they want to hold on to their own target audience, nevertheless for a certain taste and experience.”

What is there at the three major chains to find healthier and vegetarian products? Vierbergen searched for and watched it on salads, vegetarian options and sugar-free beverages. The data are based on the online offer.


  • The snack with the fewest calories is the burger: 253 kcal.
  • At McDonald’s, five salads for sale. The salad with chicken contains in comparison with the other fast food restaurants the smallest number of calories per serving: 137. There are three vegetarian meal options: the Veggie McChicken, the Veggie Homestyle Crispy Chicken, and a vegetarian side salad. In addition, there are vegetarian breakfast items, including the Egg McMuffin, croissants and fruit. There are nine sugar-free beverages to purchase.
  • Moreover, it appears from research of the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad that the big mac now 530 calories and 27 grams of fat counts, and thus ‘wins’ of the calorierijkere Whopper from the Burger King.

Burger King

  • The snack with the fewest calories is a serving of KING Nuggets: 246,8 kcal.
  • Who a salad at the Burger King wants to eat, has the choice of three options. The variant with chicken contains 279 calories, which is just a bit more than KFC, and much more than at McDonald’s. There are four vegetarian snackvarianten offered, including the Veggie King and Cheese Nuggets and Fingers. There are two sugar-free drinks.
  • The Whopper is according to eerdergenoemd research by NRC Handelsblad a great caloriebom than the Big Mac: hamburger contains 630 calories and 38 grams of fat.

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

  • The snack with the fewest calories is a serving of Hot Wings: 95,1 kcal.
  • The KFC provides two salads, of which the version with chicken 277 calories a serving contains. There are no vegetarian variants of products. It is not clear whether there is sugar-free beverages are offered.

“Emerging duurzaamheidstrends not to avoid’

The fast-food chains, the emerging duurzaamheidstrends according to Lindner not avoid it. “They will be increasingly more transparent about their practices and ingredients list, otherwise they will be discarded.”

That agrees Vierbergen. “But I think policies and rules from above, only for major changes. Think especially of guidelines for reduced salt or fat in a product.”


  • Would you like healthier choices at fast food chains want, or you have no need for? Leave a comment under this article.

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