healthy burger fast food

Photo: Caroline Yohanan and Leila Baboi

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The Burger-and-Fries Chain

Best bet: You came for the burger, so go ahead and get it. Add the vegetable works on top (lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions), but limit yourself to one high-fat topping. Pick the mayo, the avocado or the cheese—not all three. And if you really want to make it as healthy as possible, ditch the bun and wrap the patty and fixins in a large leaf of lettuce.

Stay away from: Value meals, which are calorie landmines. A large bundle meal (cheeseburger, French fries and a regular soda) can have up to 1,600 calories, according to research published in Preventing Chronic Disease. Don't kid yourself with veggie burgers, either. "Restaurants usually add extra fat, sodium and breadcrumbs to make the usually bland patties taste good," says Maria Bella, RD, founder of Top Balance Nutrition in New York.