Studying, working, going to class, trying to maintain a social life… No one has time for meal prepping. So for the days you are broke and forgot to meal prep, I give you five budget-friendly and delicious meals under 500 calories from your favorite fast food chains.
Say what? Taco Bell? Who would have thought that our favorite late night mistake has actually climbed to the top of the food chain with multiple options for healthy food. From their salads to wraps, Taco Bell has become one of best options for choosing healthier food. Today I present to you, the chicken cantina bowl *que Angels singing*. The chicken cantina bowl is just under 400 calories and is filled to the brim cilantro lime rice, chicken, CHEESE, black beans, lettuce, pico, sour cream, AND GUAC. All for $5.00! 400 calories never sounded so delicious.
El Pollo Loco
El pollo loco is known for being a fresher option, however they tend to be expensive. My favorite meal is the two piece chicken meal with macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes, but the total comes out to a whopping $8.00 and 820 calories! Yikes! My new option is to get a kids two piece (180 calories) and a mashed potatoes (100 calories) and gravy (20 calories). The total is just over $4.00 and 300 calories. The meal comes with a drink and your choice of corn or flour tortillas! I avoid the extra calories of the tortillas.
Carne Asada Tacos
Okay what better excuse to scurry on down to your favorite taco shop? Carne Asada tacos average at about 80 calories each, coming with carne asada, cilantro, onions, and two corn tortillas. Lose one of the corn tortillas on each taco and you’re cutting the calorie count to 55 calories per taco. And at a average of $ 0.75-1.50 a taco, you can order up to five and still be under 300 calories. Are you crying yet? So yes girl, douse it salsa and avocado. You deserve it.
We have a few options from chick-fil-a and they’re a bit of a cheat. Chick-fil-a cooks all of they’re food in peanut butter oil, making it a better option that most fast food joints! For under five dollars you can get 4 chicken strips (470 calories), a chicken sandwich (480 calories), or my favorite, a spicy chicken deluxe (490 calories it has cheese and mayo). If you avoid getting fries you can enjoy a Lowe calorie meal treat for a good price!
A staple for when we need our Chinese food fix. By ordering a kids meal you get a perfect sized portion of one side and one entree. Broccoli beef (150 calories) and white rice (200 calories) is your best bet for the lowest (and most bareable) food option. I know you’re wondering about the orange chicken. Can you get it? It is it under the 500 calorie mark? Yes it is, but just barely. Orange chicken for child portion ranks at 300 calories. If your Panda Express offers brown rice try getting that instead of white rice to reduce it to 180 calories.
So there you have it. My quick go-to guide on meals under 500 calories and $5!!! Enjoy and happy hunting!
Disclaimer: taxes and prices vary from city to city so be sure to research a little before going out! 🙂