A quick guide to healthy fast food

Eating healthy can prove difficult for busy college students on the go. The USF Tampa campus is crowded with tempting dining options that may not fit the regulations of the food pyramid. Even the surrounding area is crowded with sinful fast food restaurants that tempt passersby with delicious value meals.

These drive-thru restaurants make healthy eating difficult, as most don’t make their nutrition information readily available to diners. Instead, many establishments direct patrons to their Web site — a convenience only for those who want to Google the restaurant on their iPhone while waiting in line.

If fast food is your only dining option, here are some healthier menu options to choose from.

Menu items with less than 200 calories and 9 grams of fat include the Premium Southwest Salad, Premium Bacon Ranch Salad and Premium Caesar Salad — all without chicken.

Add chicken to boost your protein intake, but be wary of dressings and condiments that quickly pack on calories and sugar.

All meals can substitute apple slices for french fries and water instead of sugar-filled soft drinks.

Chick-fil-A offers low-carb meals that serve any Chargrilled Chicken Club or Classic Chicken Sandwich “protein style,” with two tomato slices, a strip of bacon and provolone cheese wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

Other smart choices include the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich, Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad or the Chargrilled and Fruit Salad, all of which have less than 270 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Avoid the waffle fries and opt for a fruit cup or carrot and raisin salad instead.

Taco Bell
Taco Bell’s healthier Fresco Menu features 8 menu items with less than 9 grams of fat ranging from 150 to 330 calories. Items include crunchy and soft tacos with chicken or steak, chicken or steak Fresco Burritos and the Fresco Bean Burrito.

The key here is portion control, since it’s easy to order many of these items in quantity.

Moe’s has a few menu options that will help you make better nutritional choices. Opt for a crispy corn taco shell rather than the soft flour tortilla to reduce calories, sodium, carbohydrates and sugar.

For a good low-carb option, order your meal item “streaker style” without the tortilla or shell. Avoiding the rice and beans will also reduce the carb count. For lower fat content, skip the sour cream, cheese and dressings.

Avoid fajitas, nachos and salads, as they all have more than 800 calories and 40-90 grams of fat. As difficult as it may be, say no to the chips and queso.

This restaurant chain offers a Roasted Chicken Caesar Salad (hold the dressing) at 350 calories. Other healthy choices include the Tender Roast Sandwich with a side salad or a skinless Original Recipe chicken breast and side of mashed potatoes with no gravy.

The best choices for sides include green beans, corn on the cob or three-bean salad.

Burger King
Burger King is the least healthy fast food option. Its Web site promotes a “fat conscious” menu that boasts items with as much as 20 grams of fat.

If Burger King is a must, order a sandwich without the bun. Low-carb Whopper Juniors, BK Veggie Burgers and Tendergrill Chicken Sandwiches all have less than 200 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates.