The secret menus in most fast-food chains aren’t exactly secret anymore, especially when they became all the rage a while ago. It was never much of a secret anyway for a lot of avid fast food lovers and those who are brave enough to ask for tweaks and edits on their orders, even when dining in a fast-food chain. Most off-menu items are just some popular tweaks people make on their orders, so they’re not necessarily dishes that fast-food chains are hiding from you.
The thing, however, with secret menu items is that they’re, most often than not, more sinful than what the regular menu offers. In some chains, they’re composed of double orders of cheese or meat. In others, they can mean addition of something greasy.
This shouldn’t discourage you if you’re the type who wants to eat better but don’t want to miss out on the convenience fast-food chains offer, however. There are some chains with healthier secret menus than what’s available on the regular menu. So if you want to cut down on the calories and cholesterol, you can turn to them without a hitch.
What are these chains, you ask? Here are a few that you should get to know.
While Panera Bread is one of the select fast-casual chains with healthier offerings, their meals can still be packed with calories and carbs since they largely serve hearty soups and breads. They’re also delectable, especially the bakery items that will indulge your cravings for something starchy and sweet.
However, they try to balance things out with the available stuff on their secret menu. It’s packed with healthy and protein-rich options that will satisfy your need to eat better but also your tummy and cravings. They’re quite creative, too, so if you want something that’s a bit different, you can find something nice here.
What to get: Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad
This fast-food chain is definitely one of the last places you’d think would offer healthy food on their menu and you’re pretty much right. However, you can still get some lighter and waist friendlier dishes off their menu.
How? Well, instead of enjoying their iconic fried dishes, you can get them grilled instead. By ditching the grease, you’ll cut down your caloric intake significantly.
What to get: Fried pickles, The Spicy Char, Cheese Quesadilla
It’s no surprise that Chipotle has secret menu items that are also quite healthy since they do let you customize your orders. You can really just go pick the healthiest ingredients and call it a meal. However, if you want the most popular and possibly the best combinations that won’t punish your waist and will satisfy your tastebuds, you should check out their healthy secret menu tweaks.
What to get: Swap out high-cal flavor add-ons to fresh cilantro, Substitute corn tortillas for burrito tortillas
Now this will surprise many but not all. The most popular secret menu items of In-N-Out are very indulgent and sinful so those who want to eat better might not want to go near this chain. However, since their menu is highly customizable, you can still tweak it to be a bit lighter on cholesterol and calories if you want to.
What to get: Protein Style Burger, Grilled Onions, Extra Tomatoes
Like In-N-Out, Taco Bell wouldn’t be the first place you’d want to go to if you want to eat better. However, if you have no other choice, there are some secret menu items that you can turn to. It’s not much but this alternative to the regular burrito can make do in a pinch, especially if you love guacamole.
What to get: The Hulk, The Incredible Hulk
This chain may not be as widely popular as the others on the list but it doesn’t mean that people don’t love it. It’s probably more just because it’s not as easily available as others. In any case, its fans will definitely find it hard to resist their charms when they finally decide to eat healthier.
However, if they do, they still don’t have to ultimately cut ties with the chain since it offers lighter and healthier versions of their classics. There are also some healthy secret menu options available.
What to get: Low Carb It, Veg It
So with these picks, you don’t really have to avoid fast food chains entirely if you want to eat better. Sure, you can find healthier options with more ease by going elsewhere but if you find yourself in the most convenient location of these chains, you don’t have to hightail it anymore just so you can stick to your diet. You can just opt for the healthier offerings they have off-menu and you’re good to go.
Like other secret menu items, however, please be mindful of your timing when ordering them. Since these dishes require tweaking, they will take longer to prepare than the standard menu items. Exercise patience and do not order them during peak hours to avoid causing any inconvenience to the staff.