While some patties will keep your diet on track, others — from the same restaurant no less — will do the exact opposite. Even so, that doesn’t mean you should avoid ordering a delicious burger when you’re trying to trim down. Just make this simple swap to keep unnecessary calories and fat off of your tray and off your belly.
We’ve found the top swaps from the most popular fast food burger joints in America. A simple change in your order will help you stay away from hundreds of unnecessary calories. Looking to lose weight and improve your health while continuing to indulge in your favorite fast food orders? Discover the best bets for your belly in our exclusive report, 20 Popular Fast Food Burgers—Ranked!
380 calories, 18 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 840 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 23 g protein
860 calories, 52 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,470 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (5 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 41 g protein
Okay, okay! We admit that the McDouble isn’t the least caloric burger on the menu (that crown goes to the plain ol’ Hamburger), but it is a low-cal, high-protein pick that’s served with more than just a measly slab of beef in a bun. Sure, we would have liked to see some veggies on this neat little option, but at least it will save you a grand total of 480 calories (you can eat more than another McDouble for that budget) over ordering the Grand Mac. It also happens to keep a whopping 34 grams of health-harming fat and 630 milligrams of blood pressure-raising sodium off your frame. Curious how the rest of the Mickey D’s menu stacks up? Don’t miss Every Menu Item at McDonald’s—Ranked!
Jr. Double Stack
390 calories, 21 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 830 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 25 g protein
1,090 calories, 72 g fat (30 g saturated fat, 4 g trans fat), 2,000 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (3 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 71 g protein
Yes, you can still get a bilevel burger at Wendy’s and keep your meal under 400 calories. This impressive Jr. Double Stack is low in calories with just the right amount of protein to keep you full. On the other hand, Dave’s Triple is loaded up with three-quarters of a pound of beef and smeared with a fatty mayo topping and three slices of American cheese. Oh, and did we mention it’s just 300 milligrams shy of maxing our your daily recommended intake of sodium? Pass.
Little Hamburger with BBQ Sauce, Grilled Mushrooms, and Grilled Onions
575 calories, 26 g fat (11.5 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 836 mg sodium, 57 g carbs (3 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 25 g protein
Bacon Cheeseburger with Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, Ketchup, and Mayo
1,008 calories, 69 g fat (27.5 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 1,636 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (3 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 51 g protein
The Five Guys menu is high in calories and low in choices. While, yes, they’re putting out burgers superior to the hamburger heavyweights (by using fresh, 80/20 ground chuck on flattops to order), Five Guys proves fresh and healthy often have very little to do with each other. If you want to walk out of this food joint without consuming more than 900 calories, stick with a Little Burger topped with some low-cal, grilled veggies.
Cheeseburger w/ Onion served with mustard & ketchup
400 calories, 18 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 1,080 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 22 g protein
Double-Double Cheeseburger with Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, and Spread
670 calories, 41 g fat (18 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,440 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 37 g protein
This West Coast powerhouse scores points in our book for their waistline-friendly tweaks, like the Protein-Style Burger, which replaces the bun with lettuce and saves you 150 calories. If you’re looking for a classic burger, though, we’d recommend sticking with the original Cheeseburger. Conversely, a standard Double-Double comes with an extra 270 calories and 9 grams of saturated fat in the form of mayo-based “Spread,” extra cheese, and an extra patty.
350 calories, 18 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 580 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 20 g protein
1,100 calories, 74 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 1,620 mg sodium, 59 g carbs (1 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 50 g protein
It’s hard to imagine a burger being any worse for you than the Steakhouse King; the nutritional nightmare layers on three strips of bacon, crispy onions, American cheese, and then douses its two quarter-pound beef patties with not just A.1. Thick & Hearty sauce, but also mayo. And it’s also loaded into a nutritionally-devoid bun. The gut-busting combination contains nearly a day’s worth of saturated fats and more than half a day’s calories. The best swap for your waistline: a Double Cheeseburger. With this order you’ll get a similar taste–minus 750 calories. If your smaller burger leaves you a bit hungry, pair it with a Garden Side Salad and order of apple slices. Those two additions will pack in satiating fiber without getting you anywhere near the Triple’s calories and fat.
590 calories, 25 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 1,220 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 29 g protein
1,090 calories, 68 g fat (23 g saturated fat, 2 g trans fat), 2,180 mg sodium, 62 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 54 g protein
Whataburger is the Lone Star state’s answer to McDonald’s. And when they say everything’s bigger in Texas, we should have assumed that went for burgers, as well. The innocent-sounding Monterey Melt is a nutritional terror in disguise. Made of two beef patties topped with two kinds of cheese and jalapeño ranch dressing, this burger actually has more calories and fat than the Triple Meat Whataburger! Best to stick with the starter Whataburger, which is ¾ the size but half the calories of the Melt. Sure, it’s more caloric than a Big Mac, but it should be enough to satisfy the beefiest craving.
ButterBurger “The Original”, Single
390 calories, 17 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 570 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 20 g protein
The Culver’s Bacon Deluxe, Triple
1,010 calories, 67 g fat (30.5 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 1,345 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 66 g protein
If your decision comes down to the two classics Culver’s offers, pick the ButterBurger over the Concrete Mixer (an ice-cream based “treat”), which will hit your gut like the rock for which it’s named. While a simple, no-frills ButterBurger gets the green light in a balanced diet, slam on the brakes if your burger has the words “deluxe” or “triple” in its name. The combo will skyrocket the fat content of your meal by 50 grams in a matter of minutes.
Jr. Deluxe Cheeseburger
410 calories, 24 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 960 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 20 g protein
SuperSONIC Bacon Double Cheeseburger
1,280 calories, 87 g fat (34 g saturated fat, 3.5 g trans fat), 1,710 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 70 g protein
While Sonic may not be the official home of the supersized meal, their burgers certainly follow the pattern. The difference between a junior and super size? A cool 870 calories. If you’re wondering how these two stack up, the SuperSONIC Bacon Double Cheeseburger lives up to its name, stacking double the quarter-pound patties of its junior and clocking in at more than triple the calories. With only two burgers under 450 calories on the menu, this “best” was an easy bet.
380 calories, 19 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 810 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (1 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 18 g protein
⅔ LB. Monster Thickburger
1,300 calories, 90 g fat (33 g saturated fat), 3,140 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (2 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 76 g protein
If the fat count on the ⅔ LB. Monster Thickburger has you wondering what Hardee’s piles on this thing, take note of the thick pile of bacon peeking out from between its buns. But what really burns us up is how much sodium they back into a meal you can eat with your hands: 136 percent of what you should eat—in an entire day. A decent alternative is the Double Cheeseburger. With classic flavors you know and love, a solid hit of muscle-building protein, and a sodium count within reason you don’t have to count this as a cheat meal. Speaking of salty, consuming too much sodium can seriously tax your heart. Once you’ve made this Hardee’s burger swap, you should also put an end to these 20 Worst Habits for Heart Health.