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6 Best New Fast-Food Menu Items of February 2021

Here's what an RD had to say about the new menu options at your favorite fast-food chains.

When hunger strikes and you're out and about, the fast-food drive-thru line is the most convenient (and cheapest) option. Many of the country's most iconic fast-food chains have debuted new menu items to try in February, including Chick-Fil-A, Pizza Hut, and Panda Express. While some new menu items are major diet busters, others are relatively healthy options, especially with a few minor modifications.

We got some insight from Hannah Cooper, MS, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian from Houston, Texas, on what to order and how to make the new menu items a little more healthy.

And for more, don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.

Yogurtland Small Batch Super Tart

cup of yogurtland tart frozen yogurt

Frozen yogurt lovers, rejoice. One of the newest flavors from Yogurtland is considered a healthy option to curb your sweet tooth on warm spring days. "This is a great option when you have a sweet tooth but want to stick to something that is relatively low in sugar and has added nutritional value. This yogurt has probiotics, too, which are good for your gut," says Cooper.

One thing Cooper warns against, though, is the toppings station. That's where hidden sugar bombs can be lurking, making this healthy option a diet disaster. Choose fresh fruit toppings instead.

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Pizza Hut Detroit Style Pizza

pizza hut detroit style pizza

Trendy Detroit-style pizzas are popping up everywhere, including the pizza delivery guy. This new pizza from Pizza Hut is considered a healthy-ish option as long as you pick the right toppings.

"When it comes to choosing a pizza option, be mindful of the toppings like extra cheese and meat lovers. These add extra calories and don't provide much nutritional value. While the nutritional content is similar to that of other slices of pizza, I would recommend sticking to the serving size of one slice," Cooper says. For added nutritional benefit, add a side salad or some raw veggie sticks.

Chick-Fil-A Grilled Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich

chick fil a spicy deluxe sandwich
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
Per 1 sandwich with pepper jack cheese: 550 calories, 25 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,810 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (3 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 33 g protein

While the fried chicken sandwich wars wage on, there's a new category we think major chains might be more interested in: the grilled chicken sandwich. A new option at Chick-Fil-A is the Grilled Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich, which comes loaded with toppings on a multi-grain brioche bun.

According to Cooper, this is one of the healthier options at the fast-food restaurant. "While this sandwich is probably one of the healthier options at Chick-Fil-A, it does have a lot of added sodium. To make this dish healthier, choose the side salad or fruit instead of the fries," says Cooper.

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Panda Express Firecracker Chicken Breast

panda express firecracker chicken

Per 5 oz: 170 calories, 65 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 1.5 g trans fat), 650 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 16 g protein

Panda Express is known for its delectable orange chicken, but that dish is loaded with sodium and sugar from the sticky-sweet sauce. If you're looking for an equally as tasty option with some added nutritional benefits, try the new Firecracker Chicken Breast. "This is a great, low-calorie and high-protein option from Panda Express. It is still relatively high in sodium but would be a great option if balanced out with their Super Greens side," Cooper says.

Farmer Boys Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Muffin

buttermilk biscuits on cooling rack

Breakfast sandwiches can be a huge diet spoiler, especially with added sodium from the type of cheese used and the amount of bacon. "From the ingredient description, this sounds like a quick and easy morning breakfast. To make this a more balanced meal, add a side of fruit," says Cooper. If you're looking to cut calories, try half the bacon and ditching the cheese.

Farmer Boys All-Beef Chili

chili shredded cheese

Fast-food chili is a deceivingly good option at the drive-thru. The new chili at Farmer Boys is a balanced meal, and Cooper considers it fairly healthy. "Again, the sodium is a potential concern. To make this healthier, ask for half the amount of cheddar cheese and add a side salad or another veggie to your meal," she says.

Megan duBois
Megan duBois is a travel and lifestyle journalist with bylines across the internet and in print at Delish, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Yahoo Lifestyle, and more. Read more about Megan