Low-Cholesterol Fast Food Entrees

You Can Make Low-Cholesterol Choices on the Run

Fast food can be convenient, tasty, and economical. For years there were little to no heart-healthy choices to be found. But thanks to public demand, there are now more lower-cholesterol options to choose from.

We aren't recommending that you frequent fast-food restaurants on a low-cholesterol diet, but if that's where you have to get your meals sometimes, here's how to make a smarter choice. Read on for a list of five low-cholesterol fast-food entrees worth checking out.

Woman eating hamburger
Dean Belcher / Getty Images

Low-Cholesterol Guidelines for Fast Food

  • Know Before You Go: Check out the nutrition information on the websites of the restaurants that you visit most. Try to plan what you will order ahead of time.
  • Size Matters: Select a small-sized entrée. Did you know that in a fast-food restaurant small hamburgers (3.0 to 3.5 ounces) are usually a lower-cholesterol choice than chicken sandwiches? (They average 5.0 to 5.5 ounces).
  • Pick your meat carefully: If you are avoiding red meat, then you may need to opt. for chicken or fish. But keep in mind that fast-food chicken and fish are often breaded and deep-fried.
  • Add a Healthy Topping: Add extra vegetables to your entrées, such as lettuce, cucumbers, or tomatoes.
  • Skip the Fries; Add a Healthy Side: Try a garden salad with low-calorie dressing (or even better, a squirt of lemon).
  • Watch Your Frequency Limit eating at fast-food restaurants to one or two times per month.

Low-cholesterol food is typically considered less than 20mg per serving, but eating a lot of low-cholesterol food adds up.

Some options to check out:

Domino's Pizza "Thin Crust Veggie Pizza" (2 squares of 12" medium pizza, 1/8 pizza) Locations nationwide

  • 143 Calories, 63 Calories from Fat, Total Fat 7 grams (g), Saturated Fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 15 milligrams (mg), Sodium 240 mg, Carbohydrate 15g, Fiber 3g, Protein 5g
  • Tip: Start your meal with a filling "Garden Fresh Salad" to help limit yourself to just two pizza squares.

McDonald's Small Hamburger Locations nationwide

  • (Serving size: 3.5 ounces) 250 Calories, 80 Calories from Fat, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 520mg, Carbohydrate 31g, Fiber 2g, Protein 12g
  • Tip: this is not a low-sodium item, and the burger is made with red meat, so plan the rest of your day's meals accordingly.

Taco Bell's "Fresco Crunchy" Taco Locations nationwide 

  • (Serving size: 92g) 140 Calories, 70 Calories from Fat, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 2.5g, Cholesterol 13mg, Sodium 300mg, Carbohydrate 14g, Fiber 3g, Protein 6g
  • Tip: Ask for extra salsa for an added nutrient bonus.

Subway's "Veggie Delight" Sandwich, 6'' Locations nationwide 

  • 200 Calories, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 280mg, Carbohydrate 39g, Fiber 5g, Protein 9g
  • Tip: All 8 varieties of Subway's "Fresh Fit" 6'' subs contain no more than 55mg of cholesterol, 265 calories, and 6g of total fat.

Wendy's "Junior Hamburger" Locations nationwide 

  • 90 Calories, Total Fat 10g, Saturated Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 460mg, Carbohydrate 25g, Fiber 1g, Protein 13g
  • Tip: Note: this is not a low-sodium item, and it is red meat, so plan the rest of your day's meals accordingly.

The word "crispy" on fast-food menus is usually a code word for fried (meaning extra fat and calories you don't need). Avoid crispy foods and choose baked, steamed, or grilled options.

A Word From Verywell

A busy schedule doesn't have to mean sabotaging your low-cholesterol diet plan. Plan ahead and add healthy extras. Getting moderate exercise on a regular basis helps keep your cholesterol at healthy levels. Keep In mind that some people have high cholesterol due to genetics, and even a low-cholesterol diet might not be enough to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. In these situations, it's necessary to take cholesterol-lowering medication.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Domino's Pizza. Domino's Pizza Nutrition Guide.

  2. McDonald's. McDonald's Nutrition Facts.

  3. Taco Bell. Taco Bell Nutrition Info.

  4. Subway. Subway Nutrition Data Tables. 2019.

  5. Wendy's. Wendy's U.S. Menu: Nutrition Facts.

By Ellen Slotkin, RD, LDN
Ellen Slotkin is a registered dietitian specializing in heart-healthy nutrition, weight management, and pregnancy nutrition.