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Is Wendy’s a Good Option After Bariatric Surgery?

Note: Whether you’ve had bariatric surgery or not, you’ll likely visit a fast-food or fast-casual restaurant at some point. With our rushed and busy lives, fast food may cross our minds. Often, we can get something to hold us over without destroying the diet, but it’s important to choose right. Speak to your bariatric practice and dietician for guidance…do not rely on this guide alone.

Figuring out a healthy meal when eating outside your home can be difficult, but Wendy’s is a popular choice for those who don’t want to sacrifice their nutrition and health goals. This fast-food restaurant has many different options that are helpful for someone who has had bariatric surgery and wants to be mindful of sugar and work on increasing protein.

There are several important factors when you’re trying to make a better choice at the drive-through:

  • Beverages: Avoid sugary drinks like soda, sweetened coffees, sugary iced teas, etc. Always try to drink water at meals; healthier alternatives include coffee/tea (choose non-nutritive sweeteners like Splenda to help reduce unnecessary calories.) If you can tolerate dairy, low-fat milk is an acceptable choice – it’s packed with protein and calcium.
  • Lean protein: It’s difficult to meet your protein goals if you can’t eat as much after surgery. Make sure you’re choosing a lean protein source and have the protein before finishing the rest of the meal.
  • Portion sizes: You can be mindful of calorie intake by choosing smaller meals or healthier sides; fast food is notorious for having much larger portions than an average meal.

Below are some healthier menu options at Wendy’s:

Grilled chicken ranch wrap
420 calories, 27g protein

This is a protein-packed lunch that isn’t exceptionally high in calories. It also includes some lettuce and tomato for a bit of extra fiber. Tip: ask for ranch on the side (or avoid it entirely) to lower calorie and sodium intake.

Apple Pecan Salad
450 calories, 32g protein

Salads at fast-food restaurants are often portrayed as “less healthy” due to their calorie levels, but this salad is low in calories and very high in protein. It includes 25g of fat (mainly from the dressing; skip or use less to lower the fat and calorie intake), though it also includes healthy fat from the pecans. The salad is made with mixed greens, which are high in micronutrients like vitamin C, iron, and folate.

Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
320 calories, 18g protein

Consider this high-protein sandwich if you’re in a pinch and need a fairly well-balanced breakfast. The protein from the egg and bacon will support satiety for several hours, and the cheese contains a bit of calcium. Tip: add lettuce/tomato for extra fiber.

Wendy’s Chili
240 calories, 16g protein

This famous dish is well-known for a reason: it’s tasty! For someone on a healthy diet, this is a hearty and filling option that is low in calories and contains 6 grams of fiber from the veggies and beans. Tip: A baked potato on the side would provide extra complex carbs and fiber, making it an even more satisfying meal.

Kid’s Chicken Nuggets
395 calories, 22g protein

This meal may be for kids, but it is an excellent option for anyone trying to be mindful of their portions. It comes with milk and apple slices—hello, extra protein and fiber!

Though fast food isn’t the healthiest option, expecting you’ll never end up at the drive-thru is unrealistic. After having bariatric surgery, it’s essential to make sure you’re meeting your nutrient needs to make the most of your weight loss and health journey. Fast food can be high in fat, sugar, and sodium, but it’s possible (and easy) to make better choices.

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