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10 Fast-Food Restaurants You Haven't Heard Of

10 Fast-Food Restaurants You Haven't Heard Of

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Ever had a Wimpy Burger? If you have never feasted your eyes on a Wimpy restaurant, you’re not alone. It’s one of many fast-food chains that have not made it to the U.S., and it's likely to be a fast-food restaurant you’ve never heard of. The Daily Meal has compiled a list of fast-food restaurants that are worth seeking out if you’re headed abroad.

See 10 Fast-Food Restaurants You Haven't Heard of Slideshow

Fast food is no small industry here in the U.S. — Americans spend nearly $100 billion on fast food every year. There are close to 50,000 fast-food chain locations in the country, according to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and of those, McDonald’s is the largest fast-food chain.

By now, you are likely familiar with Birthplaces of Fast Food in America, here is a recap: the contemporary fast-food industry was born on Sept. 13, 1921 in Wichita, Kan., when Walter A. Anderson teamed up with Edgar Waldo "Billy" Ingram to open the first White Castle. In the next 15 years, White Castle would open seven more locations, expanding to other mid-Western markets.

Almost two decades after the first White Castle opened, the fast-food movement experienced a surge of momentum when the McDonald brothers, Richard and Maurice, opened their first hamburger restaurant, McDonald’s in San Bernardino, Calif., in 1940.

From then on, the industry proliferated. Colonel Sanders, who had opened his first restaurant in 1930 in North Corbin, Ky., opened the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1952. Burger King’s predecessor, Insta-Burger King, was founded in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1953, while the first location of the current company opened in Miami in 1954. Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969.

Many American fast-food institutions, such as McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King, have gained major traction overseas, but their counterparts abroad don’t always make it to the U.S. While some overseas restaurants emulate major American institutions, others have created their own regional versions of fast food.

From Nigeria, where Mr. Bigg’s has more than 170 locations serving traditional cuisine such as moin moin and ofada rice, to Barbados, where Chefette, famous for its roti, is celebrating its 40th anniversary, diners are likely to find a localized fast-food chain almost anywhere in the world.

After searching all over the world, The Daily Meal found 10 fast-food restaurants you haven't heard of, but should definitely know about.

All The Best Fast Food Desserts, Ranked

While burgers and fries take the spotlight on any fast food menu, it would be wrong to underestimate the art of saving room for dessert. Surprisingly, fast casual restaurants are keepers to some of the best frozen treats. Can you order a McFlurry at a high-end dinner? I think not.

Fast food is the ideal meal when we&rsquore too busy to sit down and enjoy a home cooked dinner, or when you&rsquore driving the kids from one activity to another and they haven't even started their homework yet. Founder of Wendy&rsquos Dave Thomas wanted to create the Frosty as the final touch on the "perfect meal," and I&rsquod have to agree with him. It&rsquos no easy task to rank fast food desserts with so many options available, but we did it. Here&rsquos our official ranking of some of the best (and some of the not-so-great) fast food treats, from our favorites to our least faves.

If loving an Oreo McFlurry is wrong, I don&rsquot want to be right. There&rsquos something instantly iconic about a McFlurry. With McDonald&rsquos now on UberEats, giving into the craving has been even easier during the pandemic. And while we love the Oreo edition, you should always stay vigilant for new limited-edition flavors such as the Shamrock Oreo McFlurry and the Chips Ahoy McFlurry.

Calling this ice cream would be a disservice, because frozen custard is so much creamier and more premium than you&rsquod expect. Shake Shack&rsquos Frozen Custard is hand-spun daily right in the kitchen. Anyone who tries one can taste right away how fresh this dessert truly is. It&rsquos made with real sugar (not high fructose corn syrup) and the milk comes from dairy farmers who have pledged not to use artificial growth hormones. Just when I thought I couldn&rsquot love this cup of joy anymore!

The most recognizable item on Wendy's menu is the Frosty. Like, do you actually eat Wendy&rsquos if you don&rsquot dip your French fries into a chocolate Frosty? For a casual dining restaurant, the quality here reigns supreme. I appreciate that the restaurant doesn&rsquot try to overextend themselves and offer too many variations&mdashthey keep it classic to vanilla and chocolate. Although they say you can drink it with a straw, I highly advise you make sure you have that spoon in the bag.

Chick-Fil-A really knows how to make summer that much more enjoyable with their Frosted Lemonade. An upgrade from an original lemonade, it&rsquos a hand-spun masterpiece of their lemonade (even available in diet) and their original Icedream dessert. See what they did there&mdashtheir ice cream is Icedream(y)! While you can&rsquot go wrong with their shakes either, this lemonade delight pairs so well with any of their chicken sandwiches.

Who knew that McDonald&rsquos would become known for those small but delectable Baked Apple Pies? It was a stroke of genius to create a dessert that has such a strong sense of home. The serving is just enough and it&rsquos filled with 100 percent American-grown apples. Plus, it is always topped with a sprinkling of sugar. Make sure it&rsquos warm when you get it&mdashjust like how grandma used to serve it!

Taco Bell put their own twist (literally) on a traditional dessert with their Cinnamon Twist. This cinnamon sugar snack is the cherry on top of any meal you order at Taco Bell. Is it Earth-shattering? No, but some desserts are meant to be simple and just balance out the entire meal. I&rsquom still waiting for the restaurant chain to roll out fried ice cream, but I won&rsquot be holding my breath.

A McDonald&rsquos Hot Fudge Sundae just screams nostalgia, which definitely adds to the taste. McDonald&rsquos definitely has the widest array of desserts among fast food chains, like this soft serve dripped with hot fudge. Hot and cold has always been a combination to be savored.

Sure, Sonic Blasts are good. I give them credit for developing different options around candy we know and love such as Reese&rsquos, Snickers, and Butterfingers. My issue with the Sonic Blasts is that it leaves no room for the actual meal. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blast stands at a casual 1,000 calories. If you&rsquore going to try one, maybe split it with a friend!

When I&rsquom thinking Arby&rsquos, I don&rsquot think of a Cherry Turnover, if I&rsquom being honest. It&rsquos hard to get a turnover right while trying to find the perfect balance between the flaky exterior and the fruity interior.

I was today-years-old when I learned White Castle serves a piece of cheesecake dipped in fudge on-a-stick. Seems like an idea that someone comes up with while intoxicated, but look, it is creative. Cheesecake also seems like a dessert that doesn&rsquot pair well with the sliders on White Castle&rsquos menu, but I'll leave that up to you to decide.

10. KFC

My faves. #ThisIsFall

A post shared by KFC - Kentucky Fried Chicken (@kfc) on Oct 11, 2014 at 9:02am PDT

Let me start off by saying that putting KFC at the bottom spot isn't meant to be negative. KFC is like the McDonald's of fried chicken. They do a decent job on the quality, and they keep the flavor train rolling with Nashville Hot, Georgia Gold, and whatever other fried chicken trends they're monitoring. However, every other single chain on this list was designed to be better than the finger lickin' good poultry you can get from KFC.

That being said, KFC definitely deserves the fried chicken love 'cause they still make some pretty damn good chicken.

16 Regional Fast-Food Chains You Need To Know About

You can barely go anywhere these days without the logos of mega fast-food chains catching your eye, but big guns like McDonald's and Chick-fil-A can sometimes blind you to lesser-known &mdash and equally good &mdash regional spots. If you see these local chains on your next road trip, they're definitely worth a pit stop.

Location: Southeast

Ask any Southerner whether they've heard of this North Carolina-based chain, and you can bet your biscuits they've been more than once. Fried chicken dinners and flaky, buttery biscuits are the two must-order items, which can be complimented by Southern staples like dirty rice and grits or other comforting sides, like mashed potatoes and mac & cheese.

Location: South

Any chain beloved enough to be featured in an annual eating championship is one that we'd like to try, and Krystal certainly qualifies. Even non-competitors will want to order as many of their original Krystal burgers as they can stomach &mdash the "White Castle of the South" serves their sliders with diced onions, mustard and dill pickles on a signature, square-shaped bun. The mini hot dogs are pretty cute, too.

Location: California and Hawaii, plus various other locations

In the Phillipines, Jollibee holds a celebrity status comparable to McDonald's in the United States. The chain has a pretty unusual menu, combining items like Chickenjoy (fried chicken) meals with Jolly Spaghetti to create a meal that certainly won't bore your tastebuds.

The underdog items? The Aloha Burger, topped with bacon, pineapple and an epic special sauce and the mango peach pie, which might beat out Mickey D's classic apple.

Location: Midwest and east coast

If you're looking for a quick way to make friends in Pittsburgh (and beyond), show up to a party with a bucket of wings from this favorite chain. Their crispy thighs and drumsticks come tossed with all manner of sauces, the most daring of which is the Triple Atomic, clocking in at 500,000 Scoville units. Meat eaters who prefer to keep their tastebuds go for the half-pound steakburgers, topped with everything from bacon jam to Harissa mayo.

Location: Midwest

You're pretty much guaranteed to get two things at this Midwestern chain &mdash an ultra-cheerful greeting and a calorie-laden Butterburger. (For the uninitiated, that's a burger served on a buttered, toasted bun.) Locations have popped up across the country, but you'll find most in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan, where there's alway an appetite for cheese sauce-slathered, crinkle-cut French fries and creamy, frozen custard.

Location: South, plus various other locations

Every little kid's dream of choosing their dinner from a menu full of chicken fingers comes true in this Louisiana-based chain. The fried chicken tenders are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, best served with a side of their secret-recipe Cane's sauce and buttery, grilled Texas toast. You know, in case you haven't met your carb quota for the day.

Location: Northeast and Midwest

Chipotle isn't the only respectable burrito joint in town. Panchero's gives the chain a run for its money with its fresh-pressed tortillas and focus on expert burrito-rolling &mdash no tears here. Burrito bowls, salads, tacos and quesadillas are also on the menu, and their homemade queso is leaps and bounds ahead of Chipotle's gritty version.

Location: Southwest

San Antonio is home to this burger joint, which boasts an orange "W" instead of golden arches and allegiance to the chain has spread throughout the Lone Star State and beyond. Not only do these burgers have significantly more heft, but the ability to customize puts Whataburger over the top. Choose the number of patties and any combination of condiments your heart desires.

Location: Midwest and Southeast, plus various other locations

The Dominos and Pizza Hut logos might be burned into your brain as go-to pizza spots, but keep an eye out for the yellow sign and cartoon character at this Michigan-founded chain and you won't regret it. The pies have epic flavor baked into the crust (choose from butter cheese, Cajun, garlic herb, ranch and more ) that put it a notch above other delivery joints, and other menu items like breadsticks, salads and calzone-sandwich hybrid "subs" aren't too shabby, either.

Location: South

In the South, every great night out ends with an early a.m. visit to Cook Out. This chain is known for it's serious variety, including over 40 milkshake flavors, and beats out most other burger joints by cooking their fresh, beef patties on an actual grill. If you need something to wash down your BBQ pork sandwich and side of hushpuppies, go ahead and order a "huge" beverage &mdash yes, that's what the size is called. This chain doesn't mince words.

Location: Midwest

The Iowa-founded Maid-Rite chain specializes in a particularly messy item known as the loose meat sandwich. It's a bun filled with a mixture of unseasoned ground beef and sautéed onions, but don't call it a sloppy joe &mdash there's no tomato sauce to be found here. If you're feeling fancy, top yours with blue cheese or cheddar and jalapeños, then round it all out with a diner-style malt or shake.

Location: Florida, North Carolina, Texas, plus various other locations

A tiny neighborhood restaurant in North Carolina called Tenders transformed into this drooled-over establishment, which has since set up shop throughout Florida and Texas. Made-from-scratch chicken tenders are the name of the game here, and you can watch the breading and cooking for yourself, thanks to the open-format kitchens. If tenders aren't your thing, may we suggest a honey butter chicken sandwich with a side of crispy, golden zucchini fries?

Location: Midwest

Nebraska's most iconic sandwich &mdash brought to the Midwest by German immigrants &mdash takes center stage at this ultra-regional chain. Sure, you'll find burgers, chicken sandwiches, and an odd invention called a "chili salad" on the menu, but the classic Runza is a winning order, consisting of a crusty bread roll stuffed with beef, cabbage and sautéed onions. Change it up with bacon or mushrooms, but definitely get a side of Frings (a combo of French fries and onion rings, obvi) with French onion dip and maybe even some cinnamon rolls for dessert.

Location: Midwest, South, and various other locations

With gourmet-sounding options like beer-battered fish tacos and carne asada fries, it's clear that this Mexican-inspired, fast-food stop takes things further than Taco Bell. Famous items like their bean-and-cheese dip and burritos &mdash spiced up with signature green or red sauce &mdash bring the flavor, but typical burgers and fries aren't off the table for those with more classic, American taste.

Location: California, plus various other locations

In-N-Out might be the talk of the town in California, but this chain took root in the state before "animal style" was part of our vocabulary. A former hot-dog cart in L.A., Carl's Jr. has since shifted to focus on burgers &mdash and big, juicy ones at that. Their $5 All-Star meals are tough to beat in terms of value, but don't count out other menu items like their hefty breakfast sandwiches.

Location: East Coast, plus various other locations

People along the east coast are fiercely loyal to this convenience store chain that's equipped with an efficient and surprisingly tasty hot food counter. The computerized ordering system lets you choose what you want, from hoagies to quesadillas to mac & cheese, and customize it down to the amount of butter on your roll. It's the ultimate place to fill up the gas tank, stock up on snacks and get a good meal in your belly before embarking on a road trip.

10 Things You Can Eat at a Fast Food Place and Not Feel Guilty

When you visit your favorite fast food restaurant, the menu items are familiar, the menu board is easy to read, and the fare is -- about what you expect. That goes for your friendly neighborhood drive-through as well as its clone halfway across the country in a town you've never even heard of. That's pretty consistent. It's also pretty scary when you consider the fat-laden, sodium-rich and calorie-packed offerings a lot of these chains are serving up to millions of Americans every day.

If you want to eat healthier without giving up your fast food habit, there are some low-cal, low-fat options out there that are still flavorful and filling. These 10 healthy fast food menu items taste great, so ordering one of them instead of your usual diet-busting indulgence will be less of a sacrifice.

10: Subway - Low-fat Sandwiches

With six grams of fat or less, these sandwiches are tasty and good for you. Just watch out for the added fatty extras, like mayonnaise and oil. Use mustard instead, and layer on the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and green peppers. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Turkey Breast (6-inch)- 280 Calories, 3.5 grams total fat (1.0 gram of saturated fat) and 910 mg of sodium.
  • Roast Beef (6-inch) - 310 Calories, 4.5 grams total fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat) and 840 mg of sodium.
  • Oven Roasted Chicken (6-inch)- 320 Calories, 4.5 grams total fat (1.5 grams of saturated fat) and 750 mg of sodium.

Adding a little mustard instead of mayo to your sandwiches and burgers can provide moisture and flavor without the fat.

9: Panda Express - Broccoli Chicken

Sometimes you've just got to have Chinese food, and finding an entree that's low in fat and sodium can be a challenge when you demand some flavor in your rice bowl. Panda Express broccoli chicken has a skinny 180 calories. With six grams of total fat and 650 mg of sodium, it's a heart- smart option that will give you a painless serving of broccoli too.

Just because they call it fast food doesn't mean you have to inhale it. Chew slowly and savor the flavor. If you're eating at home, ditto, but go the extra step of putting your entree on a smaller plate. It'll look like more, and eating slower will fill you up on less.

8: Dunkin' Donuts - Egg White Turkey Sausage Flatbread

Breakfast on the road can be a dieter's nightmare. When you need more than a cup of bracing coffee to meet the day's challenges, try this fluffy egg white sandwich and a cup of java to go. This breakfast sandwich is an impressively light 280 calories, with 6 grams of total fat and 820 mg of sodium. One of Dunkin' Donuts' "DDSmart" menu options, it's a tasty way to greet the day.

7: Blimpie - Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich (6-inch)

We like this Asian-inspired sandwich from Blimpie's lighter menu because it has loads of flavor and fresh ingredients. With 7 grams of total fat in a 370 calorie package, we couldn't resist this one even though it has 1,090 mg of sodium. It's the soy sauce that makes it moderately more salty, but oh-so-good.

One thing most fast food restaurants have in common is the generous use of salt in their offerings. When you're dining out on fast food, avoid adding extra salt to your meal. There's probably plenty in whatever you're eating. A healthy person's salt intake shouldn't exceed 2,300 mg daily. If you're diabetic or have high blood pressure or kidney disease, reduce your salt consumption to less than 1,500 mg a day.

6: Taco Bell - Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco

We love this chubby handful of soft taco goodness because it's so lean and flavorful that -- dare we say it -- you might even order two. At 170 calories, 4 grams of total fat each (1.5 grams of saturated fat) and 740 mg sodium, this yummy taco wins the pinata prize for the yummiest, guilt- free Mexican lunch munch. Look for it on Taco Bell's Drive-Thru Diet menu.

Cheese is high in fat, often high in additives and you probably don't even taste it in your seasoned burgers and sandwiches. When you're mixing ingredients and using cheese as a complement instead of the main ingredient, consider dropping it altogether.

5: McDonald's - Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich

While the kids are enjoying their Happy Meals, why not try a premium grilled chicken classic? Served on a honey-wheat roll, this relatively low-cal sandwich will cost you 370 calories, 4.5 grams of total fat and 1,100 mg of sodium. It isn't the best option out there, but if you're going to McDonald's anyway, it's a solid choice. Just remember to pass on the mayo.

You can still eat your favorite diet-death fast food entries, but plan your indulgences. Be good and then splurge (a little) as a reward. It will keep you from feeling deprived, dejected and downright hungry.

4: Chick-fil-A - Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich

Chick-fil-A knows how to cook a chicken, and you'll have a better appreciation for fowl when you try a melt-in-your-mouth, moist, chargrilled chicken sandwich. What's the damage? Coming in at around 300 calories, 3.5 grams of total fat and 1,120 mg of sodium, it's a low-fat treat that's somewhat higher in sodium than we'd like but still doable. Just have a fruit cup or salad instead of waffle fries on the side.

3: Burger King - Whopper Jr.

We couldn't create a list of fast food options without including a bona fide burger in it somewhere. The Whopper Jr. isn't in the same league as a salad for sure, but for a burger it isn't too bad. At 340 calories, 20 grams of total fat and 650 mg of sodium, it's about as good as a flavorful, bad boy burger gets. Oh, we'd better mention that those 20 grams of fat include 5 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans fat. When you compare it to its big brothers, the Whopper Jr. looks positively wholesome. Just keep in mind that it's a reduced-guilt option rather than a totally guilt free choice.

Web sites like Fast Food Facts publish nutritional information on the national fast food chains. You can strategize your meal choices on the go and have a better chance of staying on your diet.

2: Kentucky Fried Chicken - Grilled Chicken Breast

If you haven't heard about Kentucky Fried Chicken's new grilled chicken options, you've probably been in a coma. Walking on the unfried side of KFC's menu can be a good way to cut the fat for the whole family. Compared to regular recipe chicken, the grilled alternative may look more petite without all that breading, but it has big flavor just the same. A grilled chicken breast boasts 190 calories, 6 grams of total fat (1.5 grams saturated fat) and 550 mg of sodium. With a side of green beans at 20 calories, you can have a finger licking good lunch without a pang of self-reproach.

It may not be your first choice, but salad is filling, crunchy, zesty, high in fiber and low in fat (if you dress it right). There are some things to watch out for, though. Some cagey operators offer salads packed with fried meats, cheeses and fatty dressings. Before you buy, check the menu carefully to see exactly what you're getting. Pass on the added meat if it's breaded and fried, and opt for dressing on the side or choose a non-fat option. Better yet, lose the dressing altogether. We're not suggesting that you go for the greens every time you eat out, but an occasional salad for lunch is a great way to reduce your calorie intake, bulk up on fiber and watch the fat.

Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • Wendy's Chicken Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast (no salad dressing added) - With about 250 calories and 7 grams of total fat, it'll satisfy your meat craving and give you a rewarding veggie crunch. You'll feel righteous and replete.
  • Burger King Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad (no salad dressing added) - 270 calories and 9 grams of fat. If you like cheese, this tasty mouthful has three varieties to offer. It raises the fat count but might just make it easier to forget you aren't ladling on the dressing.

Supersizing your fast food meal may make financial sense, but it's bad for your waistline. Resist the urge to get a good deal and go for a good meal instead. Exercising portion control is one of the secret weapons of a successful weight management campaign, so be wise and undersize your fast food order.

Pineapple Fried Rice

The Inquiring Chef

Upgrade your go-to restaurant order with your own version of homemade Pineapple Fried Rice. The Inquiring Chef's rendition makes use of leftover frozen veggies, bright basil, aromatic jasmine rice, and anti-inflammatory turmeric all picturesquely nestled in a pineapple. Talk about a drool-worthy sweet and savory dinner!

18 Fast-food hacks that will blow your burger-loving mind

Fast food is, well, fast, and that leads a lot of people to think there’s no room for innovation.

Luckily that’s not the case, and a few simple tweaks here and there can make your fast-food meal taste totally out of this world. From clever budget menu ordering to the best tricks for getting fresh food, these hacks will have you worshipping the drive-thru.

1. The “Poor Man’s Big Mac”

According to Serious Eats, you can save some dough by doctoring up a dollar menu McDouble. Just ask them to hold the mustard and ketchup, add some lettuce and Big Mac sauce, and suddenly your McDouble is a Big Mac, minus the center bun.

2. Know before you go

In-N-Out Burger may be the most famous for it (animal-style fries, anyone?), but did you know that many fast-food restaurants have a secret menu? Check them out &mdash from Arby’s to Whataburger &mdash before you go so you know just what to order.

3. Get the best fries

Want hot, fresh fries? You can go about it two ways. Just ask for fresh fries, and they’ll usually comply &mdash you just might have to wait a couple of minutes for the new batch. Alternately you can ask for fries with no salt so they have to make a new batch. But a word to the wise: Do the second, and they might hate you a bit.

4. Add Doritos Locos to your Taco Bell

Craving a Cheesy Gordita Crunch and Doritos Locos? You can combine the two by upgrading to a Dorito shell on your Gordita for a few cents more.

5. For fresh food, go during the rush

It makes sense &mdash the busier a restaurant is, the more orders they’ll be going through, meaning your chicken nuggets will spend less time sitting around before they get on your tray.

6. Go custom

One way to get the freshest fast food is to ask for a change. Whether you want to hold the mustard or add some onions, your sandwich will be assembled on the spot. Otherwise you may be doled out a premade, standard-recipe burger that was made hours ago.

7. Get a real egg at McDonald’s

Do you want a real fried egg on your breakfast sandwich at McDonald’s instead of their pre-scrambled mystery egg? Just ask for a round egg, and you’ll get one, identifiable yolk and all.

8. Get more meat at Chipotle

According to some, if you ask for half of two kinds of meat at Chipotle, you’re likely to end up getting more like a 3/4 portion of each &mdash meaning you’ll get an entire extra half portion of meat in your burrito or bowl.

9. Get more beef for your buck

Love Arby’s? Try ordering two junior-size roast beef sandwiches instead of a regular. You’ll spend less but get more of the same food.

10. Get grilled

If you or your kids are vegetarian, this is a great option. You can ask almost any fast-food restaurant for an off-menu grilled cheese. It’s just two buns, inside out, grilled with cheese in the middle.

11. Get literally any smoothie you want

At Jamba Juice, you can ask for any combination of ingredients you want to customize your drink, not just the smoothies on the menu. You can also swap and substitute ingredients in any of its listed smoothies so your beverage comes out just the way you like it.

12. Make it fancy

Want to impress a date with little to no work? Turn your KFC Double Down into chicken cordon bleu &mdash which is also basically just fried chicken stuffed with cheese and cured pork. All you have to do is re-plate it, add a sprig of fresh herbs for garnish and serve with a cloth napkin!

13. Get a “steamed bun” at McDonald’s

If you’re sick of the almost jerky-like, dry and tough buns that come with your McDonald’s burger, there’s a solution. Asked for a steamed bun instead. It’s what they use for the Filet-O-Fish, and it’s light and fluffy, unlike the leathery buns used on the other sandwiches.

14. Eat healthy

Wait, what? It turns out fast-food meals can actually be healthier than eating at a sit-down restaurant. Because you can choose items à la carte &mdash meaning you can forgo the side of fries and sugary beverage &mdash you can actually end up eating a lot fewer calories than at a sit-down meal at your favorite restaurant. Just choose wisely.

15. KFC poutine

Not planning a trip to Canada anytime soon but still craving its national favorite? Just ask for fries topped with hot gravy and cheese &mdash some KFC locations even have cheese curds for an extra-authentic version. It’s the fast-food version of your salty fried favorite and proof that gravy really does make everything taste better.

16. Get cubed

If you love Wendy’s square burger patties, then this is the hack for you. Order four patties stacked on top of one another, and you’ve got yourself… a meat cube. Managing to eat the whole thing? Well, that’s another story.

17. Drink your Nutella

Did you know you can get “Nutella” coffee at Starbucks? Just ask for a Cafe Misto with one pump of chocolate and hazelnut plus a caramel drizzle. It’s almost as good as eating it right out of the jar.

18. The Mc10:35

Probably nothing causes fast-food aficionados more panic than realizing they’re going to miss breakfast by just a couple of minutes by arriving at Mickey D’s after 10:30. But if you get there just a hair on the far side of the line, you’re in luck &mdash you might be able to order a Mc10:35, a heinous-glorious combo of the McMuffin and the McDouble. Just don’t tell your cardiologist you heard it from me.

Copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe

When pumpkin season hits, every fast food option seems to debut something new to celebrate the season. And Dairy Queen definitely follows suit with a delicious blizzard packed with pumpkin spice flavor and even real pieces of pumpkin pie mixed in. But for those who want to celebrate with pumpkin all year long, there's hope. Making a blizzard at home with our copycat Dairy Queen pumpkin pie Blizzard recipe is easier than you think, with a few key ingredients and a blender to mix it all up.

10 Fast-Food Restaurants You Haven't Heard Of - Recipes

Last week, we asked you what Burning Questions you had for my next food advice column, and the responses were so funny…

Or maybe I should say the response, singular. I’m not kidding when I say that 8 out of 10 of you asked the same (eternally evergreen) question: Will you please give me ideas for fast, easy dinners? Makes sense! Herewith, in honor of squash-soup-and-stew weather, 10 ideas for simple meals that shout fall in my house.

Rigatoni with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Toss cubed butternut (or honeynut) squash, chopped onion with olive oil, salt, pepper, and roast at 425°F for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare rigatoni according to package directions, drain and toss with a little butter. In the same pasta pot, over high heat, fry 8 to 10 sage leaves in olive oil, 10 seconds until crispy. Toss pasta, squash and sage together, top with Parmesan and chili flakes, and serve.

“Pizza Salad” with Warm Beans Toss romaine leaves with tomatoes, red onion, bocconcini (small mozzarella balls), croutons, and an oregano-spiked red wine vinaigrette. In a medium skillet set over high heat, cook a halved garlic clove and 1/2 a medium onion (chopped) in olive oil. After three minutes, add 3 cups (1 1/2 14-ounce cans) cooked (drained) white beans and cook until warmed through. Add warm beans to salad with Parmesan, chili flakes, and fresh torn basil if you have it.

Warm Mushroom Toasts with Gruyère and Greens In a large skillet, over medium-low heat, sautée chopped onion and mushrooms (white, shiitake, cremini, or a mix) with salt and pepper in olive oil. Meanwhile, lightly toast slices of crusty bread, then top with Gruyère and broil until the cheese is melted. Add chopped greens (kale, chard, mustard) to the mushrooms and cook until wilted, another minute. Drizzle with sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar) and serve on top of cheese toasts.

Baked Sausage with Apples, Potatoes and Onions Toss whole small potatoes and chopped onion with olive oil, thyme leaves, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Nestle in four links of sweet Italian sausage (pork or chicken) and bake at 400 for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, toss chopped apples (Granny Smith is ideal) in olive oil, then add to the baking sheet for the last five minutes of baking. Remove from the oven, drizzle with cider vinegar, and serve with dollops of Dijon mustard.

Avgolemono In a large soup pot, bring a 32-ounce container of chicken or vegetable broth to a boil. Add 1/4 cup orzo and aggressively simmer for about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, then in a medium bowl, whisk together 3 eggs and the juice from one lemon. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking to combine, then add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan. Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add fresh dill, salt and pepper, and chicken (optional).

Chicken Pot Pie Simmer small chunks of carrots, potatoes, and onions in chicken broth just to cover, then stir in a tablespoon or so of flour (that has been whisked with a little milk) and simmer until thickened. Add frozen peas and cubes or shreds of cooked chicken (a storebought rotisserie is good here) then pour mixture into pie dish, cover with one 9-inch prepared pie dough, brush the dough with egg wash (one whisked egg) and bake for 30 minutes at 425°F.

Shredded Vegetable Soup with Parm Bring a medium pot of broth (chicken or vegetable) to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Add shredded vegetables (anything you have hearty leaves like kale can be torn) and simmer until vegetables are cooked through, not more than 2 or 3 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top generously with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with crusty bread.

Baked Potatoes with All the Fixins Heat oven to 425°F. Scrub russet potatoes clean and prick them all over with forks. (No longer skipping this step!) Rub them all over with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. While they bake, prepare desired topping: Sautéed kale, spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, sour cream, bacon pieces. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, split lengthwise, sprinkle with sharp cheddar and broil another two minutes until the cheese has melted. Add desired toppings and serve.

30 Healthy Fast Food Orders, According To Nutritionists

Whether you're on a road trip or just craving a burger like no other, sometimes you just need to eat fast food. Yes, even nutritionists turn to McDonald's now and then. (What, you thought they literally meal-prepped all their food? Nah.) And, luckily, more and more healthy fast food restaurants pop up every day.

Of course, not all fast food is created equal. &ldquoIt definitely comes down to what you order,&rdquo says dietitian Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet. &ldquoThere are the healthier choices and then there are the not-so-great ones.&rdquo

Still, &ldquowith everybody&rsquos hectic schedules these days, it is definitely okay to eat fast food sometimes," Gans says. "No one should feel guilty about it.&rdquo

Plus, if you're really craving a burger but force yourself to stick to something you don't truly enjoy, &ldquoyou&rsquoll likely end up eating more than you would have had you just stopped to get the fast food you wanted," says Alissa Rumsey, RD, a NYC-based dietitian and owner of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness. "One meal will not make you unhealthy, just like one meal will not make you healthy.&rdquo

If you find yourself at a chain food joint and want to stay on the healthier side of things, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.

&ldquoOrdering as simple as possible, like grilled chicken or a single hamburger, is always a safe bet,&rdquo Gans says. &ldquoPass on extra toppings, such as bacon or special sauces and opt for more veggies and whole grains, if possible.&rdquo

Rumsey recommends considering the following: &ldquoI like to think about what the meal is providing and how it will make me feel. Will the meal sustain me? Am I getting adequate protein, carbs, fat and fiber? Will it make me feel tired and sluggish or energetic?&rdquo

Since a lot of places let you custom order these days, if you see something that sounds delicious but want to tweak it to make it healthier, you usually can, Rumsey adds.

Not sure where to start? Here are the healthy fast food restaurant orders nutritionists turn to in a pinch.