The Healthiest Fast Food Under $5 at 12 Popular Chains

Whether you’re juggling a busy schedule or just not in the mood to cook, a trip through the drive-thru is probably in your future.

But with inflation and supply chain issues driving up the cost of your favorite salty cravings, it’s not the best thing for your wallet.

Keep your order simple and you’ll skip the guilt.

Thank goodness for value menus, right?

The Healthiest Fast Food Under $5

When you think of healthy restaurants, you’re not going to think of places like KFC or McDonald’s — especially after 2020, when fast-food restaurants simplify their menus to cut costs during the pandemic.

RIP grilled chicken sandwiches.

Even when you’re trying your best to stick to a calorie budget or follow the latest diet trend, the neon lights of your local fast-food joints will inevitably lure you in.

We asked registered dietitian Wendy Wesley for some tricks to keep your visits cheaper and guilt-free.

Her biggest advice? Avoid the sugary beverages and skip the value meals.

“You’ll save money if you don’t get the value meal,” Wesley said. “They benefit the restaurants, not us. Just get the sandwich.”

It’s a lot easier to make healthier choices and a lot harder to stay under $5 at restaurants like Panera Bread and Chipotle, so we’ve focused on our fast-food guilty pleasures.

Side note: Any restaurants that didn’t have pricing information available online we sourced from websites like

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1. Taco Bell

Soft or Crunchy Taco – $1.69


Chicken Chipotle Melt – $1.49

Taco Bell is one of the easiest restaurants to stay relatively healthy and on a budget, especially if you keep it simple.

“Stay away from five-layer anything and avoid chips,” Wesley said.

Your basic soft taco is only 180 calories, 9 grams of fat and 500 milligrams of sodium.

Prefer crunchy tacos? You’ll save on sodium. One crunchy taco is 170 calories, 10 grams of fat and 300 milligrams of sodium.

“Skip the…

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