When the Sonic Drive-In beckons, you may feel tempted to heed its call.
But as it goes with many other fast-food chain visits, you may want to keep things in moderation for the sake of your waistline and overall health.
Kim Yawitz, a registered dietitian and the owner of Two Six Fitness in St. Louis, Missouri, pointed out, the large Oreo Peanut Butter Shake has more calories than she typically eats in an entire day — and six times the recommended daily limit for added sugar.
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Yawitz said that in her professional view, while she wouldn’t call anything on the Sonic menu particularly healthy, she did note that some choices are slightly better than others.
“You won’t find any minimally processed foods here (unless you count the lettuce on your burger), and most of the menu is high in calories, saturated fat and added sugar,” she said. She added that while some menu items have a decent amount of protein, they also contain quite a bit of fat and sodium.
Yawitz suggested looking for items that are lower in calories, fat and sodium.
Below, Yawitz and Lara Clevenger, a Florida-based registered dietitian nutritionist at Omni Nutrition LLC, shared what to order when dining at Sonic.
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Fox News Digital reached out to Sonic for comment.
Kids’ Crispy Tenders
“I’m not sure I’ve ever recommended chicken tenders as one of the healthiest restaurant options, but I guess there’s a first time for everything,” admitted Yawitz.
“The Kids’ Crispy Tenders are the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat entrée on the menu — coming in at 180 calories and eight grams of fat,” said Yawitz.
“Surprisingly, this is also one of the lower-sodium options, with 490 milligrams per serving (not counting sauce or sides),” she continued.
Typically, she said, she tells her clients to limit their sodium intake to 500 milligrams at each of three meals, and this is one of the few options at Sonic that stays below that target.
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Plain Junior Burger
Not feeling chicken fingers?
Go for the Plain Junior Burger.
The Plain Junior Burger has 330 calories, 15 grams of fat, 710 milligrams of sodium and 14 grams of protein — “and it’s the healthiest burger on the menu by far,” Yawitz said.
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“It’s a little low in protein (with just 14 grams), so you’ll need to eat higher protein foods at other meals,” she added.
Chicken Slinger Sandwich
“The Chicken Slinger sandwich certainly won’t win any nutrition awards, but it’s one of the healthier options on this menu,” said Yawitz. “One sandwich has 360 calories, 18 grams of fat, 690 milligrams of sodium, and 15 grams of protein.”
To cut down on calories and fat, Yawitz suggested ordering it without the mayonnaise.
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You can also skip one-half of the bun and eat it as an open-faced sandwich to consume fewer carbs.
Quarter Pound Double Cheeseburger
Again, no nutrition rewards here, but if you’re in a squeeze, this is a filling choice, the experts indicated.
This cheeseburger clocks in at 560 calories, 35 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs and 26 grams of protein, according to Sonic’s online nutritional brochure.
“This option gives you a good source of protein while limiting excessive carbohydrates,” Clevenger said.
Crispy Tenders – 5 Piece
The five-pieced crispy tenders come in with a whopping 36 grams of protein with 37 grams of carbs and 530 calories, said Clevenger.
By skipping the bun and opting for tenders, you save calories from omitting bread, she said.
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If you’re eating at home, pair these with a serving of baby carrots or a spinach salad for some fiber, she suggested.
Bacon Breakfast Burrito
Clevenger said that if you’re eating breakfast at Sonic, go for the bacon breakfast burrito.
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“With around 470 calories and 25 grams of protein, it’s a great on-the-go breakfast to fuel your morning,” she said.
Still, considering that bacon is one of the worst foods for your health, consider ordering only as an occasional treat, the experts said.
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