What To Eat For Health – Part 5: At Burger King

what to eat for health

We have arrived. The BK Lounge as Dane Cook used to call it. Home of the world-famous Whopper and that creepy-as-heck guy in a king costume. Today, we are going to attempt to discover what to eat for health at Burger King!

Let me just start by giving you the verdict right of the bat and then we are going to Tarantino this sucker.

Don’t.

Don’t eat for health a Burger King… Now let’s go back to the beginning!

This is now part 5 on this series of restaurant survival guides. If you want to read the other posts in this series, click on any of the links below.

Ladies and gentlemen, with Burger King we are near Arby’s level and it is for one reason in particular. As you all may already know, when you eat at a fast food restaurant, there are certain things you should expect. Of course there are going to be higher amounts of fat, sodium, and refined carbohydrates (whole grains seem to be the enemy).

What you may not expect in this day and age, when obesity is on the rise, is what is becoming one very specific fast food no-no: Trans Fat. Why is Trans Fat so bad, you may ask?

Well, according to the Mayo Clinic (not mayonnaise!), Trans Fats are the absolute worst kind of fat for your health. Not only do they have the ability to raise your bad cholesterol, but they actually also lower your good cholesterol! This, in turn, increases your chances of heart disease and blood vessel problems.

The American Heart Association notes that artificial Trans Fats are a food additive that comes from partially hydrogenated oils (the process of adding hydrogen to oils to make them more solid). If you see these on the ingredient list of any type of food item, you know that it has Trans Fats in them, regardless of if the nutrition label states 0% Trans Fat.

While most of the menu at Burger King contains these bad fats, there are a few options at Burger King that don’t. Those are the ones that we will be focusing on today.

However, before we get there, we are going to take a look at what Burger King is, where it came from, and what it offers, before I finally give you my picks for healthiest meal options.

So if you want to find out if the Whopper is on this list, keep on reading!

Welcome To The BK Lounge – How The King Was Crowned

what to eat for health

Image by maayan2007 from Pixabay

According to their Burger King’s own website, the company was founded in 1954 and has since become the second largest hamburger chain in the world behind, you guessed it, McDonald’s. While the company headquarters is in Miami, Florida, they have restaurants in over 100 countries around the world.

According to Britannica, it began with two men named, James W. McLamore and David Edgerton. Their first franchise was sold in 1959 and it quickly took flight in America. In 1963, they expanded outside of the U.S. for the first time by opening a restaurant in Puerto Rico.

Their most signature sandwich, the Whopper, was introduced in 1957 to try to outdo McDonald’s smaller burgers.

However, over time, Burger King still continued to trail McDonald’s in popularity, so they decided to make some changes. They sold the company to Pillsbury in 1967, who brought in a former McDonald’s executive to run things. He made the menu larger and sought more control over franchises.

Through the years, ownership of Burger King has changed hands many times and currently, the investment group 3G Capital is in charge.

They even came up with that creepy King mascot I mentioned above:

It appears all of these ownership changes and tricks to overtake McDonald’s haven’t paid off as they are still sitting at number 2. Oh well!

Recently, they made a push towards “healthier food” by removing artificial preservatives from their Whoppers. If you don’t mind looking at a time-lapse of molding food, check out the video below:

Of course, the Whopper was the only item highlighted, so it is still a mystery whether that includes every other food item on their menu.

Speaking of food quality, Burger King still flame grills all of it’s 100%, no filler or preservative, beef patties. They slice their onions and tomatoes fresh every day.

That sounds nice, until you realize that a lot of other fast food establishments are going the extra mile to tell you how they are moving toward more sustainable beef and produce etc. I looked everywhere on the website and the only thing they are touting is that their Whoppers are made to order…not that EVERYTHING is made to order…just the Whopper.

Is this a product of them being owned by an investment group from a completely different country? Who knows. But it doesn’t show much corporate responsibility.

A King’s Menu – What Burger King Offers

what to eat for health

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Whether you are looking for breakfast, burgers, chicken, fish, or plant-based options, Burger King has it in a wide variety of options. Let’s take a look!

Breakfast:

Flame-Grilled Burgers:

Chicken & More:

Salads:

Sides:

Sweets:

Additionally, they have a variety of Coca-Cola product soft drinks, iced tea, ICEE frozen drinks, etc. in their “Beverages” section, as well as different coffee drinks in their “Coffee” section. Check those and any of the other menu items out by clicking the provided links.

Wow! That is a long menu and I am sure you are tired of reading how many varieties of Croissan’wich there are (I know I’m tired of typing that word!). Let’s take an entertainment break brought to you by Matt Stonie.

Watch as he attempts to tackle 10 Whoppers in record time:

Now that we are all grossed out at thinking about what his insides look like, it’s time for the main event: what to eat for health at Burger King!

As with every other survival guide, nutritional information will be presented in a way that reflects the percent daily values (DV) for a 2000 and 2500 calorie diet. The first percentage listed will be for a 2000 calorie diet, while the second percentage will be for a 2500 calorie diet. For example:

Calories: 750 (37.5% / 30% DV)

For more information about the recommended daily value numbers, check out the FDA website.

Let’s do this!

Meal Option #1 – Breakfast: Bacon, Egg & Cheese Croissan’wich with 1% Chocolate Milk.

Usually, I don’t choose options that include bacon and some would expect me to just choose the Egg and Cheese. However, when I compared them nutritionally, the bacon edged out the non-bacon and didn’t add too much more in the way of things to avoid. The chocolate milk is to make things more filling and up the protein

  • Calories: 530 (26.5% / 21.2% DV)
  • Total Fat: 23.5g (36.1% / 29.3% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 10.5g (52.5% / 42% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 185mg (61.6% / 61.6% DV)
  • Sodium: 910mg (37.9% / 37.9% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 56g (18.6% / 14.9% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 1g (4% / 3% DV)
    • Sugar: 29g
  • Protein: 22g

While not a total loss in the calories or protein categories, the fat and cholesterol are out of control. That, and the fact that it is very low in fiber (which means a lot of empty carbs), is not a good sign. If this is the best they have to offer for breakfast, we’ve got a long, depressing way to go.

Meal Option #2 – Burgers – Whopper Jr. With Side Salad And A Bottled Water

Once again, this probably comes at a bit of a surprise. Wouldn’t a regular burger be better? Well when I considered it, I saw that a regular burger isn’t that much better and the Whopper Jr. at least comes with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. One thing you will notice: Trans Fat.

I really tried not to have any of these options contain Trans Fat, however if I was going to include one item from each category, I had no choice. EVERY BURGER has Trans Fat! As a note…this Whopper has no cheese and the salad has no dressing. Those are the depths to which we must go to get anything passable.

  • Calories: 370 (18.5% / 14.8% DV)
  • Total Fat: 22g (33.8% / 27.5% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 7.5g (37.5% / 30% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg (16.6% / 16.6% DV)
  • Sodium: 485mg (20.2% / 20.2% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 30g (10% / 8% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 2g (8% / 6% DV)
    • Sugar: 9g
  • Protein:17g

The calories aren’t bad. The cholesterol and sodium are not atrocious. However, the lack of fiber and protein is still a huge concern, as is the fat.

NEXT!

Meal Option #3 – Meatless #1: BK Veggie Burger With Side Salad And Unsweetened Iced Tea

Hey, look! It’s a veggie burger! Is it possible we are going to get something remotely healthy?

  • Calories: 390 (19.5% / 15.6% DV)
  • Total Fat: 12g (18.4% / 15% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 7g (35% / 28% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg (5% / 5% DV)
  • Sodium: 925mg (28.5% / 38.5% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 54g (18% / 14.4% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: ?g (?% / ?% DV)
    • Sugar: 11g
  • Protein: 18g

OK, so the calories and cholesterol check out pretty well, but how on this good earth do you manage to make a veggie burger take up over 1/3 of a person’s daily value for saturated fat?!

Additionally, one thing that may have been helped by the veggies was the fiber, but apparently that wasn’t a piece of data Burger King felt important enough to report so it shall remain a mystery.

NEXT!

Meal Option #4 – Meatless #2: The Impossible Whopper With A Side Salad And Bottled Water

Ah yes. Here is the much-hyped Impossible Burger. It is supposed to taste just like meat, but be better for you because it is plant based. Well, we’ll just see about that in the hands of the King!

  • Calories: 690 (34.5% / 27.6% DV)
  • Total Fat: 38g (58.4% / 47.5% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 13.5g (67.5% / 54% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg (6.6% / 6.6% DV)
  • Sodium: 1,175mg (48.9% / 48.9% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 61g (20.3% / 16.2% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 5g (20% / 16.6% DV)
    • Sugar: 14g
  • Protein: 29g

This is just getting too hard to watch. The saturated fat. The sodium. Oh wonderful! You have a good amount of fiber and protein… I may still die of heart disease, but at least my bowels will be regular. Come on!

NEXT!

Meal Option #5 – Chicken: Spicy Crispy Chicken Jr. With Side Salad and Unsweetened Iced Tea

Please, yes. Let’s move away from burgers and try to find some solace in chicken! Oh, there is no grilled option?

  • Calories: 450 (22.5% / 18% DV)
  • Total Fat: 25g (38.4% / 31.1% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 6g (30% / 24% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 40mg (13.3% / 13.3% DV)
  • Sodium: 835mg (34.7% / 34.7% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 40g (13.3% / 10.6% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 3g (12% / 10% DV)
    • Sugar: 8g
  • Protein: 16g

Dang it. I guess it is giving a decent amount of calories and the cholesterol isn’t that bad, especially for a fried piece of chicken. It’s the fat, as usual, that is the real killer here.

What’s that on the horizon? A salad?

Meal Option #6 – Salad: Garden Chicken Salad With Unsweetened Iced Tea

Well, it has crispy chicken, so let’s see.

  • Calories: 440 (22% / 17.6% DV)
  • Total Fat: 25g (38.4% / 31.2% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 7g (35% / 28% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg (25% / 25% DV)
  • Sodium: 930mg (38.7% / 38.7% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 31g (10.3% / 8.2% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 3g (12% / 10% DV)
    • Sugar: 4g
  • Protein: 25g

On the surface, this may not seem too bad. It’s got nice protein, at least…however then you look at the fat, cholesterol, and sodium and realize this is before putting on any dressing! Are we almost done here?

Oh wait…what about the children?

Meal Option #7 – Kids: 6-Piece Chicken Nuggets With Applesauce and 1% Chocolate Milk

Can a kid at least get a decent meal with the King?

  • Calories: 470 (23.5% / 18.8% DV)
  • Total Fat: 18.5g (28.4% / 23.1% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 4g (20% / 16% DV)
    • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 50mg (16.6% / 16.6% DV)
  • Sodium: 620mg (25.8% / 25.8% DV)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 55g (18.3% / 14.6% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 2g (8% / 6.6% DV)
    • Sugar: 36g
  • Protein: 20g

No. Not really. Especially when you consider that these percentages are for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets, which no kid is on!

Declare Independence From The King

what to eat for health

Photo by Hulki Okan Tabak on Unsplash

“When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the dietary bands which have connected them with a maker of unhealthy food, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Sorry, I went all 1776 on you there, but it seemed appropriate. I have been to Burger King before. I have enjoyed it. No more. I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people should not visit Burger King, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are quality burgers, no Trans Fat, and hearts that work.

Wait…sorry… I did it again. My point is don’t go to Burger King. I think it has replaced Arby’s on the bottom of my list. I really can’t recommend going there for any reason because of the terrible toll it could take on your health.

I don’t mind an unhealthy meal once in a while, but if I’m going have a cheat meal with a burger, I’ll be dining elsewhere.

Now, it’s your turn! What do you think of Burger King? Were you surprised by any of their menu items or the nutritional content? Is there a go-to meal that you have when you visit the King that I might have missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Additionally, was this post something you already knew, or has it completely changed your opinion of this establishment? I want to hear your thoughts!

If you have any questions for me, please feel free to ask below, too! I’ll be more than happy to give an answer my best shot to help you out.

If you have a suggestion for a restaurant I should take a look at next month, let me know! If I decide to use your suggestion, I may even give a shout out to you (and your website, should you have one) in that article!

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If you are looking for ways to eat better at home, check out these recipes and nutritious food additions:

Want to know some diets to avoid? Check these out below:

Finally, are you looking to make some extra money or potentially start your own business to fund your next trip to Chipotle? Check out my suggestions!

How Can I Earn Money Online? It’s Possible With Wealthy Affiliate!

Make Money With Survey Junkie? Is It Possible?

Online Personal Trainer Certification – No Better Than ACE Fitness!

That’s all for now! God bless and Happy Eating (somewhere other than Burger King!)

Steve