Jennifer Coburn, RD
When most people think of Dairy Queen, they think of baskets and treats. Fried chicken tender baskets, steak finger baskets, Blizzards, ice cream sundaes and banana splits! These foods are all high in calories, fat and sodium. They are considered more of a treat, and not part of a healthy and balanced diet. What you may not know, is that Dairy Queen has a healthy side. Almost 75% of Americans are trying to eat a balanced diet and follow a healthy lifestyle, but about 80% of those people do not get enough fruits, vegetables, or whole grains. Eating a balanced diet is very important, but it is also important to eat plenty of plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
Dairy Queen has modified their menu over the past few years, to keep up with this shift in eating patterns. About 40% of Americans are eating fast food every day, and it is important for them to have healthy and nutritious options at their favorite restaurants.
Dairy Queen has several things on the menu that you could choose from including hamburgers, sandwiches, salads and smoothies.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Original Cheeseburger - (about 370 kcals) a 100% beef patty with cheese, pickles, ketchup and mustard on a bun. You could save even more calories if you cut the cheese and add some lettuce for some greens!
Lunch Crispy Chicken Salad - (about 310 kcals) crispy chicken strips on a bed of lettuce, with shredded carrots and shredded cheese.
Chicken BLT Salad - (grilled - 270 kcals; crispy - 400 kcals) grilled or crispy chicken strips on a bed of lettuce with chopped tomatoes, bacon crumbles, shredded carrots, cheese and red cabbage.
Chicken Sandwich - (grilled - 440 kcals; crispy - 530 kcals) grilled or crispy chicken fillet with lettuce, sliced tomato and mayonnaise on a bun.
Kid's Grilled Chicken Wrap - (about 270 kcals) grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise in a tortilla wrap.
Side Salad - (25 kcals) crispy lettuce, with tomatoes, shredded carrots and cabbage.
Salad Dressings - (between 40 - 200 kcals) a variety of light and regular salad dressings to compliment any of their salads.
Kid's Vanilla Ice Cream Cone - (170 kcals) soft-serve vanilla ice cream in a small cake cone.
Fruit Smoothies - (about 250 kcals) a variety of fruit smoothies - small size. Examples include mango pineapple, strawberry banana, and orange berry.
These are just an example of some of the healthier things that you can find on the menu at Dairy Queen. One of the things I always tell people who are trying to eat less, is to consider ordering a kid's meal. The portions are always smaller, resulting in less calories, fat and sodium. It is also very easy to find out the nutrition content in anything on the menu. You just look for the nutrition facts on their website or at their restaurant, and it will tell you everything you need to know about each item.
Have you avoided Dairy Queen because you are afraid of the calories and fat? Well then here you go! Go ahead and hit your nearest Dairy Queen and choose one of these lower in calorie, fat and sodium items, and enjoy! You can have a salad and an ice cream cone. Or, a grilled chicken sandwich and a smoothie. Whatever you choose, you can leave feeling good about what you ate and about how you fit it into your healthy lifestyle.