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updated 1/15/2007 7:18:29 PM ET 2007-01-16T00:18:29

We all have the best intentions of eating healthy and exploring unique local restaurants when we travel, but what happens when you're stuck on a lonely highway with only a rest stop for sustenance? Let's face it — even health-conscious travelers may find themselves dining at a fast food joint on occasion. But there's no need to blow your diet. We've compiled a guide to the healthiest options at seven national fast food chains to help you eat well on the road.

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Arby's
There are several salads and wraps on the menu, but your best bet is the Martha's Vineyard salad with grilled chicken, apples, dried cranberries, grape tomatoes and cheddar cheese, weighing in at 276 calories without dressing. Rather have the Santa Fe salad? Substitute grilled chicken for fried.

Burger King
Healthy options are a bit thin on the ground at Burger King, so we recommend the Tendergrill chicken sandwich (with honey mustard sauce instead of mayo), which weighs in at 450 calories. Put the chicken on the Tendergrill salad instead and you'll only rack up 300 calories. Your best bet? A simple side salad with light Italian dressing for a total of just 140 calories.

Kentucky Fried Chicken
KFC's famous fried chicken is by far one of the least healthy items on its menu. Instead, choose a Caesar or side salad (if you get the Caesar, ask for roasted chicken rather than crispy). Watch the dressings — using the whole packet can more than double the calorie and fat content of your salad. Green beans and seasoned rice are the healthiest sides.

McDonald's
McDonald's has a number of new salads, but keep in mind that bacon, fried chicken and cheese can make a salad just as fattening and artery-clogging as a burger (if not more!). Be sure to order grilled chicken rather than crispy and ask for a low-fat dressing. As always, side salads are a simple, healthy alternative. In the mood for a sandwich? The basic hamburger actually has fewer calories (260) than a Premium Grilled Chicken Classic (420).

Subway
While we don't suggest living on Subway sandwiches a la Jared, the chain's famous spokesman, Subway is probably your healthiest choice in the fast food world. On the menu are 10 sandwiches with six grams of fat or less, as well as wraps and salads for carb-conscious travelers.

Taco Bell
Everything on Taco Bell's menu is available "fresco style" — which means they'll replace any sauce or cheese with the much healthier fiesta salsa (diced tomatoes, white onions and cilantro), adding just five calories and no fat.

Wendy's
A great combination to try at Wendy's is a side salad and a small chili — two items off the dollar menu that are low in fat and high in fiber. Other good choices include the Mandarin chicken salad or the Caesar chicken salad, both under 200 calories without dressing.

The Independent Traveler is an interactive traveler's exchange and comprehensive online travel guide for a community of travelers who enjoy the fun of planning their own trips and the adventure of independent travel. You can access our wealth of travel resources and great bargains here at www.independenttraveler.com, or at www.bargainbox.com.

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