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Fast food is ubiquitous in the U.S. You could almost say it's as American as apple pie. The fact is though that not all fast food is created equal and I'm not just talking about the ingredients.
For a lot of people, cost is the deciding factor of whether or not to stop by the nearest drive through. If fast food is a staple of your diet but you're on a tight budget, or maybe just looking to tighten your wallet a little (though not necessarily your belt!), take a look at the following chart which ranks fast food by calories per dollar:
|Burger King||Crispy Chicken Jr.||$1.00||450||$0.00222|
|Little Caesers||HOT-N-READY (Pepperoni)||$5.00||2220||$0.00225|
|Taco Bell||Beefy Fritos Burrito||$1.00||430||$0.00233|
|Taco Bell||Cheesy Bean & Rice Burrito||$1.00||420||$0.00238|
|Little Caesers||HOT-N-READY (Cheese)||$5.00||1960||$0.00255|
|Burger King||Spicy Crispy Chicken Jr.||$1.00||390||$0.00256|
|Wendy's||Crispy Chicken Sandwich||$0.99||350||$0.00283|
|Taco Bell||Triple Layer Nachos||$1.00||320||$0.00313|
|Taco Bell||Bean Burrito||$1.19||370||$0.00322|
|Taco Bell||Quesarito (Beef)||$2.19||640||$0.00342|
|Burger King||Chicken Nuggets (10)||$1.49||430||$0.00347|
|Taco Bell||Beefy 5-Layer Burrito||$1.99||500||$0.00398|
|Taco Bell||Loaded Potato Griller||$1.69||410||$0.00412|
|Taco Bell||Spicy Potato Soft Taco||$1.00||230||$0.00435|
|Taco Bell||Shredded Chicken Burrito||$1.79||400||$0.00448|
|Wendy's||Jr. Cheeseburger Deluxe||$1.49||330||$0.00452|
|Taco Bell||Beefy Nacho Loaded Griller||$1.69||370||$0.00457|
|Taco Bell||Smothered Burrito (Beef)||$3.19||690||$0.00462|
|Taco Bell||XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito (Beef)||$3.99||860||$0.00464|
|Taco Bell||Beefy Mini Quesadilla||$1.00||210||$0.00476|
|Taco Bell||Spicy Tostada||$1.00||210||$0.00476|
|Taco Bell||Quesarito (Chicken)||$2.99||620||$0.00482|
|Burger King||Double Cheeseburger||$1.69||350||$0.00497|
|Taco Bell||Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller||$1.69||340||$0.00497|
|Wendy's||Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger||$1.99||380||$0.00524|
|Burger King||Double Whopper With Cheese||$4.99||930||$0.00537|
|Wendy's||Spicy Chicken Wrap||$1.99||370||$0.00538|
|Burger King||Double Hamburger||$1.69||310||$0.00545|
|Taco Bell||Cheese Roll-Up||$1.00||180||$0.00556|
|Taco Bell||Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla||$1.00||180||$0.00556|
|Wendy's||Dave’s HOT’ N JUICY Triple||$6.09||1090||$0.00559|
|Burger King||Whopper with Cheese||$3.99||710||$0.00562|
|Taco Bell||Black Bean Burrito||$1.19||380||$0.00313|
|Taco Bell||7-Layer Burrito||$2.49||430||$0.00579|
|Taco Bell||XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito (Chicken)||$4.79||810||$0.00591|
|McDonald's||Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese||$4.59||770||$0.00596|
|Taco Bell||Combo Burrito||$2.69||450||$0.00598|
|Burger King||Original Chicken Sandwich||$3.99||660||$0.00605|
|Taco Bell||XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito (Steak)||$4.99||820||$0.00609|
|Burger King||Bacon Double Cheeseburger||$2.29||370||$0.00619|
|Wendy's||Chicken Nuggets – 6 piece||$1.69||270||$0.00626|
|Wendy's||Dave’s HOT’ N JUICY Double||$5.09||810||$0.00628|
|Burger King||Whopper Jr.||$1.99||310||$0.00642|
|McDonald's||Quarter Pounder With Cheese||$3.69||530||$0.00696|
|Wendy's||Asiago Ranch Chicken Club||$4.69||670||$0.00700|
|Chick-fil-A||Spicy Deluxe Sandwich||$3.85||540||$0.00713|
|Wendy's||Dave’s HOT’ N JUICY Single||$4.09||570||$0.00718|
|Burger King||TENDERCRISP Chicken Sandwich||$4.79||660||$0.00726|
|Wendy's||Grilled Chicken Wrap||$1.99||270||$0.00737|
|Wendy's||Son Of Baconator||$4.69||630||$0.00744|
|Taco Bell||Burrito Supreme (Beef)||$2.99||400||$0.00748|
|Chick-fil-A||Chicken Salad Sandwich||$3.99||500||$0.00798|
|McDonald's||Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich||$4.69||570||$0.00823|
|Burger King||Original Chicken Sandwich||$3.99||660||$0.00605|
|Burger King||Flame Grilled CHICKEN BURGER||$3.99||480||$0.00831|
|Wendy's||Homestyle Chicken Sandwich||$4.69||520||$0.00902|
|McDonald's||Chicken McNuggets (10)||$3.99||440||$0.00907|
|Wendy's||Spicy Chicken Sandwich||$4.69||510||$0.00920|
|Burger King||TENDERGRILL Chicken Sandwich||$4.79||420||$0.01140|
|McDonald's||Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich||$4.59||380||$0.01208|
|Chick-fil-A||Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich||$5.49||430||$0.01277|
|Wendy's||Grilled Chicken Sandwich||$4.69||360||$0.01303|
|Chick-fil-A||Grilled Chicken Sandwich||$4.29||310||$0.01384|
|Chick-fil-A||Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap||$5.15||350||$0.01471|
As you can see in the table, the winner is Burger King's Crispy Chicken Jr. With 450 calories at only $1.00, that comes out to $0.00222 per calorie! While the McDouble gets all the love, the actual cheapest fast food is B.K.'s Crispy Chicken Jr.
Coming in a close second is Little Caesar's HOT-N-READY pepperoni pizza. For just $5.00 you get a whopping 2220 calories making each calorie cost only $0.00225. Personally, I love that you can get a pizza for only $5.00 and it's one of my go to favorites when I'm really hungry. Making up those 2220 calories is 90 grams of fat, 249 grams of carbs, and 107 grams of protein.
Rounding out the top three best calorie-per-dollar deals, Taco Bell's Beefy Fritos Burrito has 430 calories for only a buck or $0.00233 per calorie.
I find it interesting that in the top ten, McDonald's, which has for decades supposedly been the best value in fast food, only has one item, the McChicken. The McDouble, arguably the most famous of the fast food value items, comes in at #16 and really makes you question why so many people wrongly think it's fast food's best deal.
With 380 calories in a McDouble and costing $1.49, the McDouble, while not a bad deal, is far from the best. Each of the McDouble's calories come out to $0.00392, about 77% more than Burger King's Crispy Chicken Jr. Clearly, Burger King is the winner when it comes to the cheapest food per calorie.
Taco Bell on the other hand secures four of the top ten spots for best value, the most for any fast food chain in this list. Clearly they should be associated with value over McDonald's. Actually, Burger King has two items in the top ten, beating McDonald's too, and even Wendy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich beats McDonald's McChicken on a cost per calorie basis.
Overall, it looks like McDonald's has really lost (given up) the war to be the best value chain. A lot of their offerings now aren't so budget friendly.
The worst fast food deal currently is Chick-fil-A's Grilled Nuggets. Costing $3.79 and having only 140 calories, each calorie comes out to $0.02707.
That's almost twice as expensive on a per calorie basis as the runner up, another Chick-fil-A item, their Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap which comes in at $0.01471 per calorie.
Rounding out the top three worst fast food deals, you guessed it, Chick-fil-A again with their Grilled Chicken Sandwich at $0.01384.
Clearly, if you're looking for value, Chick-fil-A is not the place to go.
While Chick-fil-A dominates the end of the list (i.e. worst value items), McDonald's also has two items in the bottom ten, the famous Filet-O-Fish at $0.00946/calorie, and the Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich at $0.01208/calorie.
Overall, if you're looking for the best value fast food, stay away from Chick-fil-A and McDonald's and instead stop by Burger King and order a Crispy Chicken Jr., hands down the best fast food deal currently around.
If you enjoyed this list, please share it with a friend by tweeting or liking it so your friends know the best and worst values in fast food today, also!
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