What to Eat at Wendy's: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Chef Spike Mendelsohn Shows His Respect For Bacon As He Enhances The Wendy's Baconator By Creating A Chili Cheddar Cheese Baconator
Getty Images for Wendy's / Getty Images

In This Article

With locations in 30 countries, Wendy’s is one of the most well-known fast food franchises in the world. Wendy’s started serving its classic hamburgers in Columbus, Ohio in 1969.

Today, the menu has expanded to include crispy french fries, chili, salads, chicken sandwiches and wraps, and the chain’s famous Frosty for dessert.

Whatever your dietary needs, preferences, and goals may be, the fast-food chain has dozens of options. Knowing the nutrition content of the menu before you order will help you create the most nutritious meal from these choices,

If you don't see a meal option that suits your tastes and needs, Wendy’s lets you customize your order. You can choose from different buns, meats, and toppings to create a meal that satisfies your hunger while helping you stay on track with your health goals.

To access the menu on the go, download Wendy's app onto your smartphone. Enter your calorie goal and the app will provide you with meal suggestions. You can also view nutrition, ingredient, and allergen information on Wendy’s website and get caloric estimates for the meal you create.

What Experts Say

“Wendy’s has multiple salad options that can boost veggie intake, but much of the menu doesn’t provide enough fiber-rich ingredients and contains higher sodium levels. If you eat here on a regular basis, choosing vegetables, whole grains, and lower sodium ingredients when you can to help balance out overall daily nutrition.”

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

Most Nutritious Options

  • Oatmeal

  • Jr. Hamburger

  • Crispy Chicken Nuggets

  • Garden Side Salad

  • Strawberries & Blueberries 

  • Vanilla Frosty 

  • Bottled Water

Least Nutritious Options

  • Breakfast Baconator

  • Triple Peppercorn Mushroom Melt

  • Homestyle Avocado BLT Chicken Sandwich

  • Taco Salad

  • French Fries

  • Chocolate Frosty 

  • Strawberry Lemonade 

Breakfast

Wendy’s breakfast menu features a few different takes on a basic fast food egg, cheese, and meat sandwich. You have a choice of bacon, chicken, or sausage with cheese on hamburger buns, croissants, biscuits, and wraps—all with a side of homefries. Wendy’s also offers a few non-meat options such as oatmeal, fruit cups, and apple turnovers.

Most Nutritious Option

Plain Oatmeal

160 calories, 3g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrate, 5 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 6g protein

Least Nutritious Option

770 calories, 53g fat, 20g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 38g carbohydrate, 1870 mg sodium, 8g sugar, and 36g protein

While a bowl of Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal might sound like a healthier option, it actually has more calories, carbohydrate, and sugar than a Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Burrito. The tortilla wrap also packs 17g of protein—10 more grams than the oatmeal. However, if you’re watching your sodium intake, oatmeal would be the better choice: a bowl has just 70 mg, while the wrap has 920 mg. To reduce the calorie, fat, and sodium content of the burrito, order it without the cheese.

Hamburgers

Wendy’s is known for its classic hamburger, but over the years the burger menu has expanded with other items that have become standards at the fast-food chain, including double and triple cheeseburgers, Jr. burgers, and the Baconator. These massive burgers are high in calories, fat, and sodium. If you’re looking for a smaller burger, look to the Value menu or Kid's meals.

Most Nutritious Option

240 calories, 10g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 25g carbohydrate, 470 mg sodium, 5g sugar, and 14g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Triple Peppercorn Mushroom Melt

1290 calories, 86g fat, 33g saturated fat, 4g trans fat, 50g carbohydrate, 1820 mg sodium, 7g sugar, and 78g protein

If you want a burger at Wendy’s, avoid those with more than one patty and tons of extras. A single-patty Jr. Cheeseburger has just 280 calories, 13g fat, and 660 mg sodium. Add two more patties, bacon, fried onions, extra cheese, and sauce, and you get the 1,150-calorie Barbeque Triple Cheeseburger which packs 73g fat and 1900 mg sodium.

Chicken

In addition to beef, Wendy’s has also created a line of crispy chicken sandwiches, wraps, and nuggets. The menu also features a few grilled chicken options, which are lower in fat and calories than chicken that’s been breaded and fried.

Most Nutritious Option

170 calories, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrate, 340 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 9g protein

Least Nutritious Option

740 calories, 41g fat, 11g saturated fat, 55g carbohydrate, 1560 mg sodium, 7g sugar, and 39g protein

If you’re looking for a healthier chicken sandwich option, Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Wrap has 300 calories, 13g fat, and 20g protein. To reduce fat and better control the calories of the wrap, skip the cheese and ask if you can get the Honey Mustard Sauce on the side.

Salads

Wendy’s array of salad offerings differ from those at other fast food restaurants in a key way: portion size. Most fast food salads are served in large portions with lots of extra calories from salad dressing and toppings. At Wendy’s, you have the option of ordering a half-size salad, making it easier to cut calories.

Most Nutritious Option

260 calories, 18g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrate, 450 mg sodium, 4g sugar, and 7g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Taco Salad (full size)

620 calories, 28g fat, 10g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 66g carbohydrate, 1760 mg sodium, 18g sugar, and 28g protein

To create a healthier salad, skip the shredded cheese and avoid creamy salad dressings which can add extra calories, fat, and even sugar to your meal. Crunchy toppings like croutons also add calories, carbs, and sodium without offering any real nutrition. Build your salad with fresh veggies, crisp fruit, and lean sources of protein like sliced grilled chicken or toss in a few nuts.

A half-size Berry Burst Chicken Salad with strawberries, blueberries, almonds, feta, herb grilled chicken, and raspberry vinaigrette on a bed of mixed greens has 290 calories, 13g fat, and 23g protein.

Sides

In addition to the fast food staple of crispy french fries, Wendy’s menu of sides also includes two other featured items you won’t find at every drive-thru: chili and baked potatoes. While these items can contribute to a high-cal, high-carb meal when paired with burgers and other sides, on their own they offer additional options for meals.

Most Nutritious Option

Strawberries & Blueberries

30 calories, 0g fat, 8g carbohydrate, 0g sodium, 5g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

Fries (Large)

530 calories, 24g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 70g carbohydrate, 520 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 7g protein

For 160 calories, 4g fat, and 14g protein, a small order of Wendy’s famous beef chili can be a warm meal on its own. Avoid larger servings, though: while not the highest-calorie side, a large order of chili has 1170 mg sodium.

When part of an already carb-heavy burger meal, Wendy’s Baked Potato with bacon, sour cream, chili, and cheese can add a ton of sodium, carbs, and fat. However, with just 270 calories, 0g of fat, and 25 mg sodium, a plain baked potato can be a sensible meal on its own. For protein, try topping with grilled chicken instead of bacon.

If you want a side of fries, stick to a small size without any toppings. If you add bacon, chili, and cheese, a 230-calorie side of fries can easily become over 500 calories.

You can also use the menu to look for salad toppings, like apples, blueberries, and strawberries.

Dessert

Wendy’s keeps its menu of sweet treats focused on what it’s best known for: the Frosty. For those who don’t want a cool treat, Wendy’s bakery menu offers a few flavors of cookies. You can even combine a Frosty and cookie crumbles to create a sundae.

Most Nutritious Option

190 calories, 5g fat, 3g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrate, 90 mg sodium, 27g sugar, and 5g protein

Least Nutritious Option

590 calories, 15g fat, 10g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 99g carbohydrate, 260 mg sodium, 81g sugar, and 17g protein

It’s usually best to skip fast food sweet treats, but Wendy’s is one place where you can have a meal and dessert as long as you aim for moderation. Order a vanilla or chocolate Frosty from the kid’s menu for under 200 calories. Instead of cookie crumbles, get a side of fruit for a healthier sundae.

Beverages

Water is always the healthiest beverage choice to accompany any meal, but it can be particularly good for you when you’re dining out. Fast food tends to be high in sodium and the hydrating benefits of water can help reduce the bloating that can accompany a salty meal. If you want something other than water that won’t add extra calories, sugar, or sodium to your meal, Wendy’s does offer a few other options.

Most Nutritious Option

0 calories, 0g fat, 0g carbohydrate, 0 mg sodium, 0g sugar, and 0g protein

Least Nutritious Option

480 calories, 0g fat, 122g carbohydrate, 55 mg sodium, 114g sugar, and 0g protein

Wendy’s various flavors of lemonade are all high in sugar and calories. If you’re looking for a fruity drink to add to your meal, a juice box from the kid’s menu has just 35 calories and 8g sugar. You’ll also find 1% milk on the kid’s menu for 90 calories and 2g fat if you’re looking to add some calcium to your daily intake.

Other beverage options that won’t add calories or fat to your meal include hot black coffee and unsweetened iced tea. While diet soda is also calorie-free, it often uses sugar substitutes and preservatives like aspartame, which you may want to avoid.

Diet-Specific Options

Wendy’s menu offers options to suit a variety of dietary needs and tastes. You may be able to request an ingredient be omitted from your order or swapped for another. If you follow a special diet, read Wendy’s ingredients lists carefully.

When you’re placing an order, ask a Wendy’s employee if you have questions or need clarification about the menu. If you have certain dietary considerations, such as being gluten-free, inform the employee preparing your food. They may be able to take precautions to accommodate your needs.

Gluten-free

Wendy’s doesn’t offer any certified gluten-free items, but it does denote items on its menu that contain gluten and wheat. If you are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac disease, review the nutrition info and ingredients list of Wendy’s carefully before you order.

Wendy's Gluten Allergy Statement

While we provide known instances of wheat allergens and ingredient statements, please understand that instances of cross-contact with other gluten-containing grains are possible due to common handling and preparation areas in our restaurants.

Items on Wendy’s menu that may be suitable for a gluten-free diet include:

  • Plain hamburger, grilled chicken fillet (no bun)
  • Fries, homestyle potatoes, plain baked potato
  • Chili, side salads, apple bites, blueberries and strawberries
  • Vanilla and chocolate Frosty, coffee (hot or iced), Frosty-cinnos
  • Berry Burst Chicken Salad, Parmesan Chicken Caesar Salad, Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad, Taco Salad, Apple Pecan Chicken Salad

Low-carb

  • Coffee, unsweetened iced tea
  • Apple bites, blueberries and strawberries
  • Garden or Caesar Side Salad (no croutons)
  • Caesar, Blue Cheese, and Creamy Ranch Dressing
  • Plain hamburger patty or grilled chicken fillet (no bun)

Low-FODMAP

If you follow a low-FODMAP diet, it can be difficult to know what to order when dining out and your choices may be especially limited when it comes to fast food.

There are a few items on Wendy’s menu that may be suitable for a low-FODMAP diet, depending on what you’re personally able to tolerate. 

Potential low-FODMAP options at Wendy’s include:

  • Fries
  • Oatmeal (toppings as tolerated)
  • Baked potato (with cheese if tolerated)
  • Garden side salad (no croutons, onions, or dressing)
  • Grilled chicken on tortilla wrap (no sauce, cheese if tolerated)
  • Plain hamburger patty or grilled chicken fillet (no bun, with cheese if tolerated)

Diabetes-Friendly

  • Grilled Chicken Wrap
  • 4 or 6-piece Chicken Nuggets
  • Apple bites, blueberries and strawberries
  • Jr. Hamburger or Cheeseburger, Double Stack cheeseburger
  • Garden and Caesar side salads, half-size Parmesan Caesar Chicken or Southwest Avocado Chicken salads

Low-fat

  • Chili (small)
  • Jr. Hamburger
  • Plain Baked Potato
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Wrap
  • Side salads (no cheese, no dressing), half-size Berry Burst Chicken Salad 

Low-sodium

  • Jr. Hamburger
  • Plain Baked Potato
  • Apple bites, blueberries and strawberries
  • Garden Side Salad (no croutons or dressing)
  • Chocolate or Vanilla Frosty (Jr. size), Frosty Cookie Sundae

Vegetarian & Vegan

Even though Wendy’s is known for its beef burgers, the chain does have a few options you can choose from if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Keep in mind that since the restaurant serves many meat and other animal products, even if your order doesn’t contain these ingredients, it may have been stored or prepared in shared kitchen space, or by employees who also prepare meals that wouldn’t be vegetarian or vegan-friendly.

Wendy’s menu items that may suit a vegan diet include:

  • Fries
  • Baked Potato (chives only)
  • Lemonade, coffee, iced tea
  • Apple bites, blueberries and strawberries
  • Garden side salad (other salads may be suitable if you order without meat and cheese. Try adding cashews for protein, but know that other nuts, like pecans, are coated with a non-vegan glaze).

In addition to the vegan-friendly options, vegetarians have a few other items to choose from at Wendy’s, including:

  • Baked potato with sour cream, cheese, and/or chives
  • Frosty Cookie Sundae, Cookies, Chocolate or Vanilla Frosty

An unofficial vegan and vegetarian Wendy’s hack is the “Frywich”—a pile of french fries on a bun with lettuce and other veggies. You can also ask for a Veggie Sandwich with veggies, sauce, and other toppings of your choice on a bun or wrap.

Food Allergies and Safety

Wendy’s can make some accommodations if you have food allergies. However, as with most restaurants, a completely allergen-free meal can’t be guaranteed. While a menu item might not contain a particular ingredient, that doesn’t mean that the food has not come into contact with an allergen at some point in the production, storage, or cooking process.

Wendy's Allergen Statement

We provide known instances of allergens; however, cross contact is possible due to common handling and preparation areas in our restaurants. We are unable to guarantee that any menu item can be completely free of allergens. Customers with allergies and sensitivities should exercise judgment when ordering.  

Wendy’s accounts for the presence of the following major food allergens in the items on it’s U.S. menu:

If you have a food allergy, inform the employee taking your order. In many cases, your food can be prepared with certain ingredients left out. When placing an online or using the mobile app, you will also have the option to “hold” an ingredient.

A Word From Verywell

With a range of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and sides, Wendy’s is one fast food restaurant where you’ll have choices even if you’re on a special diet or are aiming to stay within certain nutritional parameters to achieve your health goals. Wendy’s menu has grilled chicken, fresh fruit, and the option of half-sizes for some items, making it relatively hassle-free to create a sensible, satisfying fast food meal. Plus, with the option of a kid-size Frosty, you can even enjoy dessert for 200 calories or less.

Was this page helpful?