What to Order at Sonic: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

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Sonic Drive-In has been a member of the United States fast food family since the early 1950s when the first restaurant opened in Oklahoma. Equipped with speakers at the curb, customers don't even have to go inside to place an order. Less like a modern drive-thru and more akin to a retro drive-in, Sonic's car hops bring the food right to your car—sometimes on roller skates.

In the U.S. today, there are 3,606 Sonics in 45 states serving up burgers, fries, shakes, hot dogs, and more.

The nutrition of Sonic's menu is similar to most fast food restaurants. Its focus is primarily beef and fried chicken, french fries, onion rings, and tater tots, as well as a large selection of ice cream treats. The menu also includes other high-fat items like hot dogs and Sonic's famous line of shakes.

While its menu does contain many items that aren't especially nutritious, it is possible to make healthy choices at Sonic. To plan ahead and avoid becoming overwhelmed by the menu choices, check the nutrition information online before you go. This information can also help you make adjustments or customizations to your order to reduce its calorie, fat, or sodium content.

What Experts Say

“Sonic Drive-in offers some vegetarian options but does not have choices for most food allergies. Most dishes on the menu tend to be very high in sodium and lower in fiber. If you eat here regularly, include vegetables and lower sodium and higher fiber options in your other meals to help balance your overall intake.”

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

If you didn’t get a chance to review the nutrition info ahead of time, there are few general guidelines you can use to make healthier choices. Go for grilled items rather than fried, get smaller portions or share a larger order, and focus on making the main part of your meal as nutritious as you can by skipping extras like high-calorie drinks, sides, and sweets.

Most Nutritious Options

  • Jr. Breakfast Burrito

  • Jr. Burger

  • Crispy Tenders

  • All-Beef Hot Dog

  • Soft Pretzel Twist

  • Vanilla Cone

  • Sonic Wave (Water)

Least Nutritious Options

  • Ultimate Meat and Cheese Breakfast Burrito 

  • SuperSonic Bacon Double Cheeseburger

  • Asian Sweet Chili Chicken Wings

  • Footlong Coney 

  • Chili Cheese Tots

  • Sonic Blast with M&Ms 

  • Limeade Slushes

Sonic’s menu is heavy on traditional fast-food fares like burgers, fries, and shakes. Even in the absence of healthier options, like grilled chicken and salads, you can create a more nutritious meal with the options you have to choose from at Sonic—especially if you’re mindful of portion sizes.

Breakfast

Sonic’s breakfast menu includes many popular breakfast items, both of the grab-and-go variety (like burritos and breakfast sandwiches) as well as sit-down staples like waffles.

Most Nutritious Option

290 calories, 17g fat, 7g saturated fat, 820 mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 12g protein

Least Nutritious Option

840 calories, 58g fat, 19g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 2220 mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate, 1g sugar, and 30g protein

You can usually save calories, fat, and sodium on breakfast items by getting egg whites instead of whole eggs, skipping the cheese or any sauces, and opting for low-carb bread swaps like tortillas or lettuce wraps instead of the standard (high-carb) options like bagels or croissants.

Burgers

While you can get a simple hamburger from the kid’s menu, Sonic specializes in cheeseburgers which can be customized with additions like BBQ sauce, dressing, slaw, avocado, bacon, and more.

Most Nutritious Option

330 calories, 16g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 0.5g trans fat, 610 mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 5g sugar, and 15g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1030 calories, 65 fat, 23g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 1880 mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate, 12g sugar, and 58g protein

Avoid higher-carb burger options like Toasters, which replace classic hamburger buns with two thick slabs of toast. The Country Fried Steak Toaster has 700 calories and 80 grams of carbohydrate.

Chicken

Sonic’s chicken selection covers all your fast food favorites. You can get chicken tenders, wings, popcorn chicken bites or “poppers," and sandwiches.

Chicken can be a healthier choice when dining out, but Sonic’s chicken dishes are mostly fried, making them higher in calories, fat, and sodium than other menu options.

Most Nutritious Option

Crispy Tenders (3 pieces)

280 calories, 14g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 800 mg sodium, 16g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 22g of protein

Least Nutritious Option

1860 calories, 95g fat, 37g saturated fat, 2g saturated fat, 5820 mg sodium, 129g carbohydrate, 28g sugar, and 60g protein

Hot Dogs

Sonic offers some regional or special editions of its hot dogs which aren’t available in every location. The basic offerings are included below, though nutrition info for a hot dog will vary depending on what’s added to it. Popular toppings for hot dogs like condiments, cheese, and chili add calories, fat, sodium, and even sugar.

Most Nutritious Option

360 calories, 21g fat, 8g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 800 mg sodium, 31g carbs, 4g sugar, and 12g protein

Least Nutritious Option

790 calories, 49g fat, 19g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2300 mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and 31g protein

Sides

Sonic offers classic sides like fries and onion rings, but what it’s known for is being one of the only fast food eateries with tater tots. Sonic’s menu of sides also includes other items that are more of the snack or appetizer variety, like soft pretzels, corn dogs, jalapeño poppers, and mozzarella sticks.

Most Nutritious Option

250 calories, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 440 mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, and 7g of protein

Least Nutritious Option

960 calories, 57g fat, 17g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 2690 mg sodium, 92g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 19g protein

While a corn dog is a little lighter on calories than a pretzel twist, it’s got twice as much fat. Even though it has meat, it actually has a gram less protein than the pretzel.

The easiest way to save calories on your meal is to skip the sides. If you do order fried food, like french fries or tots, go for the smallest portion and skip toppings like cheese or chili. Not only do these extras add calories they’re also high in fat and sodium.

Dessert

When it comes to sweet treats, Sonic’s claim to fame is its hand-mixed ice cream shakes. Another offering is Sonic Blasts—ice cream shakes with add-ins like Oreo cookie pieces, M&Ms candy, or Snickers.

Many Sonic locations also offer lighter ice cream options, like a plain vanilla soft serve cone, ice cream sundaes, and ice cream sandwiches.

Most Nutritious Option

250 calories, 12g fat, 8g saturated fat, 140 mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate, 145g sugar, and 4g protein

Least Nutritious Option

1540 calories, 80g fat, 49g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 680 mg sodium, 183g carbohydrate, 138g sugar, and 22g protein

If you have your heart set on a shake, choose the smaller “mini” size. You can get just about any flavor shake for fewer than 500 calories if you stick with the smallest size.

Beverages

In addition to the fast food staples of water, fountain soda in various sizes, hot and iced coffee, juice, and milk, Sonic also has its own line of drink creations, including frozen “Slushes,” Lemonade, Limeade, and Ocean Water.

Along with small, medium, and large sizes, Sonic’s beverages also come in Wacky Pack (kid’s menu) size and, at the other end, an extra-large 44-ounce size (called Route 44).

Most Nutritious Option

Sonic Wave (Water)

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

Least Nutritious Option

Limeade Slushes (Route 44)

600 calories, 0g fat, 95 mg sodium, 163g carbohydrate, 157g sugar, and 0g protein

Sonic’s own beverages all use various flavored syrups that can be high in sugar. Though some options, such as cherry limeade, do have diet versions.

A kid’s size all-natural lemonade has only 100 calories, 25g carbohydrate, and 25g of sugar. The Route 44 size, however, packs 540 calories, 142g carbohydrate, and 131g of sugar.

Diet-Specific Options

Gluten-free

Keep in mind that even though fries and tots are technically gluten-free, they may be prepared in a fryer that has been used to prepare gluten-containing food.

Designated gluten-free fryers may be available at some Sonic locations. If you have Celiac disease or need to avoid gluten, ask before you place your order.

Likewise, while Sonic’s Shake Mix is gluten-free, it may be prepared near gluten-containing ingredients. If you have a gluten allergy, let a Sonic employee know you need to avoid cross-contamination.

Items on Sonic’s menu that are gluten-free include:

  • Soft serve ice cream
  • Hot dog, hamburger patty, breakfast sausage patty, egg patty (no bun)
  • Sliced or shredded American, pepper jack, and cheddar cheese
  • Mustard, ketchup, relish BBQ sauce, and other burger toppings (including veggies)
  • Slushes and Route 44 drinks

Low-carb

  • Buffalo Boneless Wings (6 pieces)
  • Crispy Tender (kid’s menu 2-piece or regular menu 3 pieces)
  • Mustard, ketchup, mayo, ranch, salsa
  • Bacon, American cheese, avocado, grilled onions, spicy jalapenos
  • Regular hot or iced coffee, diet green iced tea, unsweet iced tea, diet limeade

Diabetes-friendly

  • Jr. Burger
  • Crispy Tenders (Kid’s menu 2-piece or regular menu 3 pieces)
  • Buffalo Boneless Wings (6 pieces)
  • Jr. Breakfast Burrito
  • Popcorn chicken (small)

Low-fat

  • Corn dog
  • Jr. Breakfast Burrito
  • Crispy Tenders (3 pieces)
  • Fries or Tots (small)
  • Soft Pretzel Twist

Low-sodium

Sonic provides a separate menu of low-sodium options which is available as a downloadable PDF on its website. All the options on the list were chosen with respect to the ADA recommendations for daily sodium intake for adults, which includes:

  • Jr. Burger
  • Fries or Tots (small)
  • Chicken Tenders (3 pieces)
  • Vanilla Cone
  • Ched’r’ Bites (mini)

Vegetarian & Vegan

Sonic does not specifically designate vegan options on its menu. It should be noted that even items on the menu typically suitable for a vegan diet may have been stored or prepared near ingredients that are not (veggies may be grilled on the same stove as meat).

Sonic menu options that may be vegan include:

  • French fries, tots, and onion rings
  • Veggies (peppers, relish, lettuce, tomato, onions, dill pickles)
  • Some condiments including yellow mustard, honey mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, salsa, jams and jellies, maple-flavored syrup
  • Most syrups used for Slushes, teas, and shakes
  • Toppings for burgers or shakes, such as Fritos corn chips, banana, cherries, and Oreos

Some Sonic locations offer a menu of veggie burgers, however, this vegetarian option may not be available at your location. If not, there are other items on the menu that may be acceptable for a vegetarian diet, including:

  • French fries, tots, cheese tots, and onion rings
  • Soft Pretzel Twist, Fritos corn chips
  • Avocado, veggies, banana, lime, lemon, cherries, nuts, Oreos
  • BBQ Sauce, mustard, ketchup, salsa, and marinara sauce
  • Jellies and jams, some flavor syrups, Tree Top applesauce
  • Frozen Lemonade or Limeade, fountain drinks, iced tea, hot or iced coffee

Food Allergies and Safety

If you have food allergies, Sonic’s website provides a chart with information about food allergens that may be present, including:

  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish

While these common food allergens may not be present in certain menu items, they may have been produced, transported, stored, or prepared near foods containing the allergens.

Let the Sonic employee preparing your order know if you are allergic to certain ingredients. In some cases, they may be able to prepare your order on separate equipment or with other precautions to prevent cross-contamination.

If you have a food allergy, always exercise caution when dining out.

A Word From Verywell

If you’re looking for an on-the-go eat, Sonic’s curbside drive-in dining may be your first choice. If you have food allergies or certain dietary considerations, Sonic offers additional information on its website, including suggested orders for patrons trying to keep their sodium intake low. While some locations do offer veggie burgers, overall, Sonic does not designate menu items specifically for vegetarian and vegan diets. Most of its menu is typical fast food and therefore not the most nutritious choice, but it is possible to put together a relatively healthy meal. Research the menu before you go, stick to smaller portions, and forgo any high-calorie extras, sides, drinks, and desserts.

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