What to Eat at Whataburger: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Whataburger

Verywell / Christian Alzate

Known for its burgers, fries, sauces, and fixings, Whataburger is a popular fast food joint known for its eye-catching orange and white exterior. You'll find Whataburger locations in Texas and 12 other states, mostly in the southern and southwestern U.S. Many are open to drive-through orders 24 hours a day.

Dining regularly at a burger joint doesn’t fit with a healthy diet, but you can take steps to make Whataburger’s menu offerings more nutritious and mitigate its high calorie counts. This includes dining inside when you can and chewing slowly, as well as eating with friends to share the French fries and save calories. 

What Experts Say

“Whataburger is a fast-food chain specializing in burgers, sandwiches, and an all-day breakfast. Lighter fare menu items include salad, junior burgers, taco wraps, and egg sandwiches. Keep in mind, though, that these lighter fare menu choices still contain a considerable amount of calories, fat, and sodium. If you do eat here, it’s best to do so seldomly.”
Barbie Cervoni, RD, CDCES, CDN

Navigating the Menu

The majority of Whataburger’s menu items contain high amounts of fats and carbs; the burgers are cooked with large beef patties and the condiments include high-calorie sauces such as jalapeño ranch and honey BBQ (two of the most popular options with customers).

If you do want a burger, as opposed to a chicken sandwich, you’re better off ordering from the junior burger menu to limit calories and still get your carnivorous fix.

What to Order & Avoid at Whataburger
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Double Meat Whataburger Jr. (Burgers) Triple Meat Whataburger (Burgers)
Green Chile Double Jr. (All-Time Favorites) Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich (All-Time Favorites)
Whatachick’n Bites (Chicken) Whatachick’n Sandwich with Mayonnaise (Chicken)
Egg Sandwich (Breakfast) Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit (Breakfast)
Whatachick'n Bites (Kids) Grilled Cheese (Kids)
Apple Slices (Sides) Large French Fries (Sides)
Garden Salad (Salads) Cobb Salad with Spicy Chicken (Salads)
Chocolate Chunk Cookie (Dessert) Chocolate Malt (Dessert)
Simply Orange Juice (Beverages) Sweet Tea (Beverages)

Most Nutritious Option

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at Whataburger, the garden salad’s fresh vegetables make this the most appropriate choice. This item contains nothing fried or greasy (you can top it with grilled chicken for more lean protein, if you like).

Burgers

Whataburger is known for its variety of burgers (as you can probably figure out from the name). However, the burgers are some of the least nutritious options on the menu. For a more nutrient-packed meal, choose chicken-based sandwiches instead. Or order a junior burger to save on calories. If you skip the sauces and order the burger without the bun, you can create an entree that is lower in carbs and fats.

✓ Double Meat Whataburger Jr. 

There are 420 calories, 20g fat, 6g saturated fat, 37 carbohydrates, 23g protein, and 870mg sodium in the double meat Whataburger Jr. burger. The calories and fat content are still low and you get a sizeable amount of meat for a small burger.

✗ Triple Meat Whataburger

The triple meat Whataburger burger contains more than half the number of calories most people need in a day. There are 1070 calories, 63g fat, 21g saturated fat, 62 carbs, 65g protein, and 1,720mg sodium per burger. Instead, consider ordering a junior size or switch to a chicken sandwich, which has lower calories and fat.

All-Time Favorites

The All-Time Favorites section represents the most often ordered burgers and sandwiches at Whataburger. All sandwiches come in a junior size, which is a good option if you want to limit calories. Pairing the sandwich with water, diet soda, or orange juice and skipping the fries will also keep the calorie count and fat content down.

✓ Green Chile Double Jr.

If you are craving a Favorite, choose the green chile Double Jr., with 510 calories, 30g fat, 12g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrate, 28g protein, and 1,310mg sodium. It comes with two beef patties, two kinds of cheese, and green chiles on a bun. Opt for a small bun instead of a large one, or Texas toast, to reduce calories further.

✗ Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich

The honey BBQ chicken strip sandwich contains 890 calories, 42g fat, 11g saturated fat, 87g carbohydrate, 38g protein, and 2,430mg sodium. To cut back on extra calories, you could skip the fries and soda or choose the junior option, which contains 650 calories and 31g fat instead.

Chicken

Whataburger's chicken menu contains 10-plus chicken-based sandwiches, bites, and tacos. Served both grilled and crispy (fried), and in original and spicy seasoning, the menu offers something for many diets and has some of the restaurant's most nutritious options.

✓ Whatachick’n Bites

A 6-piece serving of the Whatachick'n Bites contains 390 calories, 19g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 25g carbohydrate, 30g protein, and 780mg sodium. This option is not only the lowest-calorie and lowest-sodium chicken meal, but it also offers a hearty helping of protein. The dish is served with a side of Texas Toast, which adds 160 calories and 220mg sodium, so skip the bread to keep calories low.

✗ Whatachick’n Sandwich with Mayonnaise

The Whatachick'n sandwich with mayonnaise provides 580 calories, 28g fat, 11g saturated fat, 52g carbohydrate, 32g fat, and 900mg sodium. Opt for Whatasauce rather than mayonnaise to save 40 calories. If you're craving a chicken sandwich, the grilled chicken sandwich with Whatasauce provides 430 calories, 14g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrates, 32g protein, and 1,030mg sodium.

Breakfast

Breakfast is available from 11 p.m. to 11 a.m., so you can stop by Whataburger for a late night or early morning meal. Egg-based options such as the egg sandwich and taquito with cheese offer filling protein, and you can add with extra proteins such as sausage or bacon too (though additional meat will add fat and calories).

You can adjust other breakfast items to make them more nutritious as well:

  • Avoid added syrup packets on pancakes—instead, opt for fresh berries if available.
  • If you're craving a biscuit, order it with an egg and omit the cheese and processed meats (sausage and bacon).
  • Instead of ordering a full breakfast meal, which comes with hash brown sticks and coffee, go for the breakfast sandwich only.
  • There are several taquito choices; the least caloric option is the taquito with cheese and bacon.

✓ Egg Sandwich

On a small bun and with one cheese slice, the egg sandwich doesn’t overload you on fat and carbs. It's similar to a burger, but with fewer calories and healthier fats. It has 310 calories, 12g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrates, 15g protein, and 740mg sodium.

✗ Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit

The butter and sugar content makes the honey butter chicken biscuit a high-carb option. It has 580 calories, 36g fat, 12g saturated fat, 52g carbohydrate, 13g protein, and 990mg sodium. Lower-calorie biscuit options include the buttermilk biscuit with sausage or the buttermilk biscuit with egg and cheese.

Eating greasy fried chicken in the morning may make you feel sluggish later. If chicken is your preferred protein, Whataburger has a grilled chicken melt on its menu which can taste as delicious at breakfast as it does at lunch or dinner.

Kids

The Whataburger kids' menu contains only four options, and you can order nutritious sides, such as apple slices and 1% milk, instead of the standard fries and soda. Adults looking for smaller portions can also order from this menu.

✓ Whatachick'n Bites

The most nutritious option, coming in at 260 calories, 12g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 16g carbs, 20g protein, and 520g sodium is the 4-piece Whatachick'n bites. These nutrition facts are for just the chicken bites.

✗ Grilled Cheese

The kids' grilled cheese contains 510 calories, 28g fat, 10g saturated fat, 42g carbohydrate, 16g protein, and 1,300mg sodium. Order this sandwich sans fries and soda to avoid additional fat, sugar, and calories.

Sides

Whataburger's sides menu offers three items: apple slices, French fries, and onion rings. The French fries and onion rings come in multiple sizes, so to keep the calories and sodium intake lower, choose the smallest size.

✓ Apple Slices

Add fruit and fiber to your meal by choosing the apple slices side at Whataburger. A small pouch of sliced apples is the most nutritious item on the sides menu and contains 30 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 0mg sodium. It also is has 6g of naturally occurring sugar to add a little sweetness to your meal.

✗ Large French Fries

An order of large French fries provides 530 calories, 28g fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 68g carbohydrates, 6g protein, and 350mg sodium. Choose the small fries to lower the calories and sodium—the small size provides 270 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrates, 3g protein, and 170mg sodium.

Salads

Whataburger's salad menu offers three options, all of which can be customized with additional protein (grilled chicken, Whatachick'n, or spicy chicken), and with a dressing of your choosing.

✓ Garden Salad

The garden salad comes with romaine, shredded cheese, grape tomatoes, and carrots, and contains 160 calories, 10g fat, 6g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrate, 10g protein, and 220mg sodium. You can also ask for no dressing, or order dressing on the side so that you can control how much you use.

For a little extra flavor, you can add grilled chicken, jalapeños, green chiles, or avocado to your salad (for a small fee).

✗ Cobb Salad with Spicy Chicken 

The Cobb salad with spicy chicken has 550 calories, 32g fat, 12g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrate, 43g protein, and 1,420mg sodium. Choose the grilled chicken option to save 120 calories and 260mg sodium, or order the garden salad with spicy chicken for 400 calories, 22g carbohydrates, and 1,070mg sodium.

Dessert

Whataburger is known for chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry shakes and malts, but you’ll save calories when you look outside of the ice cream offerings. Whataburger has apple and lemon pies, cookies, and even fruit chews you can add to a meal to satisfy your sweet tooth. The restaurant is also known for offering special drinks for a limited time, such as a Dr Pepper shake.

✓ Chocolate Chunk Cookie

Whataburger's chocolate chunk cookie has 230 calories, 11g fat, 6g saturated fat, 32g carbs, 2g protein, and 190g sodium. If chocolate isn’t your preferred cookie flavor, the sugar cookie has the same number of calories.

✗ Large Chocolate Malt

A large chocolate malt has 890 calories, 23g fat, 13g saturated fat, 159g carbs, 20g protein, and 790mg sodium. The strawberry malt contains 920 calories and the vanilla option has 860 calories.

Beverages

Whataburger offers drink options other than soda. Along with water, you will find unsweetened tea, orange juice, 1% milk, chocolate milk, and coffee. 

✓ Orange Juice

Get a dose of vitamin C with a cup of Simply Orange juice, which has just 160 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 37g carbs, 2g protein, and 0mg sodium in an 11.5-ounce serving.

✗ Large Sweet Tea

A large sweet tea provides 610 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 155g sugar, 158g carbs (nearly all of which come from sugar), 0g protein, and 35mg sodium. As a healthier alternative, opt for a large unsweetened tea, which contains only 15 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 4g carbs, 0g protein, and 40mg sodium.

Diet-Specific Options

Whataburger offers a variety of choices for diners with diet specifications including gluten-free, low-carb, diabetes-friendly, vegetarian, and vegan, but does not have options for low-FODMAP, low-fat, and low-sodium diets.

Gluten-Free

Whataburger’s focus on burgers and sandwiches limits gluten-free choices. But the restaurant does offer a couple of salad options and beverages without gluten, and you can also order a sandwich without the bun or bread.

  • Garden salad
  • Apple and cranberry chicken salad
  • Orange juice
  • Strawberry shake
  • Vanilla shake
  • Chocolate shake

The apple and cranberry chicken salad is the most nutritious option without gluten-containing ingredients. Be careful, though, as Whataburger restaurants are not gluten-free environments and cross-contamination is possible.

Low-Carb

While Whataburger does not offer specific low-carb options, you can make a sandwich lower-carb by skipping the bun. Choose the grilled chicken sandwich with no bun for 32g of protein, or try a Cobb or garden salad with grilled chicken to get more veggies with your protein.

  • Chicken fajita taco (skip the tortilla)
  • Grilled chicken melt (skip the bun)
  • Cobb salad
  • Garden salad
  • Grilled chicken sandwich (no bun)

Diabetes-Friendly

When dining out on a diabetes-friendly diet, you want to watch your sugar and carb intake. While you want to avoid the sandwiches at Whataburger—unless you order them without the bun—there are a few select dishes that fit a diabetes-friendly diet.

  • Whatachick’n bites
  • Cobb salad (regular or with chicken)
  • Garden salad (regular or with chicken)
  • Apple slices
  • Grits

Vegetarian

While much of the Whataburger menu centers around meaty burgers, vegetarians can still find some options without meat (but with dairy). Choose the breakfast biscuit with cheese for a filling sandwich.

  • Any salad (without chicken)
  • Pancakes
  • Biscuit and cheese
  • Taquito with cheese

Vegan

You won’t find any strictly vegan items on the menu, as the salads include cheese; however, you can always ask for the salad with no meat or dairy products and omit the dressing (as most contain dairy). Choose the apple and cranberry salad (without chicken or cheese) for a flavorful variety of ingredients.

  • Apple and cranberry chicken salad (no chicken, no cheese)
  • Garden salad (no cheese)

Food Allergies and Safety

Use caution if you are allergic or sensitive to gluten, milk, eggs, soy, or wheat, as these ingredients are present in many Whataburger menu items. The restaurant cannot promise your meal will be free from cross-contamination with these allergens.

To make sure a menu item is safe for your diet and allergy restrictions:

  • Ask the staff about its allergen safety procedures.
  • Check the website, which highlights allergens on the nutrition information for each item
  • Ask for modifications, such as ordering a burger with no bun or a salad without cheese or dressing.

A Word From Verywell

As with other fast-food restaurants, Whataburger’s menu consists of mostly high-fat burgers topped with high-calorie sauces, bacon, and cheese. You can boost the nutrition value of your meal by skipping toppings, ordering apple slices instead of fries, and staying away from soda.

Rather than order from the drive-thru, go inside if you can to eat more slowly and mindfully. Always stop when you feel full. You can even cut your burger in half, and save some for later.

If you’re following a special diet or need to avoid certain ingredients, you will find full transparency on the Whataburger online menu. This will allow you to create a meal suitable for your needs.

By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."