10 Whataburger Healthy Options for Athletes
It can be helpful for athletes to know the healthiest options to order at their favorite fast-food restaurants. In Texas, Whataburger is a popular fast-food chain that I find athletes frequently stop at for a quick, on-the-go meal.
Let’s take a look at some general ideas for making healthy choices at fast-food restaurants. Then we will explore 10 items at Whataburger that are healthy options for athletes.
Making Healthy Fast-Food Choices
As a Sports Dietitian, I quickly learned that providing athletes with practical guidance on what to order when they go for fast-food is helpful. Here are some general recommendations for making healthy choices at fast-food restaurants.
- Limit fried foods – Instead, opt for items that are grilled, baked, steamed, or roasted. Choose a grilled chicken sandwich or single-patty hamburger over fried chicken, fried fish, or chicken fried steak.
- Choose a healthy side – Many fast-food restaurants now offer side salads, apple slices, fruit cups, steamed veggies, and yogurt parfaits, which are all great choices.
- Watch out for empty calories in your beverage – Choose water, unsweet tea, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice over sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Be aware of portion sizes – Avoid the urge to super-size your meal. It is best to enjoy your meal in moderation and then have a healthy snack later in the day when you get hungry.
Healthy Choices for Athletes
Athletes looking for healthy options at fast-food restaurants should focus on meals that provide a good source of carbohydrates and a moderate amount of lean protein. Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy needed to perform at its best, while the protein you consume is important for building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
Now that you have some general ideas for making healthy choices at fast food restaurants, let’s look at 10 healthy options for athletes to order at Whataburger.
10 Whataburger Healthy Options for Athletes
All the nutrition information included in this article comes from the Whataburger® website. Menu options and nutrition information may change as products are updated. For the most current nutrition information, refer to the Whataburger website.
Whataburger Healthy Breakfast Options
#1: Whataburger Egg Sandwich
When it comes to breakfast, the Whataburger Egg Sandwich is a healthy option for athletes. The egg sandwich provides both carbohydrates (34 grams) and protein (15 grams), making it a good breakfast selection. Since the sandwich is prepared on a bun, it contains less saturated fat than the similar breakfast sandwiches made on biscuits.
You can further boost the protein content of your breakfast by ordering an extra egg on the sandwich. This will increase the protein content of the sandwich to 22 grams of protein. Pairing the sandwich with low-fat milk or 100% orange juice and a side of apple slices is a great way to round out the meal.
#2 Whataburger Pancakes
If you are looking for a high carbohydrate breakfast to enjoy prior to a day of activity, consider ordering the Whataburger pancakes. Each order comes with three pancakes, which provides 108 grams of carbohydrates and 9 grams of protein.
You can add protein to your meal by ordering a side of scrambled eggs and low-fat milk to drink with your breakfast.
#3 Whataburger Potato Taquitos
Taquitos are another on-the-go breakfast option Whataburger offers. Taquitos resemble breakfast tacos, consisting of a tortilla with an egg-based filling.
The potato taquito contains potatoes, eggs, and cheese and provides 38 grams of carbohydrates along with 17 grams of protein. The potatoes in this taquito boost the carbohydrate content of this breakfast item compared to the other taquito varieties (sausage and bacon) that Whataburger offers.
To further increase the nutrients in your taquito, add in vegetables such as tomatoes and onions. If you like some added spice, try the Whataburger picante sauce or salsa verde.
Whataburger Healthy Burger and Sandwich Options
#4 Grilled Chicken Sandwich
The Whataburger Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a healthy option for athletes, providing both carbohydrates (44 grams) and lean protein (29 grams). The sandwich comes on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, and WhataSauce. I would suggest ordering the sandwich with the sauce on the side so you can control the amount added to your sandwich.
The original Whataburger single patty burger is another way athletes can get in both carbohydrates and protein with their meal. The Whataburger is served on a large, 5” bun with a 5” beef patty. Each Whataburger provides 62 grams of carbohydrates and 29 grams of protein. When ordering your Whataburger, make sure to load it up with extra vegetable toppings.
#6 Whataburger Jr.
If you are not as hungry, consider ordering the Whatabuger Jr. The smaller beef patty and bun on the Whataburger Jr. provide 36 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of protein.
A common question I get from athletes is whether they should order a double patty burger to increase the protein content of their meal. When making this decision, I encourage athletes to consider their planned activity for the day.
On intense training days, athletes need extra carbohydrates to fuel their activities. I would suggest on these days ordering a second Whataburger Jr. with your meal rather than just doubling the patty. When you order a second burger, you get the benefit of the added carbohydrates from the bun, not just the protein from a patty alone.
However, on days when you do not have much activity planned, the Double Meat Whataburger Jr. can be a good option to help you meet your protein needs. Each Double Meat Whataburger Jr. contains 23 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbs.
#7 Grilled Cheese Sandwich
For athletes who prefer not to eat beef or chicken, the Whataburger Grilled Cheese Sandwich is an option. Each grilled cheese sandwich provides 42 grams of carbohydrates and 16 grams of protein. Consider adding tomatoes to your grilled cheese sandwich and selecting a healthy side to enjoy with the meal.
Whataburger Healthy Side and Salad Options
#8 Apple Slices
If you are looking for a healthy side to enjoy with your meal, Whataburger offers apple slices as an option. The apple slices are available as a side to be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fresh fruit contains carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals making it a great addition to your meal.
#9 Garden Salad with Grilled Chicken
At fast-food restaurants it can be a challenge to find fresh vegetable options. However, Whataburger offers a variety of fresh salads athletes can enjoy as healthy additions to their meals. The garden salad topped with grilled chicken is a healthy option, providing 32 grams of protein.
The salad dressings at Whataburger are provided on the side, which is ideal as it allows you to control the amount added to your salad. Consider choosing one of their vinaigrette salad dressings for an option that is lower in saturated fat.
#10 Apple and Cranberry Salad with Grilled Chicken
Another great salad option at Whataburger is the Apple and Cranberry Salad with Grilled Chicken. This salad features a grilled chicken filet, dried cranberries, and fresh apple slices. Each salad provides 39 grams of carbohydrates and 32 grams of protein, making it a healthy option for athletes.
Gluten-Free Whataburger Menu Options for Athletes
The Whataburger website clearly labels the allergens that each menu item contains. Currently on their website, the apple slices, garden salad with grilled chicken, and the apple and cranberry grilled chicken salad all indicate they do not contain gluten.
Ready to Make Healthy Fast-Food Choices
You are now set with 10 ideas for healthy options to order at Whataburger. You can apply these principles to make healthy choices at other fast-food restaurants that you visit.
For additional sports nutrition tips for busy athletes, check out my blog: 7 Best Gas Station Drinks for Athletes.
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About the Author
Mandy is a Sports Dietitian Nutritionist in the San Antonio, TX area. She is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Licensed Athletic Trainer, and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Mandy believes the key to reaching one’s full potential, both in everyday life and in sports performance, relies on a healthy nutritional foundation. Learn more about the work Mandy does here.