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Love fast food? Chris Powell offers healthy favorites

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CINCINNATI - Fast food -- it's quick, cheap, and often packed with fat, but there are options out there that won't break the calorie bank.

We called in health guru Chris Powell to reveal the healthiest and most affordable meals at the drive-through.

"It's rare to find this in a lot of fast food nowadays," Powell said.

Powell, the so-called Transformation Specialist from ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition", gives his top three fast food chains he claims are serving up good choices for your budget and your diet.

His first pick: Chick-fil-A .

"It's going to be one of my favorite items especially if you're on the go," said Powell.

For a little more than $6.50, Powell said the best option at Chick-fil-A is the char-grilled chicken sandwich meal with a side salad and unsweetened tea.

"Three hundred and seventy calories in this entire meal, which is fantastic," Powell said.

But remember to keep hidden calories off the plate.

"Whether you're ordering at a sit-down restaurant or a fast food restaurant always get your croutons, dressings and sauces on the side," Powell said.

Another great option, according to Powell, is Chick-fil-A's char-grilled chicken garden salad for less than $6.

"This kind of meal right here, it's a win-win situation especially for a lot of the low carbohydrate dieters out here," Powell said. "There's almost no carbohydrates impact in this meal."

Powell's next pick: Subway .

He likes Subway's easy-to-follow nutrition guide. 

"We can create the body we want simply by following these numbers right here," Powell said. "It's like the blueprint to our body just waiting to be discovered."         

At around 300 calories, Powell picks Subway's Fresh Fit sandwiches, but forget about the cheese, avocado and dressing.

"I'll tell you what a fantastic option is; vinegar," Powell said. "Believe it or not just a little vinegar, not vinaigrette because vinaigrette is vinegar and oil,and here at Subway they've got that."

Powell said another good choice at the sandwich shop is a turkey flatbread sandwich with loads of veggies.

So for $4 you're out the door with a wholesome, well-rounded meal. If ordering a combo meal at Subway, Powell recommends skipping the chips and soda and going with apple slices and a bottled water instead.

"It's going to keep you, No. 1, within your budget, and No. 2, on your diet," Powell added.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is Powell's final pick.

"I know a lot of people go for burritos," Powell said. "Not the best option because flour tortillas alone are 300 calories."

So Powell opts for a chicken bowl with brown rice, black beans and fresh tomato salsa. His choice for all you low-carb dieters is steak salad with grilled veggies and green salsa. He reminds you to hold the cheese and avocado. Both meals run less than $7 a piece.

"Two hundred and twenty five calories [chicken bowl], 460 calories [steak salad], and this can be cut into two meals. It's good quality food," Powell said. "It's all fantastic and that's going to fill you up."

Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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