The terms “healthy” and “fast food” are not often seen side by side, and quite understandably. Fast food has introduced the world to such culinary apostasies as dripping bacon double cheeseburgers and deluxe chili cheese fries with sour cream. And although these artery-clogging delights remain popular, many fast food establishments have begun to respond to society's increasing nutritional concerns and offer some healthier fare.

Take McDonald's, for instance. McDonald's is the Mac Daddy of fast food, and it has begun to change its nutritional tune in recent years. Though can still order a Big Mac and grease-soaked fries, you can also enjoy healthier items like grilled chicken snack wraps, grilled chicken club sandwiches and a variety of healthy salads with low fat dressing.

For consumers with vegetarian tastes, Burger King offers the BK Veggie, a veggie burger that you can order with or without mayonnaise (tip: if mayonnaise isn't your thing, order the sandwich with ketchup or barbeque sauce instead). Burger King also offers grilled chicken sandwiches and salads that you can enjoy.

Taco Bell offers a series of menu items that it refers to as its “Fresco Menu,” or “The Drive Thru Diet.” These items include Taco Bell's standard bean burrito, chicken and beef items, but replaces the fatty sauces and cheese with fresh salsa. For best results, stick with the fresco bean burrito and the fresco chicken soft tacos. It's also worth nothing that Taco Bell uses no lard in its beans.

Then of course you have Subway, a restaurant that specifically promotes itself as a healthy alternative to standard fast food. For best results, go with the 9 grain omega bread, stay away from the deli meats and meatballs, and if you must have sauce on your sandwich, ask for vinegar and olive oil. You can also add avocado for a small fee.

These are just some examples involving the more popular and well-established fast food corporations, but you can make smarter choices no matter where you end up. When faced with a fast food menu, just use your common sense and ask for a nutritional brochure if available. Look for grilled and vegetarian options, always choose grilled chicken, turkey or fish over red meat whenever possible, and take a pass on the fatty sauces and french fries.