Rules of the road: Check this out before going for fast-food

Trying to find the more nutritious options at your favorite fast-food restaurant?

ShopSmart, a magazine from the publisher of
Consumer Reports
, examined the calorie counts of dozens of items at top fast-food restaurants to determine the best choices.

Though you shouldn't eat it every day (even some low-cal options have very high sodium content), there are some selections that reduce the fat and calorie content.

The 12 rules of fast-food ordering, from ShopSmart magazine:

1. Look up nutritional stats at a fast-food chain's Web site before you go there so you can plan your meal.

2. Ask if you can order that burger, chicken sandwich, or other item without the cheese and sauce. Or ask if you can get the sauce on the side, or order a half-portion.

3. Pass up combination meals. They're designed to be filling. (Read: larger with more calories.)

4. Choose grilled or roasted meats over fried ones.

5. Split appetizers or turn a side into a main course.

6. Skip the fries. Instead, get a baked potato or some veggies on the side. A large order of fries can set you back as many as 600 calories. If you can't live without them, split a large serving or order a small one and save 300 calories

7. Stick with "original" or "traditional" burgers and sandwiches, which tend to be smaller than newer menu items. And stay away from anything crispy, like Burger King's Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich (790 calories).

8. Don't eat the top bun or bread slice.

9. Steer clear of regular mayo and cream dressings. Instead, ask for mustard, salsa, and low-fat mayo.

10. Order a salad but not one that comes in a calorie-dense deep-fried shell or is covered with cheese, croutons, or deep-fried or breaded meats.

11. Have a glass of water or a sugar-free drink. Regular sodas can have up to 400 calories a pop.

12. For dessert, stick with frozen yogurt or light ice cream-the child's cup or cone size.