I don’t know about you, but amongst my peers, Wendy’s doesn’t rank as high as some other fast food or fast casual restaurants like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Taco Bell. But maybe it should.

Not too long ago they came out with the “Pair 2” menu option (think Panera’s You Pick Two or Cosi’s Duo) which is a combo meal that is only $4.99 and can fit many different dietary needs whether its lower calorie, low fat, dairy free, gluten-free or vegetarian.

The Pair 2 option allows you to choose two items; one of four different half-size salads and one of seven other items: chili, baked potato, the go-wrap, junior bacon cheeseburger, frosty, bottled water or a fountain drink.

Pair 2 - Wendys

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There are 28 possible combinations to choose from, each only $4.99.

This is a great way to mix it up each time you go, vary it based on your nutritional or dietary needs, and stay on budget. It doesn’t get much better than that. Oh yeah: they taste good, too!

Their marketing team is doing a great job advertising the Pair 2 and making it an interactive experience on the web. If you click here and go to their website, you can preview the different combination and check the ingredients and nutritional value. You can even spin the wheel and see which random combination is lands on and what the nutritional facts are.

This is key: a lot of times we make decisions based on assumptions.

We make false assumptions about foods that can lead us down the wrong path. For example, many people would assume that a salad has fewer calories than the chili option, which in this case, happens to be false.

The Apple Pecan Chicken Salad has 1030 calories, while the chili has 450, less than half of the calories in the salad!

Nutritionally, however, the salad may have the chili beat with more vitamins A, C and calcium. The Chili has less calories and sugar, but more iron. Depending on your needs, you can make the selection that is best for you. This is why these combos and having 28 different ones to choose from is so great.

Tip: If you decide in advance, you can not only clear up any false assumptions, but you may be less tempted to pick a less-than-nutritious option when you’re standing in line and your stomach is growling.

This tip works in any restaurant scenario, so consider looking at the menu and deciding ahead of time if your stomach tends to make decisions over your brain when you’re hungry.

For the less decisive here are a few combinations and their nutritional highlights to make it a  little easier for you if the thought of 28 different combinations makes your head hurt:

– Lowest calorie:

– (340 calories) BLT Cobb Half-Salad and Bottled Water OR Diet Fountain Drink

– (260 calories) Grilled Chicken Go-Wrap and Bottled Water OR Diet Fountain Drink

– Lowest carbohydrate: BLT Cobb Half-Salad and Bottled Water

– Lowest Fat: Chili and Water OR Diet Fountain Drink

– Highest nutritional value: Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and Chili

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