The Forgotten Low-Calorie Menu Wendy's Baked Potato Came From

Wendy's burgers are great, but it's what's served on the side that has captured the heart of many fast food fans. And it's not the usual French fries you'd find at a McDonald's or Burger King, but rather the chain's famous baked potato. Of all the things you can order at the Wendy's drive-thru, the beloved baked potato is one of the healthiest, according to Women's Health. At 270 calories (compared to the 420 calories of an average fry order), it's packed with seven grams of fiber along with other beneficial vitamins and nutrients like potassium and vitamins B6 and C.

For as healthy as it is, Wendy's baked potato is also extremely popular with customers. Thrillist reports that the fast food chain sells one million potatoes every single week. But how did the signature starchy side first come into existence? Turns out, it was part of a low-calorie menu that Wendy's debuted back in the 1980's that has since gone away.

Wendy's healthy menu failed miserably with customers

Fast food may have started out as greasy, fatty burgers and fries, but things started shifting in the 1980's. According to an article from The New York Times during that decade, people started wanting "healthy" and "upscale" options at their favorite fast food joints. As a response to the changing consumer landscape, in 1985, Wendy's rolled out a reduced-calorie menu, which included the now-famous baked potato. Some of the other healthy items included a plate of tomato slices topped with cottage cheese and pineapple (cottage cheese was a diet food fad of the moment) and a tomato stuffed with tuna salad.

Ultimately, while the baked potato remained on Wendy's regular menu, the rest of the Lite Menu faded from existence after customers were uninterested in the offerings. "It didn't fare well and we had to take it off," a company spokesperson told Market Watch.