Dining out can be hard when you’re on a low-carb diet, especially when it comes to fast food.
These meals are often based on bread, tortillas, and other high-carb items, but most fast-food restaurants have low-carb options, and many items can be modified to fit your diet.
Here are 14 fast foods you can eat on a low-fat diet:
1. Sub in a tub
Submarine sandwiches are super high in carbs, with around 50 grams, most of which are in the bun.
Order your sub in a bowl or container rather than on a bun, and you can save more than 40 grams of carbs.
The average carb counts for different options will be something similar to this:
Turkey breast and provolone: 8 grams carbs, 1 of which is fiber Club supreme: 11 grams carbs, 2 of which are fiber Chicken salad: 9 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber California club: 9 grams carbs, 4 of which are fiber
You can order your meal this way from any sub sandwich shop, including Subway. Ask that they prepare it as a salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing.
2. KFC grilled chicken
Fried chicken isn’t the healthiest choice, and contains about 8-11 grams of carbs per medium sized piece.
Grilled chicken is a better choice, and is available at many KFC franchises. A piece of grilled chicken has less than 1 gram of carbs.
A green bean side dish has 2 grams digestible carbs per serving, and are a good choice. Coleslaw has 10 grams of digestible carbs.
3. Coffee or tea with cream, or half-and-half
Coffee and tea are free of carbs, but only if you like them black.
If you have to have milk, use half-and-half, which has around 0.5 grams of carbs. Heavy cream is nearly carb-free, but isn’t often available at fast-food joints. It also has around 50 calories per tablespoon.
Some coffee houses offer soy or almond milk, and unsweetened versions contain minimal carbs per 30ml serving.
4. Chipotle salad or bowl
Chipotle is a Mexican fast-food restaurant that is very popular. Some people consider it healthier than other chains, as it uses quality ingredients and emphasizes animal welfare.
A salad with meat or chicken, grilled veggies and guacamole contains 14 grams of total carbs, 8 of which are fiber. It also contains around 30 grams of protein.
Chipotle also has a helpful online nutrition calculator that lets you see the exact carb content of your meal.
5. Lettuce-wrapped burger
A bunless burger wrapped in lettuce is a good low-carb meal. It’s high in protein, essentially carb-free, and available at all fast-food burger places.
Customize your burger by adding low-carb toppings or additions:
Cheese: less than 1 gram of carbs per slice Bacon: less than 1 gram of carbs per slice Mustard: less than 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon Onions: 1 gram of digestible carbs per slice Tomato: less than 1 gram of digestible carbs per slice Guacamole: 3 grams of digestible carbs per ¼ cup
6. Panera Bread power breakfast bowl
Panera Bread is a café-style restaurant that serves sandwiches, pastries, soups, salads, and coffee.
Most breakfast menu items are high in carbs, but two selections work well for a low-carb morning meal.
The Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak has steak, tomatoes, avocado and 2 eggs. It gives 5 grams of carbs and 20 grams protein.
The Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Turkey contains egg whites, spinach, bell peppers and basil, and has 7 grams carbs and 25 grams protein.
7. Buffalo Wings
Buffalo wings may be a low-carb option at pizza places and sports bars, depending on how they’re prepared.
A traditional sauce for buffalo wings is a spicy red sauce made with vinegars and hot red peppers, and a serving of these buffalo wings has around 0-3 grams carbs per serving. Other sauces can add a larger number of carbs, especially sweet types like barbecue, teriyaki, and anything honey-based.
Be sure to ask that your wings are made without breading or batter.
8. Bacon or sausage and eggs
A simple breakfast option like bacon or sausage and eggs can also be delicious. This combo is commonly available at fast-food restaurants, and contains a minimal amount of carbs.
However, cured meats like bacon and sausages have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer, so it’s best to eat these in moderation.
9. Arby’s sandwich without the bun or bread
Arby’s is a massive fast-food sandwich chain in the U.S., and the Roast Beef Classic is its original and most popular item, although there are other options including brisket, steak, ham, chicken, and turkey.
Any of these can be ordered without the bread for a low-carb, high-protein meal, and the company website has a nutrition calculator so you can keep your carbs within the target range.
10. Antipasto salad
Fast-food Italian restaurants are best known for high-carb foods like pizza and pasta, but antipasto offers a delicious, low-carb alternative.
This salad is usually served by an appetizer, and is made of assorted meats, cheese, olives, and vegetables topped with an olive-oil based dressing.
An entrée-size serving of antipasto salad is rich in protein, and contains fewer than 10 grams of digestible carbs.
11. Subway double chicken chopped salad
Subway has recently started offering chopped salads that can be customized with protein and veggies of your choice. One of the most satisfying options is the Double Chicken Chopped Salad with Avocado. It contains 10 grams of total carbs, 4 of which are fiber, and 36 grams of protein.
12. Burrito Bowl
Burritos usually contain meat, vegetables, rice, and beans, all wrapped in a flour tortilla – this can have more than 100 grams of carbs!
Almost every Mexican restaurant will let you leave out the tortilla and other high-carb foods in what is known as a bare burrito or burrito bowl.
A burrito bowl made with meat, grilled onions, bell peppers and salsa contains less than 10 grams of digestible carbs.
13. McDonalds breakfast sandwich without bread
Although best known for their burgers and breakfast muffins, McDonalds will let you order their bacon or sausage McMuffins without the muffin. This will drop the carb content to 2 grams or less. It’s a good idea to order two, as one only gives around 12 grams of protein.
14. Arby’s roast turkey farmhouse salad
Arby’s offer a Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad with turkey, bacon, cheese, mixed greens, and tomatoes. It contains only 8 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber, along with 22 grams of protein.