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The DietMD Fast Food Guide 2024

Your Ultimate Low Carb, High Protein Fast Food Guide

Eating out while sticking to a low carb, high protein diet can be challenging, but it's definitely doable with the right choices. Here's your ultimate guide to navigating the fast food landscape while staying true to your dietary goals. Whether you're on the go, traveling, or just need a quick meal, these tips will help you stay on track.

Panda Express Logo

Panda Express

Panda Express offers several options that can be customized for a low-carb, high-protein diet.

  • Entrée Choices: Choose entrees like Grilled Teriyaki Chicken or String Bean Chicken Breast.

  • Skip the Rice and Noodles: Opt for steamed veggies instead.

  • Watch the Sauces: Avoid sugary sauces like orange chicken and choose options like mushroom chicken.

Example Order: Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with a side of steamed vegetables.

Arby's Logo


Arby’s has a variety of meats that are great for a high-protein, low-carb diet.

  • Skip the Bun: Go for a sandwich without the bun.

  • Salad Options: Opt for a salad with grilled chicken.

  • Meat Platters: Ask for a meat platter or wrap your sandwich contents in lettuce.

Example Order: Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad with ranch dressing.

KFC Logo


KFC offers grilled chicken options that fit well into a low-carb, high-protein diet.

  • Grilled Over Fried: Choose grilled chicken instead of fried.

  • Side Choices: Go for green beans or coleslaw (without sugary dressing).

  • Salads: Their Caesar and House salads with grilled chicken are good options.

Example Order: Grilled chicken breast with a side of green beans and a House Salad with ranch dressing.

Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John's Logo

Jimmy John’s Unwiches are perfect for a low-carb diet.

  • Unwich: Order any sandwich as an Unwich (wrapped in lettuce instead of bread).

  • Extra Meat: Add extra meat for more protein.

  • Avoid High-Carb Toppings: Skip ingredients like breaded chicken and sugary sauces.

Example Order: Turkey Tom Unwich with extra turkey and mayo.

Five Guys' Logo

Five Guys

Five Guys offers customizable burgers that can be easily adapted for low-carb diets.

  • Bunless Burgers: Order your burger without the bun or in a lettuce wrap.

  • Add Veggies: Load up on low-carb veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and onions.

  • Skip the Fries: Opt for extra patties or a side salad instead.

Example Order: Bacon Cheeseburger with lettuce wrap, extra cheese, and grilled mushrooms.

In N Out Logo

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out has a popular low-carb option called the "Protein Style" burger.

  • Protein Style: Order your burger "Protein Style" to get it wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun.

  • Extra Patties: Add extra patties for more protein.

Example Order: Double-Double Protein Style

Starbucks Logo


Starbucks isn’t just for coffee; they also have several low-carb, high-protein food options.

  • Protein Boxes: Choose the Eggs & Cheese Protein Box or the Chicken & Hummus Protein Box (skip the naan/bread or crackers).

  • Sous Vide Egg Bites: These are a great low-carb, high-protein option.

  • Avoid High-Sugar Drinks: Opt for black coffee, tea, or unsweetened and choose the sugar-free syrups

Example Order: Bacon & Gruyère Sous Vide Egg Bites with a black coffee.

Chipotle Logo


Chipotle is a fantastic option for customizable, low-carb meals.

  • Bowl over Burrito: Skip the tortilla and opt for a bowl.

  • Protein: Choose chicken, steak, carnitas, or barbacoa. (can get double protein too)

  • Veggies: Load up on fajita veggies, lettuce, and salsa.

  • Skip the Rice and Beans: Opt for extra veggies or guacamole.

Example Order: Chicken bowl with fajita veggies, tomatillo-red chili salsa, cheese, and guacamole.

Subway Logo


Subway offers a variety of salads and protein bowls that fit into a low-carb, high-protein diet.

  • Skip the Bread: Go for a salad or a protein bowl.

  • Double the Protein: Ask for double meat on your order.

  • Veggies: Add plenty of veggies like spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers.

Example Order: Chicken & Bacon Ranch Salad with extra chicken, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, and ranch dressing.

McDonald's Logo


McDonald's has several options that can be modified for a low-carb, high-protein meal.

  • Burgers without the Bun: Order your burgers without the bun or in a lettuce wrap.

  • Grilled Chicken: Choose grilled chicken over fried.

  • Side Salad: Swap fries for a side salad with low-carb dressing.

Example Order: Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, no bun, extra lettuce, with a side salad.

Taco Bell Logo

Taco Bell

Taco Bell can be surprisingly adaptable to low-carb needs.

  • Power Bowls: Opt for a Power Bowl without rice and beans.

  • Protein Choices: Choose steak or chicken. (Can get double meat)

  • Extra Veggies: Add extra lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole.

Example Order: Steak Power Bowl, no rice or beans, extra lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole.

Wendy's Logo


Wendy's offers a variety of salads and burgers that can be adjusted for a low-carb diet.

  • Burgers without the Bun: Ask for your burger to be wrapped in lettuce.

  • Salads: Many of their salads are low-carb friendly if you avoid croutons.

  • Extra Protein: Add an extra patty or extra grilled chicken to your order.

Example Order: Grilled Chicken Sandwich, no bun, with a Caesar side salad.

Burger King Logo

Burger King

Like many fast-food chains, Burger King offers several low-carb, high-protein options.

  • Burgers without the Bun: Order any burger without the bun.

  • Grilled Chicken: Opt for grilled chicken sandwiches without the bun.

  • Salads: Choose a garden salad with grilled chicken.

Example Order: Whopper, no bun, with a side garden salad and grilled chicken.

Chick Fil A Logo


Chick-fil-A has a range of options that can fit a low-carb, high-protein diet.

  • Scramble bowl skip the hash browns 

  • Grilled Nuggets: These are a great high-protein, low-carb option.

  • Salads: Their Cobb or Market Salad with grilled chicken is a solid choice.

  • Bun-Free Sandwiches: Ask for any sandwich to be served without the bun.

Popeyes' Logo


Popeyes can be a good choice if you focus on their grilled options.

  • Blackened Tenders: These are a great low-carb, high-protein choice.

  • Side Choices: Opt for green beans or a side salad instead of fries or mashed potatoes.

  • Avoid Breaded Items: Stick to grilled or blackened items to keep carbs low.

Example Order: 5-piece Blackened Tenders with a side of green beans.

El Pollo Loco Logo

El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco offers several low-carb options centered around their flame-grilled chicken.

  • Pollo Fit Bowls: These bowls are designed to be low-carb and high-protein.

  • Customize: Build your own bowl with chicken, avocado, cheese, and salsa.

  • Skip the Rice and Beans: Replace them with extra veggies or a side salad.

Example Order: Double Chicken Avocado Pollo Fit Bowl, no rice or beans, extra veggies.

Example Order: Grilled Chicken Nuggets with a Cobb Salad (no corn) and avocado lime ranch dressing.

General Tips for Staying Low Carb at Fast Food Restaurants

  1. Customize Your Order: Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions or modifications to fit your dietary needs.

  2. Skip Sugary Sauces: Choose low-carb sauces and dressings. Ranch, Caesar, and vinaigrette are usually good options.

  3. Be Mindful of Hidden Carbs: Watch out for hidden carbs in breaded items, sugary sauces, and dressings.

  4. Focus on Protein and Veggies: Build your meal around proteins and low-carb vegetables.

  5. Aim for at least 30 grams of protein per meal, and limit the number of carbs you choose if eating more flexible


Eating low carb and high protein at fast food restaurants is all about making smart choices and knowing what to avoid. With this guide, you can enjoy a quick meal on the go without compromising your dietary goals. Stay healthy and enjoy your meals!

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