It’s not always easy to find fast food with no carbs. But with a little bit of research, you can make your next trip to the drive-thru work for you and your diet.
Ever wondered if you could eat fast food on a carb-free diet? We had the same questions when we went on keto. What we found was that there are a ton of options out there, if you know where to look!
Fast Food With No Carbs
Sticking to a low-carb diet when dining out can be hard, especially at fast-food restaurants.
That’s because these meals are often based on bread, tortillas, and other high-carb items.
Still, most fast-food restaurants offer some good low-carb options, and many items can easily be modified to fit your lifestyle.
Here are 14 delicious fast foods you can eat on a low-carb diet.
Submarine sandwiches are very high in carbs. A typical sub has at least 50 grams of carbs, most of which come from the bun.
Ordering your sub “in a tub” (in a bowl or container), rather than on a bun, can save you more than 40 grams of carbs.
The carb counts for sub-in-a-tub options may look something like this:
- Turkey breast and provolone: 8 grams of carbs, 1 of which is fiber
- Club supreme: 11 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber
- Chicken salad: 9 grams of carbs, 3 of which are fiber
- California club: 9 grams of carbs, 4 of which are fiber
Although the term “sub in a tub” originated at Jersey Mike’s, you can order your meal this way from any sub sandwich shop, including Subway.
Just request that it be prepared as a salad with olive oil and vinegar for the dressing.
SUMMARY To minimize carbs while keeping protein intake high, order your favorite sub sandwich “in a tub” or as a salad.
Fried chicken isn’t a healthy choice. For starters, the chicken absorbs a lot of oil during frying.
Heating vegetable oils to high temperatures produces harmful compounds that may increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems.
In addition, fried chicken contains about 8–11 grams of carbs per medium-size piece.
Grilled chicken is a much better option and available at many Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchises. Each piece of grilled KFC chicken has less than 1 gram of carbs.
As for side dishes, green beans contain 2 grams of digestible carbs per serving and are by far the best option. Coleslaw is next, at 10 grams of digestible carbs.
Click here for complete nutrition information for all of the chicken options and sides available at KFC.
SUMMARYChoose 3 pieces of grilled chicken with a side of green beans for a balanced meal that contains fewer than 10 grams of carbs.
Coffee and tea are carb-free beverages.
They’re also high in caffeine, which provides some impressive benefits.
Caffeine may improve your mood, metabolic rate, and mental and physical performance .
If you like milk in your cup of joe, coffee houses and fast-food eateries often offer half-and-half. A single-serving container has about 0.5 grams of carbs.
Heavy cream is nearly carb-free and sometimes available. However, it contains about 50 calories per tablespoon (15 ml), compared to 20 calories for half-and-half.
Some coffee houses also offer soy or almond milk. Unsweetened versions of these milk substitutes provide minimal carbs per 2-tablespoon (30 ml) serving.
SUMMARYIf you prefer to drink coffee with milk or cream, ask for half-and-half, heavy cream, or unsweetened soy or almond milk.
Chipotle is a Mexican fast-food restaurant that has become extremely popular.
Many people consider it healthier than other chains, as it uses high-quality ingredients and emphasizes animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.
Chipotle also makes it very easy to create low-carb meals.
A salad with meat or chicken, grilled vegetables, and guacamole contains 14 grams of total carbs, 8 of which are fiber.
This meal also provides about 30 grams of high-quality protein.
A high protein and fiber intake can increase your production of the gut hormones peptide YY (PYY) and cholecystokinin (CCK), which tell your brain you’re full and help prevent overeating.
Though vinaigrette is available, generous servings of guacamole and salsa make salad dressing unnecessary.
Additionally, Chipotle has a helpful online nutrition calculator that allows you to see the exact carb content of your meal.
SUMMARYSelect a salad with meat, vegetables, salsa, and guacamole for a satisfying meal with 6 grams of digestible carbs.
A bunless burger wrapped in lettuce is a standard low-carb, fast-food meal. It’s high in protein, essentially carb-free, and available at all fast-food burger establishments.
You can further customize your burger by adding the following low-carb toppings or additions, depending on availability and personal preferences:
- 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
- Mayo: 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 1/4 cup (60 grams)
SUMMARY Top your bunless burger with condiments and extra toppings to add flavor while minimizing carb intake.
Panera Bread is a café-style restaurant featuring sandwiches, pastries, soups, salads, and coffee.
Most of the breakfast items are high in carbs. However, two selections from their menu work well for a low-carb morning meal.
The Power Breakfast Egg Bowl with Steak features steak, tomatoes, avocado, and 2 eggs. It provides 5 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein.
The Power Breakfast Egg White Bowl with Turkey contains egg whites, spinach, bell peppers, and basil for 7 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein.
Starting the day with a high-protein breakfast promotes feelings of fullness and decreases appetite by reducing levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin.
SUMMARY Select an egg-based breakfast with meat and vegetables at Panera Bread to keep carb intake low and control hunger levels.
Buffalo wings are delicious and fun to eat.
They may also be a low-carb option at pizza places and sports bars, depending on how they’re prepared.
Traditionally, buffalo wings are covered in a spicy red sauce made from vinegar and hot red peppers.
An order of these buffalo wings typically has 0–3 grams of carbs per serving.
By contrast, other sauces can add a significant number of carbs, especially sweet types, such as barbecue, teriyaki, and anything made from honey.
Sometimes the wings are breaded or battered and fried, which is especially common for boneless wings. Therefore, be sure to ask how the wings are made and order yours with no breading or batter.
Buffalo wings are also usually served with carrots, celery, and ranch dressing.
Although they’re higher in carbs than many other vegetables, carrots are fine to eat in small quantities. A half-cup (60 grams) of carrot strips contains about 5 grams of net carbs.
SUMMARYChoose non-breaded buffalo wings with traditional sauce, celery, and a few carrot strips to create a meal with under 10 grams of net carbs.
Sometimes the simplest breakfast option can be the most delicious, such as bacon or sausage and eggs.
This traditional breakfast combination is available at most fast-food restaurants and contains a minimal amount of carbs.
What’s more, eggs can help keep you full and satisfied for hours .
In one study in overweight young women, eating sausage and eggs for breakfast helped reduce appetite.
It also lowered blood sugar and insulin while reducing calorie intake at lunch, compared to a low-protein, higher-carb breakfast.
However, cured bacon and sausages are processed meat products, which have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
For this reason, most health professionals advise against a high intake of these foods.
SUMMARYBacon or sausage with eggs provides very few carbs, reduces hunger, and helps you feel full for hours. Still, limit your intake of processed meats, as they’re linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Arby’s is one of the largest fast-food sandwich chains in the United States.
Though the Roast Beef Classic is its original and most popular item, Arby’s has many other options, including brisket, steak, ham, chicken, and turkey.
Any of these can be ordered without the bread for a tasty low-carb, high-protein meal.
The company website provides a nutrition calculator, so you can customize your order to keep carbs within your target range.
For example, you can select Smokehouse Brisket with Gouda cheese, sauce, and a side salad for 5 grams of digestible carbs and 32 grams of protein.
SUMMARYUse Arby’s nutrition calculator to construct a high-protein meal within your target carb range.
Fast-food Italian restaurants are best known for high-carb foods like pizza, pasta, and subs.
Antipasto salad offers a delicious, low-carb alternative.
This salad is traditionally served as an appetizer, consisting of assorted meats, cheese, olives, and vegetables topped with an olive-oil-based dressing. However, it can be ordered in a larger portion as an entrée.
An entrée-size serving of antipasto salad is rich in protein and contains fewer than 10 grams of digestible carbs.
SUMMARYChoose antipasto salad for a filling, low-carb meal at an Italian fast-food restaurant.
Subway is the most popular fast-food sandwich shop worldwide.
In recent years, the chain has been offering chopped salads that can be customized with protein and vegetables of your choice.
One of the most satisfying and nutritious options is the Double Chicken Chopped Salad with Avocado. It contains 10 grams of total carbs, 4 of which are fiber, plus a whopping 36 grams of protein.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and fiber. Eating them at lunch may even lead to lower calorie intake at your next meal.
A list of Subway salads, along with complete nutrition information, can be found here.
SUMMARYOrder a salad with double meat, vegetables, and avocados for a delicious and satisfying Subway meal.
Many people regard burritos as a favorite food.
They typically contain meat, vegetables, rice, and beans wrapped in a large flour tortilla. This results in a meal that can easily pack more than 100 grams of carbs.
However, almost every Mexican restaurant allows you to leave out the tortilla and other high-carb items.
This is known as a burrito bowl or “bare” burrito.
A burrito bowl made with meat, grilled onions, bell peppers, and salsa is a delicious and satisfying meal that provides less than 10 grams of digestible carbs.
SUMMARYChoose a burrito bowl or “bare” burrito for the great flavor of a traditional burrito with very few carbs.
McDonald’s is the most popular fast-food chain in the world, with more than 36,000 restaurants worldwide as of 2018.
Though it’s best known for burgers like the Big Mac and Quarter Pounder, its Egg McMuffin and Sausage McMuffin breakfast sandwiches are also very popular.
These breakfast entrées consist of an English muffin with one egg, a slice of American cheese, and ham or sausage.
Each sandwich contains 29 grams of carbs. However, ordering either of these items without the muffin will reduce the carb content to 2 grams or less.
It’s also a good idea to order 2 low-carb sandwiches, as each one will only provide about 12 grams of protein.
SUMMARYAt McDonald’s, order 2 Egg or Sausage McMuffins without the bread for a satisfying meal with 4 grams or less of carbs and 24 grams of protein.
As stated above, ordering a bun-less Arby’s sandwich is a great low-carb option.
Additionally, Arby’s offers a Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad featuring roast turkey, bacon, cheese, mixed greens, and tomatoes.
It contains just 8 grams of carbs, 2 of which are fiber, along with 22 grams of protein.
Just make sure not to confuse it with the Crispy Chicken Farmhouse Salad, which includes chicken that’s been breaded and fried. It packs 26 grams of total carbs.
SUMMARYSelect Arby’s Roast Turkey Farmhouse Salad for a wonderful combination of flavors and textures with 6 grams of digestible carbs.
Low-Carb Fast Foods to Grab on the Go
If you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthy, you might want to focus on following a low-carb diet—and the Taco Bell drive-thru is probably the last place you’d think to grab a low-carb meal. But these days, fast food chains have healthier options that can actually help you reach your goals and stick to a nutritious diet on-the-go. Whether you’re cutting back on carbs or trying to limit the amount of refined foods in your diet, eliminating processed carbs, in the form of white bread and crackers, is a good place to start.
Most low-carb diets have a daily limit of 60 grams for carbs, which breaks down to roughly 20 grams of carbs per meal. This amount of carbs won’t lead to ketosis, but it has been shown to help prevent or improve health conditions, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high-blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Check out these 10 dietitian-approved low-carb fast food menu items that contain no more than 20 grams of carbs.
The Top 10 Low-Carb Fast Food Menu Options
Since the full potential of the keto diet was realized, low-carb and no-carb diets have become incredibly popular. This is why so many people are now choosing to follow a low-carb diet.
When you are eating at home, following a low-carb diet isn’t too difficult. You can plan your own meals, and add alternatives to bulk out your meal. But, as soon as you start eating out, following a low-carb diet is suddenly a lot more difficult. This is because lots of fast food joints primarily focus on carbohydrates in their menus.
But, if you are following a low-carb diet, and find yourself eating out, you are in the right place. In this guide, we’re telling you all about the best low-carb fast food about, and how to order it. So to find out more, keep on reading.
Why Would You Eat Low-Carb Food?
While low-carb diets are all the rage, you might not actually know why they are so popular. They clearly have proven links to weight loss, but are there any other benefits that have been linked with eating a low-carb diet?
Well, in fact, there are. A lot of these benefits are linked with losing weight, but they make losing weight using a low-carb diet special.
For example, following a low-carb diet to lose weight has been linked with losing more weight around the stomach area, which is one of the main areas where people try to shift weight.
Likewise, a low-carb diet has been linked with losing weight quickly, so, if you want to lose weight for a specific event, a low-carb diet could be the best choice.
A low-carb diet is also able to help you lose weight because it suppresses your appetite. Unlike other diets, a low-carb diet will usually make you feel full, and this will lead to you eating less.
So this diet works in lots of different ways. But ultimately, it can make you lose weight, and help improve your health.
If you are eating out, then ordering a low-carb meal isn’t always that easy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best low-carb options to order from various different fast-food restaurants.
McDonald’s – Modified Quarter Pounder with Cheese
One of the most popular fast food restaurants
But because so many of the meals that they offer are burgers, it makes ordering a keto-friendly meal quite difficult.
The best keto-friendly option at McDonald’s is a modified quarter pounder.
Simply order your meal without the bun, and ask for extra lettuce, and you have a delicious low-carb meal ready to eat.
KFC – Grilled Chicken
Eating low-carb food at KFC is a little easier, and this is because they offer meals that aren’t breaded.
Dunkin’ – All You Can Meat Croissant (No Croissant)
Most of the options at Dunkin’ are not keto-friendly, so you will have to modify a meal to make it suitable.
We would recommend ordering the ‘All You Can Meat Croissant’ without the croissant.
This way you get a delicious dish without impacting your diet.
Taco Bell – Crunchy Taco
Tacos are not keto-friendly, and most of the time you would have to remove the taco to make the meal a low-carb option.
But, the Crunchy Taco at Taco Bell is so small that it contains barely any carbohydrates, making it suitable for those following a keto diet.
Chipotle – Keto Salad Bowl
One of the best places to visit if you are on a low-carb diet is Chipotle because you can design your own meal
You could order a burrito bowl, and avoid all carbohydrates, but instead, we would recommend ordering the Keto Salad Bowl.
This meal is already designed, so it saves you the hassle of having to guess whether, or not, ingredients are keto-friendly.
In ‘n Out – 4×4 Protein Style
Thankfully for those following a keto diet, In ‘n Out actually has a secret menu which makes ordering this style of food easy.
So, if you are visiting In ‘n Out, but are on a low-carb diet, simply order your food protein style, and it will be suitable.
You can do this with most of the burgers, but we would always recommend the 4×4 because it is one of the best.
Wendy’s – Dave’s Double in a Lettuce Wrap
The Dave’s Double at Wendy’s is one of their best burgers, and you can easily make this a low-carb option by ordering it in a lettuce wrap.
Burger King – Grilled Chicken Sandwich (No Bun)
Again, following a keto diet at Burger King isn’t the easiest because they specialize in, well, burgers
But, their grilled chicken sandwich is suitable for those following a keto diet, as long as you order it without the bun.
Starbucks – Sous Vide Egg Bites
Finally, if you are feeling peckish when buying your morning coffee from Starbucks, you should order the Sous Vide Egg Bites.
This meal requires zero modification, and it is also very healthy.
So, if you want to start your day right, this is the one to order.
The Best Low-Carb Fast Food Options
- McDonald’s – Modified Quarter Pounder with Cheese
- KFC – Grilled Chicken
- Chick-fil-A – Cobb Salad with Grilled Chicken
- Dunkin’ – All You Can Meat Croissant (No Croissant)
- Taco Bell – Crunchy Taco
- Chipotle – Keto Salad Bowl
- In ‘n Out – 4×4 Protein Style
- Wendy’s – Dave’s Double in a Lettuce Wrap
- Burger King – Grilled Chicken Sandwich (No Bun)
- Starbucks – Sous Vide Egg Bites
In short, in this guide, we have given you some of the best low-carb options to order at fast-food restaurants. So, if you are following this diet, and are struggling to decide what to order, check out this guide for inspiration.