Food

Lunch Ideas for Low Carb Fast Food

Published on: December 18, 2018

Lunch Ideas for Low Carb Fast Food

Does the idea of having a low carb lunch at a fast food restaurant seem like forcing the like poles of two magnets together?

You may feel that way because a lot of fast food items contain bread, potatoes, tortillas, rice, and other high carb foods as their main menu item.

It may leave you feeling overwhelmed and tempted to eat whatever that’s available when you have no other options available.

We’ll help you see how you can eat a completely low-carb lunch when you’re eating out at fast food restaurants.


Is It Possible to Eat Low-Carb with Fast Food?

It’s entirely possible to eat low carb at fast food restaurants even if there isn’t anything visible on the menu. All you have to do is to add or substitute certain items as we’ll discuss here.

Burgers without the buns, tacos without the tortillas, Taco Bell’s steak bowl without rice and beans, and the list goes on. A lot of restaurants also have customizable menu items.


What Are the Best Options for Low-Carb Fast Food Meals?

Here are some low-carb lunch ideas from some of the most well-known fast food restaurants in the United States.


grilled-chicken-breast-with-vegetables-on-a-plate

KFC

Grilled chicken

When it comes to eating a low-carb fast food meal at KFC, you’re better off with their grilled chicken items since they contain almost zero carbs. KFC’s grilled chicken is prepared by marinating the fresh chicken in salt, coconut oil, their spices, and slowly grilled until it gets its juicy finish.

Nutritional info (grilled chicken breast):

  • Total calories per serving: 210
  • Fat: 7g
  • Protein: 38g
  • Carbs: 0

You can opt for the grilled chicken thighs if you want to lower the calories and protein.

Nutritional info (grilled chicken thigh):

  • Total calories per serving: 150
  • Fat: 9g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Carbs: 0

A two to three piece KFC chicken combo meal usually costs anywhere between $5.99 to $7.99. You may be able to get it for less if you just want the chicken on its own.


McDonald's

Egg McMuffin (no bread)

McDonald’s delicious egg McMuffins have fresh A-grade egg on a toasted English muffin. It’s usually topped with real butter, lean Canadian bacon, and melty American cheese.

Nutritional info (without the muffin and bacon):

  • Total calories: 140 (160 with bacon)
  • Fat: 11g
  • Carbs: 2g (3g with bacon)
  • Protein: 9g (12g with bacon)

The current price of the Egg McMuffin is $2.79, or $3.99 for the meal option.


Sausage McMuffin (no bread)

The Sausage McMuffin is pretty much the same as the Egg McMuffin above, but with a hot sausage patty instead of egg. It’s also available in other options such as with egg or the Triple Breakfast Stack McMuffin which consists of two sausage patties, two slices of American cheese, bacon and an egg.

Nutritional info (for a simple Sausage McMuffin without the muffin):

  • Total calories: 260
  • Fat: 24g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Protein: 9g

The price of a Sausage McMuffin is $1.19, or $2.99 for the sausage McMuffin with egg.


Subway

Tuna salad

Subway’s tuna salad is a delicious mix of flaked tuna, mayo, crispy lettuce, and veggies. It’s low in carbs and high in fats, making it a perfect lunch choice for anyone on a low-carb and keto diet.

Nutritional info:

  • Total calories: 310
  • Fat: 24g
  • Protein: 15g
  • Carbs: 11g

roasted-beef-slices-with-vegetables-and-pickles

Roast beef

This is a satisfying salad with lean, sliced roast beef with crispy vegetables.

Nutritional info:

  • Total calories: 140
  • Fat:5g
  • Protein: 19g
  • Carbs: 12g

Both of these salads are currently priced at $6 each.


Chipotle

You can have a variety of low-carb lunch items from Chipotle. For example, you can try a meaty taco without the tortillas. Make your choice of meat, cheese, romaine lettuce, guacamole, and you’re good to go. You can also try a salad with your choice of meat and vegetables.


Chicken salad with romaine lettuce, and guacamole

Here’s a sample of a completely customizable salad from Chipotle to give you an idea of what you can eat for lunch there.

Nutritional info:

  • Total calories: 420
  • Fat: 29g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Carbs: 10g

You can always replace the guacamole with more romaine lettuce if you want to lower the fat and carb content of this salad further.

The current price of a chicken salad at Chipotle is $6.50.


Wendy’s

BLT chicken cobb salad

Wendy’s full BLT cobb salad will be a super-filling low-carb lunch option. It contains sliced chicken breast pieces, strips of bacon, chopped hard-boiled egg, diced tomatoes, blue cheese, and plenty of greens.

Nutritional info:

  • Total calories: 450
  • Fat: 25g
  • Protein: 46g
  • Carbs: 9g

The current price for a full salad is $6, or $4.69 for a half serving.


salad-with-hard-boiled-eggs-chicken-lettuce-and-tomatoes-on-a-white-plate-

Wendy’s avocado ranch dressing is a perfect addition to your low-carb salad.

Nutritional info:

  • Total calories: 100
  • Fat: 10g
  • Protein: 1g
  • Carbs: 2g

Burger King

Cheese burger (no bun, ketchup, or tomatoes)

The cheeseburger is one of Burger King’s classic best sellers. It contains their signature flame-grilled beef patty, melted American cheese, pickles, yellow mustard, and ketchup on a toasted sesame seed bun.

You can have this menu option without the bun, tomatoes, and ketchup if you prefer.

Nutritional info:

  • Total calories: 150
  • Fat: 11g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Carbs: less than 1g

You can have two or three of these because of their low macronutrients without the bun and ketchup, and the current price of the cheeseburger is only $1. Alternatively, you can also choose a double cheeseburger.


Grilled chicken sandwich (no bun or tomatoes)

This delicious Burger King sandwich contains marinated grilled white chicken filet, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo on a potato bun.

Nutritional info (without the bun and tomatoes):

  • Total calories: 270
  • Fat: 16g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbs: less than 1g

The current price of the Burger King grilled chicken sandwich is $4.99.


Taco Bell

Steak bowl (no beans or rice)

The power menu bowls from Taco Bell are completely customizable. Have one with your choice of meat, veggies, dressings, sauces, add-ons and other ingredients like cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and more.

For a super-filling low-carb lunch, you can have a steak power menu bowl without the seasoned rice and black beans.

Nutritional info (without beans and rice):

  • Total calories: 260
  • Fat: 16g
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs: 9g

The price of this tasty steak bowl is $5.49.


Chick-fil-A

Grilled chicken nuggets with coleslaw

Planning to have some lunch at Chick-fil-A? Their grilled chicken nuggets with some coleslaw will be a perfect low-carb lunch idea.

Nutrition info (for eight chicken nuggets):

  • Total calories: 140
  • Fat:5g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbs:2g

The price of 8 grilled chicken nuggets is around $4.25, and it may vary for different locations.


Cobb salad with grilled chicken

You can customize Chick-fil-A’s cobb salad chicken choices. For instance, you can have it with grilled chicken nuggets, spicy grilled filet, grilled filet, and more.

Nutritional info (for cobb salad with grilled filet – cold):

  • Total calories: 370
  • Fat: 18g
  • Protein: 33g
  • Carbs: 20g

The price of the cobb salad with grilled chicken is $7.59.


In-N-Out

Lettuce-wrap burgers

In-N-Out’s lettuce wrap burgers are perfect when you’re badly craving for a burger without feeling bad about wasting the bun. All their burgers are available in protein-style (lettuce instead of bun) option for those who are on a low-carb diet.

For example, here’s the nutritional info of their protein style hamburger:

  • Total calories: 240
  • Fat: 17g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Carbs: 11g

The price of their lettuce-wrapped hamburger is said to be around $2.05.


Conclusion

You don’t need to feel clueless about what to eat at fast food restaurants anymore. As discussed earlier, all you have to do is to add or take away certain items from the menu to create a perfect low-carb lunch.

It’s also good to remember that a lot of restaurant offer customizable dishes and all you have to do is to ask what’s available.

That said, you have to take extra precautions if you’re on low carb and a gluten-free diet. For instance, although the grilled chicken from KFC is low carb, it contains gluten and wheat.


Takeaways

  • Even when you’re dining out for lunch, you can still enjoy a low-carb meal.
  • Some restaurants have customizable menu items that allow you to eliminate or replace certain ingredients.
  • Examples of low-carb fast food meals include grilled chicken, egg McMuffin without the bread, tuna salad, and more.
  • Restaurants, where you can find low-carb options, include but are not limited to Wendy’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell.

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