Lower Carb Fast Food Options

Lower Carb Fast Food Options

Did you know? The average American eats fast food 159 times a year.

Fast food is a popular choice for many reasons, one of the biggest reasons being convenience. We have all been there; in a time-crunch and hungry for something quick, easy and fast. That’s when we make a quick right turn into the drive thru lane. If you choose to eat fast food, don’t let poor choices prevent you from reaching your goals!

Low-carb fast food options

The following is a list of the top 10 national fast food chains in America with a popular meal (high carb) and lower carb meal option shown.

Popular meals range from: 55- 206 g CHO

Lower carb meals range from: 9-46 g CHO

1. Mcdonald’s

  • Popular meal: Big Mac, Large French fry, and 30 ounce Coke
  • Nutrition: 1330 calories/ 185 g CHO/ 31 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: *Cheeseburger, side salad, ranch dressing, and water
  • Nutrition: 490 calories/ 46 g CHO/ 17 g protein

*Tip: reduce CHO amount by approximately 21 grams by eliminating bun from cheeseburger

2. Taco Bell

  • Popular meal: Crunchwrap Supreme, Cinnamon Twists, and 30 ounce Mountain Dew
  • Nutrition: 1120 calories/ 206 g CHO/ 17 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: 2 Fresco Chicken Soft Tacos and water
  • Nutrition: 300 calories/ 36 g CHO/ 22 g protein

3. Subway

  • Popular meal: Italian BMT, Chocolate Chunk Cookie, and 21 ounce Sprite
  • Nutrition: 890 calories/ 144 g CHO/ 22 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: Chicken and Bacon Ranch Salad (*Ranch dressing included), Tomato Basil Soup, and water
  • Nutrition: 670 calories/ 30 g CHO/ 36 g protein

4. Starbucks

  • Popular beverage: Venti Caffe Mocha (made with 2% milk)
  • Nutrition: 450 calories/ 55 g CHO/ 17 g protein
  • Lower carb beverage: Tall Cappuccino (made with 2% milk)
  • Nutrition: 90 calories/ 9 g CHO/ 6 g protein

5. Burger King

  • Popular meal: Whopper, Large French fry, and 30 ounce Dr. Pepper
  • Nutrition: 1340 calories/ 186 g CHO/ 32 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: Bacon Cheddar Ranch Chicken Salad (*grilled chicken) and water
  • Nutrition: 590 calories/ 18 g CHO/ 42 g protein

*Tip: If you feel that this amount of food won’t satisfy you ask for a double portion of grilled chicken

6. Panera

  • Popular Meal: Sierra Turkey Sandwich, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Iced Green Tea
  • Nutrition: 1240 calories/ 144 g CHO/ 38 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken, *Petite Chocolate Chipper, and Brewed Iced Tea
  • Nutrition: 660 calories/ 38 g CHO/ 36 g protein

*Tip: want a lower CHO meal? Skip with cookie and reduce CHO amount by 14 grams

7. Pizza Hut

  • Popular Meal: 2 slices Pepperoni Lover’s –Medium Pan Slice and 20 ounce Pepsi
  • Nutrition: 860 calories/ 124 g CHO/ 25 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: 2 slices Pepperoni-Medium Thin’ N Crispy Slice and 20 ounce Diet Pepsi
  • Nutrition: 420 calories/ 43 g CHO/ 17 g protein

8. Dunkin Donuts

  • Popular Meal: Chocolate Glazed Donut and Large Iced Caramel Swirl Macchiato
  • Nutrition: 650 calories/ 104 g CHO/ 13 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: Bacon, Egg and Cheese on English Muffin and Medium Iced Coffee (no sweetener/sugar)
  • Nutrition: 315 calories/ 34 g CHO/ 17 g protein

9. Wendy’s

  • Popular Meal: Spicy Chicken Sandwich and Medium Chocolate Frosty
  • Nutrition: 950 calories/ 122 g CHO/ 41 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: Power Mediterranean Chicken Salad (full size) and water
  • Nutrition: 450 calories/ 42 g CHO/ 40 g protein

10. Chick-Fil-A

  • Popular Meal: Chicken Sandwich, Medium Waffle Potato Fries, and Medium Lemonade
  • Nutrition: 1070 calories/ 150 g CHO/ 33 g protein
  • Lower carb meal: 8 count Grilled Nuggets, Side Salad, Buttermilk Ranch Dressing and water
  • Nutrition: 330 calories/ 10 g CHO/ 28 g protein

Additional ways to lower carbs when eating fast food

  • Choose a salad (instead of French fries) and hold the croutons
  • Remove the bun
  • Skip fat free dressings
  • Limit sweet condiments: BBQ sauce, honey mustard, sweet vinaigrettes, ketchup
  • Switch from regular pop to diet pop or water
  • Choose a kids meal
  • Decrease your typical size from large to small
  • Get it grilled instead of fried

Do you have a favorite low carb fast food meal? Please share your tips with the type2diabetes.com community: Diet and Nutrition forum.

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