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!

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 cut carbs:

                        • 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.

                        This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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