Eating at a fast food restaurant while on a low-carb diet is no doubt a daunting task. In fact, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s always preferable that you prepare your own meals at home, where you can choose your ingredients wisely. Even so, if time and money are a concern, or you’ve just been invited to go out with some friends to your local fast food chain, there’s still of hope for you. Here are 7 of the best low-carb dishes from some of the most popular restaurants around. Enjoy!
1. Starbucks: Iced coffee with soy milk or half and half
If you want to start your day with a daily dose of caffeine but no carbs, this is the way to go. Coffee can also help to speed up your metabolism – bonus!
Does black coffee have too strong a flavor for you? No problem. You can always add some unsweetened soy milk. It will give your beverage a milder taste and it’s almost carb-free. On the other hand, if you’d rather have some cream with your coffee, you can ask for half and half (half cream, half milk). Carbs for this option are still quite low and it will save you almost 30 calories per tablespoon when compared to full cream.
2. KFC: Grilled chicken with green beans
Forget about fried chicken: we all know it’s a tasty cholesterol missile heading to your heart. Also, with up to 10-15 grams of carbs per piece, you’d be breaking your diet big time with this one.
Grilled chicken, on the other hand, is not only a healthier choice but it has a mere 1 gram of carbs per piece. Also, you should definitely order it with a side of green beans. They hold less than 2 grams of carbohydrates per portion and they taste really good, too!
3. McDonald’s Burgers without the bun
Let’s face it: if you are on a low-carb diet, McDonald’s is probably not your healthiest choice. However, if you just have to go there for some reason or you simply like the food and ambiance of your local franchise, you still have a few options at hand.
First of all, you can order any hamburger over there without the bun. This will reduce your carb intake by a whopping 28 grams. Also, remember to hold back on the dressings (ketchup, in particular, contains almost 2 grams of carbs per serving).
Another option altogether would be to go for a salad but again, be careful here. Go with the grilled chicken salad or just the side salad, as most of the other options are usually high in carbs. The Caesar salad would be a good low-carb choice, nonetheless. Just pass on the croutons and go easy on the dressing (keep in mind olive oil is always a healthy choice, with zero carbs).
4. Taco Bell: Crunchy taco supreme
For all of you taco lovers out there, we’ve got you covered. Many tacos on the Taco Bell menu contain approximately 20 grams of carbs or more, most of which are in the shell. There are, however, some lower-carb options too, such as the palatable Crunchy Taco. With only 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving, it’s a great choice for any carb-conscious Mexican food lover.
5. In-N-Out: Lettuce Wrapped Burger
We already mentioned before how buns add around 28 grams of carbs to any hamburger. That’s why some chains like In-N-Out have been offering lettuce wraps for a while now. This particular version contains only 8 grams of carbs overall, with all the protein and flavor of the more traditional burgers you’ve come to know and love.
6. Chipotle: Salads and bowls
Contrary to what happens in other fast food chains, Chipotle makes it pretty easy for you to manage your carbs intake. Not only does their menu include plenty of healthy meals for you to choose from, but they also have an online nutrition calculator, which lets you know quite precisely the number of carbohydrates in every dish.
A succulent bowl containing grilled chicken and vegetables, along with some guacamole, carries less than 15 grams of carbs. What’s more, it’s both protein-rich and comes with a high content of fiber. (Tip: abundant guacamole can render high-carb dressings unnecessary for most people).
7. Domino’s Pizza Salads
Even though they’ve become famous for their tasty pizza and fast delivery, Domino’s also has plenty to offer to low-carb fans. Their salads have been gaining a lot of popularity lately and for good reason.
Containing around 15 grams of carbs, their chicken Caesar salad can be a really good option. Of course, you should again pass on the croutons and avoid high-carb dressings, by choosing some plain olive oil instead.
If you want to be even more strict with your carb intake, then the Classic Garden Salad may be for you. With less than half of the carbs and only 120 calories per portion, this salad is probably as good an option as you’ll find in any fast food restaurant. Then again, there’s a catch: protein content drops from 15 grams in the Caesar salad we mentioned before to only 7 grams in this one.