6 Hacks To Ordering High-Protein, Low-Carb Fast Food

Making yourself a healthy and hearty meal on a busy day can be a big challenge, especially if you’re trying to watch your calories. There will be days when you’ll be too busy to make breakfast for yourself or pack your own lunch. But don’t dismiss takeouts or fast food on hectic days because when ordered right, fast food can prove to be a balanced, protein-rich option. 

Consider all-day breakfast options since they typically have proteins as part of the meals and minimal fried and greasy food. At a burger joint, start by opting for a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a fried one. Add extra cheese and bacon to your sandwich to increase the protein content. Instead of fries, choose a side salad with grilled chicken. 

At a Mexican fast food place, choose a burrito bowl with double meat and beans to maximize protein intake. Skip the rice and tortillas to focus on protein and vegetables. Add a side of black beans or a small serving of guacamole, which includes protein from the avocado! These are small changes which can help you order high-protein fast food. Let’s explore further.

Choose Grilled Over Fried

One of the simplest ways to ensure you're getting a high-protein meal without unnecessary fats and calories is to opt for grilled instead of fried items. Grilled chicken sandwiches, grilled fish, or grilled beef burgers usually contain more protein and fewer unhealthy fats compared to their fried counterparts. For example, instead of ordering a fried chicken sandwich, go for the grilled chicken sandwich. 

This not only boosts protein intake but also reduces the number of calories and unhealthy fats. Grilling retains the protein content of the meat while minimizing the addition of extra fats from frying oils. Many fast food places offer grilled versions of their popular items—don’t hesitate to ask for grilled options.

Focus on Protein-Rich Toppings and Sides

When customizing your meal, choose toppings and sides that are high in protein. Many fast food chains now offer a variety of high-protein additions like extra meat, cheese, eggs, and beans. At a burger joint, for instance, you can add an extra patty, a slice of cheese, or bacon to your burger for an extra protein boost. At Mexican fast-food places, consider adding beans or extra chicken to your burrito bowl. This method increases your overall protein intake without significantly altering your meal choice. You can also add a side of cottage cheese, a boiled egg, or edamame if available, further enhancing your meal’s protein content.

Opt for Salads with Protein Additions

Salads can be a great vehicle for protein if you choose wisely. Many fast-food chains offer salads topped with grilled chicken, steak, or fish. Avoid salads that are primarily carbohydrate-based, like those loaded with croutons or pasta. For example, ordering a Caesar salad with grilled chicken or a steak salad can be a nutritious choice. Ask for extra meat if you're looking to increase your protein intake further. Salads provide a nutritious base while allowing for high-protein additions without excessive carbs or fats. Be cautious with dressings and toppings; opt for vinaigrettes and avoid high-sugar or creamy dressings that add unnecessary calories.

Look for Breakfast Options All Day

Many fast food restaurants serve breakfast items all day, and these can be excellent sources of protein. Breakfast sandwiches, wraps, and platters often feature eggs, which are a great source of protein. For example, you might choose an egg and cheese sandwich, a breakfast burrito with eggs and meat, or a platter with eggs and sausage. Eggs are a high-quality protein source and are versatile, fitting well into many fast-food breakfast items. If possible, ask if you can add extra eggs or meat to your breakfast item for an even greater protein boost. Breakfast items can offer a balanced mix of protein and other nutrients throughout the day.

Select Protein-Packed Sides

Beyond the main dish, selecting protein-rich sides can help round out your meal. Many fast-food establishments now offer options like yogurt, cottage cheese, or side salads with beans or meat. Instead of fries, consider choosing a side of black beans, a small yoghurt parfait, or a side salad with grilled chicken. These sides can significantly increase your protein intake without adding too many extra calories. Combining multiple high-protein sides can sometimes be a more effective strategy than sticking to traditional sides. These options allow you to enjoy a more balanced and nutrient-dense meal.

Check the carbs for every dish

Many fast food chains now offer low-carb options, which often translate into higher protein content. These options usually replace carb-heavy ingredients with extra proteins or vegetables. For example, ordering a burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, or a burrito bowl instead of a burrito with a tortilla, can make a big difference. These choices often come with extra meat or beans, which boost the protein content. Lowering carb intake can help focus on protein and healthy fats, supporting a balanced diet. Customize your low-carb option by adding extra protein items like an additional meat serving or extra cheese for an even greater protein boost.