Eating Low Carb at a Fast Food Restaurant

low carb burger

In this fast-paced life, following a low carb diet to the letter can be difficult, but low carb diet fast food menus make it a little easier. While not all fast food restaurants offer a dedicated low carb menu, most can be tweaked to suit a low carb lifestyle.

Low Carb Diet Fast Food Menus: the Basics

As you scan the menu at a typical fast food establishment, you are overwhelmed by carb-filled choices: tortillas, buns, bread, chips, and fries. It's a simple fact that wraps and sandwiches are easy to eat on the run, making them ideal fast foods. They are also the death knell for low carb diets. If you must eat out, though, the following adjustments will help:

  • Order sandwiches and burgers without bread or buns
  • Order chicken grilled or broiled, not fried
  • Do not use creamy salad dressings
  • Skip the rice, tortillas, and chips
  • Skip the shrimp and fish, as these are usually breaded
  • Have a side salad instead of French fries

Restaurants With a Low Carb Menu

Luckily, several fast food chains have jumped on the low carb bandwagon. As the number of low carb dieters continutes to rise, expect even more restaurants to join the trend. As you order your low carb goodies, keep an eye on condiments and beverages. Sauces, dressings, soda, juices, and "regular" ketchup sometimes have enough sugar to derail your otherwise perfect eating plan.


Blimpie has an extensive "BCC", or Blimpie Carb Counter, menu. The menu utilizes the theory of "net effective carbs", or carbs that impact your blood sugar. This theory is discussed in detail in the book Protein Power. The BCC lists the net effective carb count of every food item Blimpie sells, including condiments, meats, seafoods, vegetables, desserts, cheeses, and breads. This allows low carbers to make educated decisions in creating sandwiches and salads. In addition, Blimpie offers the following low carb concoctions:

  • Durango Roast Beef & Cheddar
  • Baja Turkey & Cheese
  • Buffalo Chicken
  • Tuscan Ham & Swiss
  • Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Sicilian Salad
  • Blimpie Carb Counter Chips
  • SoBe Lean


Hardee's is one of the few chains still offering clearly designated low carbohydrate options. One favorite is the Low Carb Breakfast Bowl, which consists of egg, bacon, sausage, ham, and mixed cheese. For lunch or dinner, try the Low Carb Thickburger, a bunless beef patty topped with cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onions, pickles, ketchup, and mustard.


As fast food goes, Subway is usually much healthier than the alternatives, and this holds true for low carb dieters as well. Although Subway is no longer offering the Atkins wrap, any of the sandwich options can be made into a salad. Tasty options include:

  • Chicken breast
  • Steak
  • Turkey breast
  • Ham
  • Roast beef
  • Salami
  • Bacon
  • Pepperoni
  • Tuna
  • Assorted vegetables

Simply add oil and vinegar for an ideal low carbohydrate dressing.

Burger King

In many locations across the country, Burger King offers a low carb burger on its menu. This is, of course, a burger minus the bun and sugary condiments. Even in locations that do not feature a devoted low carb menu, Burger King prides itself on offering customizable food options. Order your burgers and grilled chicken without buns and ketchup, and you're well within your low carb limits. Order a garden salad with either shrimp, steak, or grilled chicken; skip the croutons and creamy dressing.


Eating at home is always your best bet when it comes to controlling fat, carbs, and calories, but it is possible to maintain a low carb lifestyle while eating fast food. Simply choose non-breaded protein and vegetables, and forego the creamy dressings, bread, French fries, chips, and tortillas.

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Eating Low Carb at a Fast Food Restaurant