52 Healthy Fast Food Options [High Protein, Low Calorie Winners]

Let’s be honest:

Fast food can be a fricking horror show.

I mean, chow down on a Zaxby’s Club Sandwich Meal…

…washed down with a chocolate cookie milkshake.

And you’re looking at 2,220 Calories for just 69 grams of protein.

As we know, getting in enough protein is a REALLY big deal when you want to get in shape.

(That’s why it’s one of the cornerstones of the How To Get Lean, Strong & Bulletproof Course)

But here’s a surefire strategy to get in plenty of protein…

…without skyrocketing your caloric intake.

1. Calculate 10% of the total calories of any meal

For the Zaxby’s example, that’s 222

2. Look at the grams of protein contained in the meal

For the Zaxby’s example, that’s 69

Now, if the protein number is the same or bigger, you’re good to go.

But if it’s not?

Well, you’re probably better off opting for something else.

And here’s the AWESOME news:

We’ve found 52 healthy fast food options that nail this “10% rule”.

So you can still grab something to eat when you’re in a pinch…

…while keeping progress on track.

So let’s check ’em out!

 

BLIMPIE

 

 

 

 

Blimpie’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad contains a whopping 22 grams of protein for just 160 Calories.

Just keep in mind this doesn’t include dressing.

But that’s OK because some of the lighter dressings (Italian Fat Free, Au Jus Sauce) contain fewer than 50 Calories.

So you can still hit the 10% rule even if you go for them.

Win.

On the other hand, opting for Blue Cheese, Buttermilk Ranch or Creamy Italian…

…can add over 240 Calories to your meal.

That’s 1½ times the calories of the salad you’re pouring them over!

Bottom line?

Dressings can turn your healthy salad into a regular calorie bomb.

So go easy.

Other Blimpie Winners

Buffalo Chicken Salad: 23g protein, 180 Calories

Philly Steak and Onion: 19g protein, 150 Calories

Roast Beef: 17g protein, 90 Calories

Grilled Chicken Strips: 16g protein, 80 Calories

(Plus you can add awesome low-calorie toppings like cucumbers, lettuce, onion, peppers, pickle, spinach and tomato)

 

BURGER KING

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burger King’s Garden Grilled Chicken Salad (with Tendergrill) packs 36 grams of protein for only 320 Calories.

Again, that’s without dressing.

Adding Ken’s Ranch Dressing (260 Calories) can almost double the calories of your meal.

So choose wisely.

 

CHICK-FIL-A

 

 

 

 

Chick-fil-A’s Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap weighs in with 37 grams of protein and 350 Calories.

It looks pretty sweet, too…

(Is anybody else getting hungry?)

Just keep in mind that it isn’t clear if Chick-fil-A includes dressing in there.

That can add anything from 25 Calories (Light Italian Dressing) to an eye-watering 310 Calories (Avocado Lime Ranch).

Other Chick-fil-A Winners

Grilled Market Salad: 25g protein, 200 Calories

Spicy Southwest Salad: 29g protein, 290 Calories

Grilled Chicken Nuggets: 25g protein, 140 Calories

Chick-fil-A Nuggets: 28g protein, 260 Calories

 

CHIPOTLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, Chipotle is kind of a weird one…

Why?

Because it’s a pick ‘n’ mix where you get to decide the content of your meal…

…which means there’s about a gazillion different combinations.

That said, here are the best ones to go for:

Burrito Bowl & Salads

Barbacoa: 24g protein, 170 Calories

Carnitas: 23g protein, 210 Calories

Chicken: 32g protein, 180 Calories

Chorizo: 32g protein, 300 Calories

Steak: 21g protein, 150 Calories

Just keep in mind that the toppings could send calories skyrocketing while adding little or no protein.

So, go for low-calorie choices like Fajita Vegetables (20 Calories), Tomato Salsa (25 Calories), and Romaine Lettuce (5 Calories)

 

CULVER’S

 

 

 

 

 

 

Culver’s Cranberry Bacon Bleu Salad with Grilled Chicken has an epic 44 grams of protein for a mere 360 Calories.

Again, this doesn’t include dressing.

Those can pack anywhere from a reasonable 45 Calories (Raspberry Vinaigrette)…

…to a jaw-dropping 310 Calories (Chunky Bleu Cheese).

Which is equivalent to having a McDonald’s Cheeseburger sitting on top of your healthy salad.

Other Culver’s Winners

Garden Fresco with Grilled Chicken: 44g protein, 360 Calories

Chicken Cashew (with Grilled Chicken): 46g protein, 460 Calories

Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 41g protein, 390 Calories

 

DAIRY QUEEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dairy Queen’s Grilled Chicken BLT Salad packs 35 grams of protein for just 270 Calories.

How much will dressings add?

Anywhere from 20 Calories (Light Italian) to 210 Calories (Buttermilk Ranch).

Other Dairy Queen Winners

Grilled Chicken Garden Greens Salad: 26g protein, 160 Calories

 

EL POLLO LOCO

 

 

 

 

 

El Pollo Loco’s Double Avocado Salad with Chicken packs an incredible 48 grams of protein for only 380 Calories.

Just keep in mind that dressings will add between 70 Calories (Lowfat Citrus Vinaigrette) to – get this – 320 Calories (Creamy Cilantro).

Other El Pollo Loco Winners

Double Mango Grilled Tostada – Chicken: 53g protein, 490 Calories

Chicken Tortilla Soup w/o Tortilla Strips: 15g protein, 140 Calories

Classic Salad – Chicken: 25g protein, 240 Calories

Skinless Breast Meal w/o Tortilla Strips or Dressing: 40g protein, 230 Calories

Chicken Breast: 36g protein, 220 Calories

Chicken Breast – Skinless: 35g protein, 180 Calories

Chicken Leg: 12g protein, 90 Calories,

Chicken Wing: 11g protein, 90 Calories

The lowest calorie sides are broccoli (30 Calories) and mashed potatoes (110 Calories).

 

JACK IN THE BOX

 

 

 

 

 
Jack in the Box’s Grilled Chicken Club Salad has 35 grams of protein and 348 Calories.

 

But you guessed it…

…this doesn’t include dressings (or croutons).

Adding these bumps the protein content up by 6 grams while skyrocketing calories to 684.

(Ranch Dressing alone being responsible for 5 grams of protein and 270 Calories)

Other Jack in the Box Winners

Grilled Chicken Salad (no dressing or corn sticks): 35g protein, 348 Calories

A side salad has anything from 21 Calories (no dressing) or 48 Calories (Low-fat Vinaigrette) all the way to 334 Calories (that’s what Ranch Dressing and croutons will bag you).

 

KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast packs 38 grams of protein for just 210 Calories.

So, it’s nudging closer to 20% – awesome!

Grab a House Side Salad without dressing, and you’re adding only another 15 Calories.

(Thirty Calories if you go for Marzetti Light Italian Dressing).

Tempted to add Creamy Parmesan Caesar Dressing and Parmesan Garlic Croutons instead?

Well, your side salad now packs a whopping 340 Calories. 

Other KFC Winners

Kentucky Original Recipe Chicken Breast: 39g protein, 390 Calories

Kentucky Grilled Chicken Drumstick: 11g protein, 80 Calories

Kentucky Grilled Chicken Thigh: 17g protein, 150 Calories

Kentucky Grilled Chicken Whole Wing: 9g protein, 70 Calories

 

MCDONALD’S

 

 

 

 

 

 

McDonald’s Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad weighs in with 42 grams of protein from 320 Calories.

Again, this doesn’t include dressing.

Those can add anything from 35 Calories (Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette) to 195 Calories (Ranch Dressing).

Other McDonald’s Winners

Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad: 37g protein, 350 Calories

Special mention – just outside the 10% rule…

Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 37g protein, 380 Calories

 

PANDA EXPRESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panda Express’s Grilled Teriyaki Chicken boasts 36 grams of protein from just 300 Calories.

Grab an order of mixed vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, carrots, string beans and cabbage) for 80 Calories and 4 grams of protein, and you’re good to go.

All in, that’s 40 grams of protein for 380 Calories.

Thumbs up.

 

SUBWAY

 

 

 
First the bad news…

None of the subs hit the magic 10% rule.

(The 6″ Rotisserie-Style Chicken comes closest with 29g protein & 350 Calories)

But their Roast Beef Salad contains 19 grams of protein and only 140 Calories.

Just keep in mind that doesn’t include dressing.

These can add anything up to 110 Calories (Ranch or Regular Mayonnaise)

Other Subway Winners

Black Forest Ham Salad: 12g protein, 110 Calories

Oven Roasted Chicken Salad: 19g protein, 140 Calories

Rotisserie-Style Chicken Salad: 23g protein, 170 Calories

Subway Club Salad: 18g protein, 140 Calories

Turkey Breast Salad: 12g protein, 110 Calories

And just missing out on the 10% rule…

Steak & Cheese Salad: 20g protein, 210 Calories

 

WENDY’S

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately…

Nothing from Wendy’s hits the 10% rule.

But here are some that just didn’t make it and deserve special mention :)

Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad: 37g protein, 380 Calories (dressing included!)

Fresh Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich: 41g protein, 420 Calories

Grilled Chicken Sandwich: 35g protein, 360 Calories

 

Wrapping it Up

So, there you have it – 52 fast food options that hit the 10% rule.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should live on fast food.

(There’s always going to be concern over ingredients, sodium and stuff like that)

But if you’re in a pinch, hitting a fast food joint doesn’t mean healthy eating goes out the window.

The main take-home points?

For high-protein, low-calorie meals, grilled chicken salad is your friend.

And be extra-careful with the dressings.

After all, you could effectively be popping one of these on top your salad…

 

– Tim

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