But is eating at a fast food restaurant an option if you’re on a low carb diet?
When you think of fast food, burgers, fries, and pizza tend to come to mind. Fortunately, most fast food restaurants now offer tasty low-carb options — ones that aren’t just salad!
So, what can you eat if you’re looking for fast food that’s low in carbohydrates? The answer depends on whether you’re eating low carb or no carb.
Low carb options generally tend to exclude the bread component, focusing more on the ‘fillings’ — the meat, cheese, and veggies, in most cases. Salads and bowls can also be great options.
Zero carb foods can be trickier, and options may be very limited since most fast food meals are prepared with ingredients that contain at least some carbs.
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If you’re on a low carb diet, here are some of the best low carb fast food options to consider.
Low carb side dishes
If you’re looking for low-carb side dishes, opt for veggies over the more popular fries or potatoes. Most restaurants are happy to swap out french fries for a salad or a bowl of mixed vegetables. The method of preparation doesn’t matter so much, as long as they aren’t covered in breadcrumbs or batter and then fried.
Low carb fried chicken
Chicken is often a great choice if you’re eating low carb — but what about fried chicken? Though breading or batter certainly adds carbs to the meal, it remains a lower carb option.
Low carb salads
When you think low carb, salads are probably one of the first things to come to mind. And while they’re generally an excellent choice if you’re trying to reduce your carb intake, you do have to be careful about which vegetables are used.
In general, vegetables that grow above the ground — lettuce, asparagus, broccoli, and zucchini, to name a few — tend to be low in carbs. Veggies that grow under the ground, like beets and carrots, often contain more. It’s also wise to steer clear of starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes.
The other thing you must consider is the type of salad dressing being used. Many dressings are high in sugar (carbs), so it’s best to stick with a heart-healthy vinaigrette made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s also a good idea to ask for the dressing on the side, which allows you to control how much you use.
Low carb fast food for breakfast
Many fast food breakfasts are high in carbs simply because they contain bread. But take that away, and you can get a low carb breakfast just about anywhere!
To turn a breakfast sandwich into a low carb fast food option, ask for a lettuce wrap — or enjoy it naked, without a bun. Steak or sausage, egg, and cheese combos are common and they’ll taste just as good without that English muffin.
Smoothies and smoothie bowls are also excellent options — provided they use low-carb fruits like berries. To keep you full until lunch, see if you can add boosters like coconut oil and hemp seeds for a healthy dose of good fats and some protein, so you don’t get hungry again too quickly.
So, is it possible to eat out and stay low carb? Absolutely. While you might need to ask for substitutions here and there, most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate.