Hungry for Low-Carb Fast Food? Here Are 15 Options We Love, from McDonald’s to Chipotle

Hold the bun, please

low-carb fast food: starbucks egg bites, shake shack burger and taco bell dorito loco nacho taco, side by side
Starbucks/Nhat V. Meyer/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images/Taco Bell

Burgers, fries, crispy chicken—we love ’em all, but if you’re keeping carbs to a minimum, these fast-food classics are off the table (at least without modifications). Luckily, there’s plenty of low-carb fast food out there to enjoy, whether you’re craving on-the-go breakfast, salad or soup. Here, you’ll find 15 popular options from your favorite chains that are sure to satisfy. We’re talking a lettuce-wrapped ShackBurger from Shake Shack, Chick-Fil-A Grilled Nuggets, Chipotle’s Wholesome Bowl and beyond.

The 16 Best High-Protein Fast Food Meals You Can Eat

low-carb fast food: mcdonald's egg mcmuffin

1. McDonald’s Egg McMuffin (3g Carbs with no English muffin)

  • Modified Nutritional Information: 170 calories, 12g fat, 3g carbs, 12g protein, 1g sugar, 0g fiber

This lightning-fast brekkie is relatively low in calories and high in protein, making it a solid way to start the day. The English muffin contains 27 grams of carbs, so as long as you skip it, you’re in the clear. Bring your favorite low-carb bun or wrap to the McDonald’s drive-thru or eat the fillings with a fork instead. If you want to make the sammy leaner, skip the butter on the English muffin.

low-carb fast food: arby's salad

2. Arby’s Roast Chicken Entrée Salad (8g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 250 calories, 14g fat, 8g carbs, 25g protein, 4g sugar, 3g fiber

While many fast-food salads are just chicken nuggets on a bed of lettuce, this gem from Arby’s is topped with grilled chicken. Black pepper bacon, tomato, cheddar cheese and ranch dressing round things out for a filling lunch (or dinner). Best of all, you won’t need to modify the menu item to make it low-carb.

low-carb fast food: shake shack lettuce burger
Nhat V. Meyer/Digital First Media/The Mercury News Via Getty Images

3. Shake Shack Shackburger, Lettuce Wrap (2g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 320 calories, 24g fat, 2g carbs, 21g protein, 1g sugar, 0g fiber

As far as low-carb fast food goes, skipping the bun is the easiest hack across the board. Luckily, you can ask for any Shake Shack sandwich to be served on a crispy lettuce wrap instead of bread to keep the carbs to a minimum, reducing the overall count by 24 grams. Pile on the Shack Sauce (or fine, ketchup) if you dare.

low-carb fast food: chick-fil-a grilled nuggets

4. Chick-Fil-A 8-Piece Grilled Nuggets (1g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 130 calories, 3g fat, 1g carbs, 25g protein, 0g sugar, 1g fiber

True life: We love chicken nuggets. Chick-Fil-A is one of the few chains that offers a grilled version of the kid-friendly meal, which is far lower in carbs than its breaded predecessor. Plus, this better-for-you riff contains 25 grams of protein in an eight-piece serving and only 3 grams of fat, compared to 11 grams in the fried kind.

low-carb fast food: dunkin' wake up wrap

5. Dunkin’ Wake-Up Wrap with Turkey Sausage (15g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 240 calories, 15g fat, 15g carbs, 11g protein, 1g sugar, 0g fiber

We know it’s hard to pass up a doughnut at Dunkin’, but if you’re eating low-carb, the confection is unfortunately off limits. On the other hand, this lighter morning wrap contains 11 grams of protein (shoutout to egg, turkey sausage and cheese) and just 240 calories. Worth getting out of bed for, no?

low-carb fast food: taco bell soft taco
Taco Bell

6. Taco Bell Soft Taco (17g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 180 calories, 9g fat, 17g carbs, 9g protein, 1g sugar, 3g fiber

Taco Bell’s traditional ground beef soft taco has a good ratio of protein to everything else, even if you order two to make it a more filling meal. With no modifications, the taco contains 17 grams of carbs, thanks to the flour tortilla. Still, that’s low enough to keep you in ketosis if you’re on keto, as long as you mindfully choose the rest of your meals for the day. (P.S.: If you wanna throw carbs to the wind, we’d pair it with a Baja Blast.)

low-carb fast food: wendy's spicy chicken nuggets

7. Wendy’s 4-Piece Spicy Chicken Nuggets (9g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 190 calories, 12g fat, 9g carbs, 10g protein, 0g sugar, 1g fiber

Even strict keto dieters can eat up to 20 grams of carbs a day (many eat even more). A small order of Wendy’s nuggets—spicy or original—only contains 9 grams of carbs, so this fan favorite is still on the table, despite its crispy breading. (FYI, the six- and ten-piece nuggets contain 13 and 22 net carbs respectively.) To keep the carbs to a minimum, avoid sugary dips like ketchup, BBQ sauce and Sweet & Sour.

low-carb fast food: starbucks egg white red pepper bites

8. Egg White & Roasted Red Pepper Egg Bites (11g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 170 calories, 8g fat, 11g carbs, 12g protein, 3g sugar, 0g fiber

You have your sugar-free, low-carb Starbucks order down to a science (looking at you, tall heavy cream cappuccino). But what are you going to nosh on between sips? Turn to these protein-packed sous vide egg bites, made with cage-free egg whites, Monterey Jack cheese, spinach and fire-roasted red peppers. They’re vegetarian to boot.

low-carb fast food: wendy's parmesan caesar salad

9. Wendy’s Parmesan Caesar Salad (7g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information (includes dressing packet): 440 calories, 28g fat, 7g carbs, 42g protein, 3g sugar, 3g fiber

Take the fiber into account, and this Wendy’s salad contains only 4 net carbs sans-modifications. A mix of romaine lettuce, grilled chicken breast, Italian cheeses and creamy Caesar dressing, this low-carb fast food option is tasty and satisfying. One clever substitute that keeps the fat and protein high and the carbs low? Swap the traditional croutons for crunchy Parmesan crisps. (BTW, the Southwest Avocado Salad, piled high with lettuce, pepper Jack cheese, tomatoes, avocado, bacon, grilled chicken and Southwest ranch dressing, is a close second at 10 net carbs.)

low-carb fast food: chick-fil-a kale crunch side salad

10. Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Side Salad (8g Carbs)

  • Nutritional information: 120 calories, 9g fat, 8g carbs, 3g protein, 8g sugar, 2g fiber

If you’re trying to up your daily intake of greens (aren’t we all?), this blend of curly kale and green cabbage dressed in an apple cider mustard vinaigrette is waiting for you at Chick-Fil-A. You could leave off the almonds for two grams fewer total carbs, but they’re adding extra fat macros that are helpful for staying in ketosis (if you’re on keto, that is).

low-carb fast food: chipotle wholesome bowl

11. Chipotle Wholesome Bowl (18g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 460 calories, 29g fat, 18g carbs, 35g protein, 4g sugar, 9g fiber

Chipotle’s claim to fame is how customizable all their menu items are, so it’s easy to order low-carb fast food there. This grain-free option is Paleo-, keto- and Whole30-friendly. Think of it as a souped-up salad, made with a base of romaine, baby kale and spinach, chicken, fajita veggies, tomato salsa and guacamole—no rice or beans in sight.

low-carb fast food: subway no bready buffalo chicken bowl

12. Subway Buffalo Chicken No Bready Bowl (13g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 380 calories, 21g fat, 13g carbs, 36g protein, 7g sugar, 4g fiber

When it comes to low-carb fast food, Subway’s No Bready Bowls are a solid, fuss-free option. They’re basically sandwich bowls that feature all your favorite fixings, minus the bread. We’re partial to the spicy Buffalo chicken option, which includes grilled chicken, your choice of cheese, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, black olives, red onions, Buffalo sauce and peppercorn ranch dressing.

low-carb fast food: mcdonald's mcdouble

13. McDonald’s McDouble (3g Carbs with no bun or ketchup)

  • Modified Nutritional Information: 240 calories, 18g fat, 3g carbs, 17g protein, 0g sugar, 0g fiber

This fast food icon stars two beef patties, American cheese, pickle slices, ketchup, onions and mustard. The bun is the source of most of the burger’s carbs (28 grams), but the ketchup also clocks in at 2 grams of carbs and 2 grams of sugar per serving. Without them, the meal is totally keto-friendly. Ask for a large leaf of lettuce (or bring your own) to make a low-carb fast food wrap or sub your favorite low-carb bun, if you’d prefer it to feel like a regular burger. (Note that there are plenty of burger options at McDonald’s, and they’re all fair game if you order them bunless. As for the Big Mac, you may want to skip the Big Mac sauce if you’re strictly keto, since it contains 2 grams of carbs per serving, like ketchup.)

low-carb fast food: taco bell nacho dorito loco taco
Taco Bell

14. Taco Bell Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco (12g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 170 calories, 10g fat, 12g carbs, 8g protein, <1g sugar, 3g fiber

Sans substitutions, you can easily fit this cult-favorite taco into your low-carb meal plan. Savor the famously cheesy Doritos shell, filled with seasoned beef, cheddar cheese and iceberg lettuce. If you’re feeling decadent, order it supreme to add tomatoes and sour cream to the mix.

low-carb fast food: panera bread chicken noodle soup
Panera Bread

15. Panera Bread Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup (13g Carbs)

  • Nutritional Information: 100 calories, 1g fat, 13g carbs, 9g protein, 4g sugar, 0g fiber

This classic Panera Bread soup, made with tender white meat chicken, chicken bone broth, egg noodles, carrots, celery and herbs, is consistently comforting. Even with pasta in the mix, the soup is keto-friendly, as long as you skip the side of French baguette in favor of potato chips (which are lower in carbs than the apple option, BTW) or tomato-basil cucumber salad.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...