12 Low Carb Fast-Food Options That Won't Ruin Your Diet

When we make the decision to put our calorie count on hold and take a trip to our favorite fast-food joint, we know exactly what we're getting into when it comes to health. No one takes a bite of a bacon cheeseburger and thinks, "This is exactly what my cardiologist would want me to do." However, sometimes we just need to treat ourselves, and when eaten in moderation, it's totally okay to munch down a burger or toss back a few chicken nuggets. Adhering to a super strict diet every minute of every day will drive you wild after a while, and that's where fast food swoops in to satisfy that gluttonous craving we're all hit with from time to time.

Now, even though most menu items at your favorite spot are laden with enough saturated fat, sodium, and calories to send our arteries into panic mode, some fast-food places offer items that aren't highly unhealthy. We all know cutting carbs is one of the best ways to lose weight, so if you're looking to shed some pounds, try sticking with these low-carb fast-food options the next time you get the craving for your favorite quick meal.

Chick-fil-A's Grilled Chicken Nuggets

When you're looking to get some lean protein into your diet, chicken is a great option. You can cook it a bunch of different ways, and you can dress it in some great marinades. But, most of the time, when you visit a fast-food spot, the only kind of chicken they offer is deep-fried, and that's never a good avenue to venture down when you're trying to stay health-conscious. The breading used on the chicken is usually full of carbs, which renders them a rather unhealthy purchase. However, if you find yourself in line at Chick-fil-A, they have an option available to quell your worries.

What you're going to want to do is order yourself the Grilled Chicken Nuggets. That's right, these little nuggets of poultry haven't ventured into the deep-fried Jacuzzi bath. The chicken is plump, juicy, and offers a smoky flavor profile, which means good news for your taste buds. These morsels of boneless white meat chicken are marinated in a mixture of sea salt, lemon, garlic, and herbs for an awesome flavor profile that'll have you tossing them back by the handful. Ditch the fried stuff and stick with the grilled. Your body will thank you for it.

In-N-Out Protein Style Burgers

In-N-Out is one of the most famous West Coast-based burger joints in the country. People can't get enough of their secret menu Animal Style burgers and fries. But, as delicious as the burgers and fries are, no doctor worth their weight in salt would ever advise you to consume them on a regular basis. However, if that craving for a delicious burger patty does punch you in the gut, In-N-Out offers a carb-friendly option so you can get your fix while limiting your carbohydrate intake. You get to enjoy great food, and In-N-Out still gets the sale. It's a win-win situation.

So, what's the secret? All you have to do is order a Protein style burger, which means instead of a carb-filled bun holding your patties, you'll get them nestled inside a lettuce wrap. Not only do you ditch the carbs, but you also add some veggies to your meal. Plus, lettuce won't leave you with that overly stuffed feeling caused at times by a burger bun.

Wendy's Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad

One sure-fire way to avoid an exorbitant amount of unhealthy stuff flooding your body is to opt for a salad at a fast-food spot. Now, keep in mind just because it's a salad doesn't mean it's healthy. You can add a whole heck of a lot to a bed of greens that make it just as undesirable as a greasy burger. But, if you're careful about what a salad contains, it can be a great alternative to other options. If Wendy's is your fast-food vice, but you want to leave feeling like you didn't ruin your diet, check out their Southwest Avocado Salad for a tasty low-carb meal.

This salad has a whole bunch of goodies that make for a satisfying meal. On top of Wendy's signature lettuce blend is pepper jack cheese, diced tomatoes, creamy avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, and juicy chunks of grilled chicken breast. All these ingredients are then combined with a creamy Southwest ranch dressing, giving you veggies and protein without the burden of too many carbs.

Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites

A lot of people find it difficult to start their morning without a tall cup of coffee from Starbucks. The chain has taken over the wee hours of the day in the most caffeine-filled way possible, and it doesn't seem like they're slowing down anytime soon. Not only do they offer tons of coffee options, but they have breakfast foods as well, which makes them a one-stop shop for all your pre-workday needs. But, if you're looking to avoid carbs, you'll want to stray away from the breakfast sandwiches they offer. Instead, look to the Sous Vide Egg Bites.

These little egg bites are packed with flavor, allowing you to start your day off the right way. And the best part is they have three different flavor combinations, so you're not locked into just one option. Choose from kale and mushroom, bacon and Gruyère, or roasted red pepper (this option comes with egg whites only). Pop a couple of these back, and you'll have a low-carb kick-start, giving you the energy to crush the remainder of the day.

Chipotle Build Your Salad Bowls

When your stomach tells you it's time for some Mexican food, Chipotle is one of the tastiest and most affordable options available. They have a wide selection of meats and fixings, and you can get all of it in a taco, burrito, or hearty bowl. But, if you're looking to explore Mexican cuisine with your health at the forefront, you'll want to focus your attention on the Build Your Salad option, which allows you to mix and match ingredients for a delicious low-carb meal.

First, you choose your meat (or the vegetarian sofritas option). Then, it's time to get creative (and healthy). Obviously, avoid the rice and beans in order to navigate away from the carbs. Still, you can load on options like guacamole, tomato salsa, roasted chili corn, tomatillo green chili, fajita veggies, sour cream, and shredded cheese. All of these tasty ingredients are then placed over a mixture of romaine, baby kale, and baby spinach. Drizzle some Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette on top for a slam-dunk, low-carb meal. And, Chipotle also offers a selection of Lifestyle Bowls for a selection of Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 bowls for a roundhouse kick of nutrition. 

Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos

Where do you go when it's time to dive into some Americanized Mexican cuisine that gets your appetite stoked and also won't break the bank? Taco Bell, of course! The Bell offers tacos (obviously), burritos, gorditas, quesadillas, nachos, and several other delicious options. But, even though you won't find your order bookended by bread, what should you eat if you're looking for the lowest carb count possible? Well, look no further than the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos.

Taco Bell made the incredible decision a few years back to offer guests Doritos taco shells, so you get the flavor of Doritos chips and taco filling in every bite. Truly genius stuff. The taco comes with three simple ingredients: ground beef, lettuce, and shredded cheese. You can also opt for the supreme version, which adds tomatoes and sour cream. With only 13 grams of total carbs, this little handheld vessel of scrumptiousness checks off all the boxes when you're looking for a low-carb option while thinking outside the bun.

Jersey Mike's Sub Bowl

Submarine sandwiches are awesome — plain and simple. You can put just about anything in between that thick footlong bun, douse it in some condiments, and have yourself a filling lunch or dinner (even breakfast). But, for those trying to stay away from a carb-heavy diet, those subs are a definite no-go. Luckily, the good people at Jersey Mike's have you covered. They're well aware that not everyone wants to pile a bunch of bread into their gut, so they give customers the option to order their sub-in-a-tub.

Ditch the bread, but enjoy all other fixings. That's the name of the game when you get a Jersey Mike's sub-in-a-tub. Called a Sub Bowl on the menu, it doesn't matter whether it's a hot or cold sandwich; Jersey Mike's is more than happy to offer it without the bread. And Jersey Mike's has a bunch of great options to choose from, too. Cold options like Jersey Shore's Favorite (provolone, ham, and capicola) and the Club Supreme (roast beef, turkey, Swiss cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, and mayo) are two terrific choices. If you're looking for something hot, snag yourself a Big Kahuna Chicken Cheesesteak or a Portobello Cheesesteak. Just make sure you clarify you want that sub "in a tub" or a Sub Bowl (it's more fun to rhyme, though).

Jack in the Box's Chicken Club Salad

Who's in the box? Why, it's the one and only Jack, of course! That smiling mascot with the big white head and cone hat is always ready to welcome you into one of its establishments for burgers, tacos, shakes, and more! But, as we all know, chowing down on greasy burgers isn't exactly conducive to weight loss (unfortunately). So, check out the salads instead of opting for a burger the next time you show up at your nearest Jack in the Box. Specifically, the Chicken Club Salad.

Since it's a salad, you already know you'll get a bunch of veggies, which is conducive to maintaining a trim figure. Plus, there's no bun, which means a bunch of those added carbs is off the table. What you do get is several strips of flame-grilled white meat chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, crumbled bacon, and seasoned croutons (which you can remove to eliminate more carbs), all resting on a bed of iceberg and romaine lettuce (via Jack in the Box). It's a winning burger alternative.

Popeyes Blackened Tenders

While this chain's name might conjure up the image of that spinach-gulping massive-forearmed sailor man, it should also put thoughts of golden fried chicken in your head. Popeyes prides itself on cranking out delicious Louisiana comfort food with a Cajun flair to its customers, and they have some pretty awesome items on its menu to prove it. But, if you're someone seeking to cut down carbs but still want the great taste of Popeyes chicken, what exactly do you do? Well, the answer lies in three words: Popeyes Blackened Tenders.

The Blackened Tenders that Popeyes offers comes in three- or five-piece orders, and there's no fried breading in sight, which means your internal carb counter won't work overtime (via Popeyes). In fact, at only 2 grams of carbs for the three-piece order and 3 grams of carbs for five pieces, that counter will barely register a thing. Get your chicken on without the guilt of loading up on carbs.

McDonald's Chicken McNuggets

McDonald's is as much a part of our lives as the weather. Everywhere you travel, the weather follows, and the same thing can be said for those Big Mac-housing Golden Arches. They pop up everywhere, and you know exactly what to expect of the food when you enter, regardless of where you are in the world. Unfortunately, just because McDonald's is arguably the most recognizable eatery in the world doesn't mean it does a slam-dunk job at serving super healthy food you can frequently indulge in. However, when your stomach just has to have some Golden Arches grub, you can always order some of their Chicken McNuggets for a relatively low-carb treat that'll scratch that McDonald's itch.

The source of the carbs when it comes to the nuggets is the breading on the chicken. However, the breading isn't thick, so it's a far cry from the carb-heavy buns of the sandwiches. Of course, adding sauce to the nuggets will add some ingredients you may not want in your body if you're truly adhering to a diet. But all in all,16 grams of carbs for a four-piece order of McNuggets won't set you back from your fitness goals.                                     

Carl's Jr. Thickburger Lettuce Wrap

No one knows what kind of food Carl Sr. serves, but they do know his son slings some darn good fast food. Since 1941, Carl's Jr. has been putting smiles on the faces of customers who show up with a fat juicy burger on their minds and no sympathy at all for their cholesterol levels. From time to time, you need to say the heck with a salad and bite down into one of the Western Bacon Cheeseburgers and let those juices run down your chin, allowing your taste buds to go wild. But, sometimes, you also want to keep your health in mind, which means looking for something that won't pack on the carbs of a normal burger. So, what's the play? The Thickburger Lettuce Wrap, of course!

The lettuce wrap option is available for all burgers on the Carl's Jr. menu. Simply ask the employee taking your order to make your sandwich a lettuce wrap, and instead of a bun, you'll get to feast on your favorite burger nestled between a crisp outer casing of lettuce. Lettuce wraps prove that health can taste awesome!

Quiznos soups

Now, when most people head to a Quiznos, they're likely craving a sandwich, which makes total sense considering Quiznos is known for its subs. You wouldn't go to an Italian restaurant if you wanted something other than Italian food, right? Here's the thing about Quiznos: They do have soups and salads available to guests who don't want to dive head-first into a footlong sub. Sure, those options may not give your tummy that rich coating of saturated fat that just feels oh so good, but they're still worth your money if you want to fork some dollars to Quiznos while also keeping your day somewhat low-carb. To achieve this, the soup options are the perfect way to do so.

Quiznos doesn't just give you one measly soup to pick, either — they have four options for your tasting pleasure: broccoli cheese, chicken noodle, chili, and tomato basil Bisque (via Quiznos). You can get all of them in a small cup or a large bowl. Each one has a totally different flavor profile, making the decision challenging, but whichever route you go will be totally worth your money. Ditch the carb-heavy bread and grab a spoon instead. Sometimes it pays to slurp your meal instead of chewing it.