Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Guide for Beginners

Get my top 10 low carb fast food lunch recommendations and then read my 5 quick tips for ordering low carb lunch at any fast food chain.

Learn how to order a low carb fast food lunch at the top fast food chains in the United States.

See pictures of my real-life low carb fast food lunch orders.

Top 10 Low Carb Fast Food Lunches

Below are my top ten favorite low carb fast food lunches along with their net carb and calorie counts. Most are low carb enough to be appropriate as keto fast food lunch options.

I’ve provided recommendations for add-on ingredients where necessary.

Rankings account for taste, presentation, and carb count. Photos are my own.

1. Chipotle Chicken Salad (No Beans / No Rice)

Ask for “no beans, no rice” upfront. Politely decline the free dressing they offer — it has too many carbs.

Low carb Chipotle Chicken Salad.
My Low Carb Chipotle Chicken Salad

To construct a Chipotle salad like the one in the photo:

  • Bed of lettuce with “no beans, no rice please”
  • Chicken
  • Extra Chicken – Right as server finishes piling on the first serving of chicken, ask “can I get some extra chicken please?” I feel like you get more chicken this way versus ordering double chicken upfront.  $2.15 upcharge for extra chicken.
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese
  • Red tomatillo salsa
  • Guacamole ($1.95 extra)

That’s 630 calories and 7 net carbs. It’s higher calorie than your typical chicken salad because they use chicken thighs instead of breasts. If you need more calories, ask the server for extra cheese, extra sour cream, and a scoop of chorizo which are three calorie-dense ingredients that are also low carb.

If you want the special low carb menu I built for Chipotle, you can get my full Keto Chipotle Menu.

2. Dairy Queen FlameThrower Burger (No Bun)

It’s tough to choose the best of the bunless burgers, but the FlameThrower tied for tops in taste and had nice presentation. Comes with two grilled beef patties, spicy sauce, bacon, jalapenos, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, and tomatoes.

Low carb bunless FlameThrower Burger from Dairy Queen.
My bunless FlameThrower Burger from Dairy Queen

The patties have grill marks reminiscent of home cooked burgers. I like spicy food so the jalapeno cream sauce, the pepper jack cheese, and the added jalapenos are great fits for my tastes.

This bunless burger has 760 calories and 4 net carbs which is perfect for a low carb fast food lunch.  You can see my custom Dairy Queen low carb menu.

3. Subway Chopped Salad with Cold Cut Combo

Comes with a bed of shredded lettuce along with the Subway cold cut trio of meats (turkey, salami, bologna), and  sliced american cheese. I added spinach, olives, and banana peppers for additional flavor.

My cold cut combo salad resting peacefully in the passenger seat.

My sandwich artist offered me a “deluxe” upgrade which meant she would add fifty percent more meat to my salad for $0.75. Gladly accepted.

The salad tasted great and looked more premium than expected.

If you’re curious about the macros for other Subway salad options, then get my Subway low carb menu here.

4. Jimmy John’s Italian Night Club Unwich (Lettuce Wrapped)

Comes with salami, ham, capicola, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions, mayo and vinaigrette wrapped tightly in lettuce.

This lettuce wrapped Italian Night Club comes with 590 calories and 4 net carbs. There are at least 15 more delicious Jimmy John’s Unwich options that are suitable for low carb dieters. You can see all their jimmy johns low carb menu or download all the macros with this free download.

5. McDonald’s Big Mac (No Bun)

Comes with two beef patties, shredded lettuce, a melted sliced of cheese, and their famous Big Mac sauce.

Mr. SkinnyPants orders a low carb Big Mac without the bun.
My low carb Big Mac.

The bunless Big Mac has 330 calories and 6 net carbs. It’s delicious but may not be filling enough for large appetites. To see higher calorie low carb options check out my McDonald’s keto menu.6. Taco Bell Power Menu Steak Bowl (No Beans / No Rice)

Comes with steak, guacamole, pico de gallo, romaine lettuce. Add a double portion of ground beef, some nacho cheese sauce, and shredded cheese to make it more filling.

My low carb Taco Bell Power Menu Steak Bowl.
My low carb Taco Bell Power Menu Steak Bowl.

If your order the Power Steak bowl as described above it’ll have about 500 calories and 10 net carbs. You can save a few net carbs by cutting the pico de gallo.

If you’d prefer to construct your own low carb Power Menu bowl and need to know which ingredients are low carb, then check out my Taco Bell keto menu.

7. KFC Grilled Chicken with Buffalo Sauce & Green Beans

The grilled chicken at KFC has zero carbs and is surprisingly delicious. I expected it to be dry and tasteless but not the case. It has crispy skin on the outside and juicy, flavorful meat on the inside. Highly recommend.

Low Carb KFC Grilled Chicken
My Low Carb KFC Grilled Chicken

Pair it with a small side of green beans to keep your family from harassing you to eat more vegetables. Two drumsticks, two thighs, and a side of green beans is 485 calories and 4 net carbs as shown.

Too see macros for the other low carb items on KFC’s menu (including some of their fried chicken), get my special KFC low carb menu.

8. McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese (No Bun)

Comes with two beef patties, slice of cheese, onions, pickles, mustard and ketchup. I added bacon and a side of lettuce but that was unnecessary as the basic ingredients were plenty filling.

Mr. SkinnyPants orders a low carb McDonald's double quarter pounder with cheese.
My low carb bunless Double Quarter Pounder from McDonald’s.

A standard double quarter pounder without a bun has 600 calories and 10 net carbs. You can save 4 net carbs by cutting the ketchup.

To see all the different low carb McDonald’s entrees I’ve ordered during this challenge.

9. Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad (No Croutons)

The only grilled chicken breast salad that made the list (Chipotle uses chicken thighs). Comes with romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, shaved parmesan cheese, grilled chicken breast and two packets of Caesar dressing.

Low carb Wendy's Chicken Caesar Salad
My low carb Wendy’s Chicken Caesar Salad

It has 500 calories and 6 net carbs as shown. You might want to ask for an extra packet of caesar dressing which will make the salad more indulgent and add another 160 calories and 2 net carbs.

To review the full Wendy’s keto, low carb menu.

10. Jack in the Box Double Jack (No Bun)

Comes with two beef patties, two slices of cheese, sliced tomatoes, leafed lettuce, and real mayo. Also photographs beautifully on the floor.

Low Carb Jack In The Box Double Jack (No Bun)
My Low Carb Jack In The Box Double Jack (No Bun)

This was the best of my three low carb lunch entrees at Jack in the Box. The patties were grilled to the perfect tenderness and the vegetables were crips and fresh. See the rest of my low carb & keto Jack in the Box orders.

Honorable Mention: Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese (No Bun)

It’s really hard to pick between the different bunless burgers so I wanted to point out that bunless Burger King’s Double Whopper is also really good. It deserves honorable mention.

Low carb Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese and no bun.
Those grease spots on the bag aren’t from my low carb food. I assure you.

The Double Whopper comes with two beef patties, lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles, and onions. It has 670 calories and 8 net carbs.

Want to see more even low carb and keto fast food lunch options? Check out all my free low carb fast food guides here.

Low Carb Fast Food Lunch: 5 Quick Tips

After visiting 30 of the top low carb fast food restaurants in the United States and ordering 100+ different low carb lunch entrees, here are the lessons learned:

  1. Bunless burgers offer the best value with the lowest carb counts and highest calories. You can special order a bunless burger from almost every fast food restaurant.
  2. Tex Mex salads with meat, cheese, and sour cream are great options at places like Taco Bell and Chipotle that don’t serve burgers.
  3. Fast food bacon is generally over-priced and over-cooked such that much of the fat content is removed and it becomes light on calories. An extra all beef patty is a better add-on if you’re looking to increase calories and protein.
  4. Most bunless grilled chicken sandwiches and grilled chicken salads are fools good. They look appetizing but are too low calorie to fill you up and are far more expensive (per calorie) than bunless burgers.
  5. Have a backup order ready. Sometimes online menus don’t match what’s available at your fast food joint. Have a back up order ready to go so that you don’t get flustered if your first option isn’t available.

Those five tips should help your low carb fast food lunch orders. Now let’s look at how I did my research.

Low Carb Fast Food Lunch: The Research

I wrote this post after visiting 25+ different fast food joints and trying 100+ low carb fast food lunch entrees.

Before writing my post, I researched the most popular articles popping up in Google and found one generic post which talks about 14 low carb fast foods but has no pictures.

This high-ranking keto fast food roundup has some low carb lunch ideas but no commentary on actual orders.

Based on this research, I decided that low carb dieters might want a low carb fast food lunch guide with macros and photos of actual orders.

What’s Next

If you want to get my next fast food guide then please sign up here:

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You’ll get a fast food guide for every place I visit and I’ll report back with final results for how this fast food challenge affects my health, well-being, and bank account. And you’ll get some simple low carb recipes and other tips from me for all the times you’re not eating in a fast food joint.

Mr. SkinnyPants

8 thoughts on “Low Carb Fast Food Lunch Guide for Beginners”

  1. This is wonderful!!! I’m only a few weeks into a low carb diet and this really helps. I’m low income and handicapped. some times I’m just can’t manage cooking after appts. all day. Thank you for helping me. Debbie

  2. I just want to say Thank You for doing all the work for us. Now I can go to the places that I love to eat at and get low carb! I have found a place here in Lynchburg Virginia that has an awesome low carb menu. Thanks again for your help!

  3. Nutraburst Review – 10 Things You Need to Know
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  4. I recommend single serve olive oil packets for travel. You can use far less dressing (and sketchy additives) and pump up the good fat. I use this all the time ~ with chicken entrees, salads etc. Check it out!

  5. You might want to update this menu. It’s too pre-covid. Have you been to a fast food restaurant lately? KFC hasn’t served grilled chicken in a while. Lettuce problems (supply and germs) prevent fast food restaurants from serving anything but small pieces of it. No wraps. McDonalds carries no salads at all. And no grilled chicken either.


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