These high-protein fast food options can help you stick to your health goals when you’re on the go.
If you plan on sticking to specific nutrition goals when choosing a meal, fast food is probably not on your mind. However, fast food is sometimes the best option for us due to its accessibility, affordability, and ease of grabbing when you’re in a hurry. And thankfully, there are plenty of healthier, high-protein fast food options to choose from when you need them.
The following fast-food entrees are excellent protein sources essential for building and repairing lean muscle and keeping hunger at bay. In addition, protein helps get you full faster and longer, making it necessary to include it at every meal, not just post-workout.
But when it comes to getting enough protein in every meal, how much should we aim for? “Aim for 20-30 grams of high-quality protein at your three main meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
If you want to order a fast food meal, try one of the following high-protein options that can help you meet your protein goals for the day.
1. McDonald’s McDouble
The McDonald’s McDouble certainly isn’t considered “healthy,” but it is a delicious way to boost 22 grams of protein in your meal. Of course, the 9 grams of saturated fat could be better, considering the American Heart Association’s recommendation is around 13 grams daily. Still, this number is low compared to other McDonald’s sandwiches.
2. Burger King Double Cheeseburger
If Burger King is your fast food joint of choice, you have a few options for a higher protein meal. For instance, the BK Double Cheeseburger has 24 grams of protein per sandwich, which fits into Goodson’s recommendation of sticking between 20 and 30 grams per meal. However, because the saturated fat and sodium are decently high, you should skip the fries with this one.
3. Starbucks Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich
This Starbucks breakfast sandwich is a great high-protein fast food option because it’s lower in sodium, calories, total fat, and saturated fat than many other fast food sandwiches, so even though its 17 grams of protein falls just short of the recommended 20 grams, you’ll have some nutritional wiggle room to add some nuts or avocado on the side.
4. Arby’s Roast Beef Gyro
Arby’s is famous for its roast beef sandwiches, meaning many of its menu items are higher in saturated fat due to the amount of red meat used. However, we prefer this lighter Roast Beef Gyro. It still contains slightly more than half the daily recommended saturated fat intake, but with 3 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein, this fast food option will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
5. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich from Carl’s Jr.
It’s challenging to find a fast food meal with only one gram of saturated fat, especially when it also has 33 grams of protein. The amount of sodium in this Carl’s Jr. sandwich could be better (about half of the daily recommended max), but the calories, fat, and protein are hard to beat.
6. Chick-fil-A Grilled Market Salad
If a salad with plenty of protein and vegetables is the route you want to go, try the Chick-fil-A Market Salad with grilled chicken. Its 28 grams of protein will fill you up faster and for a longer time, but keep an eye on the total fat, sodium, and sugar content. These levels are a bit higher, but this salad is still a good choice when you need something quick, affordable, and high protein.
7. Subway Rotisserie-Style ‘No Bready’ Bowl
Subway is more than just a place for subs. They also have salads and protein bowls, which are great options if you want something healthier and more nutrient-dense. For example, this Rotisserie-Style Bowl offers up to 31 grams of protein for only 220 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat—something that is very hard to find at many fast food restaurants.
8. Chipotle Chicken Salad With Lettuce, Fajita Vegetables, & Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
It’s satisfying to go to Chipotle and load up on a burrito or burrito bowl with the exact ingredients you’re craving. Still, a healthier, high-protein option at this Tex-Mex restaurant is to go for a chicken salad. With 37 grams of protein, you’ll feel satiated and have enough energy to last the rest of the afternoon.
9. Taco Bell Burrito Supreme Chicken, $9.
Going to Taco Bell usually results in a Crunchwrap Supreme or Bacon Chalupa, but if you’re looking for something lighter, a Chicken Burrito Supreme can help. This one is just under the recommended 20 grams of protein per meal, but you can add a side of black beans and rice for four extra grams and a fiber boost.
10. Wendy’s Southwest Avocado Salad
Wendy’s Southwest Avocado Salad is a filling option for those who want bacon and chicken and want to eat some vegetables. The 9 grams of saturated fat could be better, but with 39 grams of protein and a fiber boost of 6 grams, this salad is a good option next time you find yourself at Wendy’s.
11. Panera Deli Turkey Sandwich
Panera is known for its enormous menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads—ranging from healthy to unhealthy. When looking for a high-protein fast food meal that isn’t going to break the saturated fat bank, the Deli Turkey Sandwich is an easy choice.
12. KFC Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast With Green Beans
Many KFC lovers may need to realize there is more than fried chicken, biscuits, and mashed potatoes at this fast-food joint. However, if you need something lighter that yields protein punch, you can opt for their grilled chicken breast with green beans.
13. Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich
If you enjoy Chick-fil-A but need more time for their Market Salad, their Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a healthier alternative. With almost 30 grams of protein and only 2 grams of saturated fat, you’ll satisfy your cravings while simultaneously being able to stick to your health goals.
14. Boston Market Quarter White Meat Rotisserie Chicken With Steamed Vegetables
Boston Market may not be as appealing as a McDonald’s or Chick-fil-A but notice this fast food establishment. Their extensive menu offers plenty of healthier alternatives—including the Quarter White Meat Rotisserie Chicken with a side of vegetables.
Learn more: Crockpot BBQ Pulled Chicken Recipe