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What to Eat At Fast Food Restaurants When You’re On A Diet

Life is hard when you decide you need to stop eating bread every day. Like, really hard. Like, barely worth living. And sadly, that’s the decision I’ve made. I’m not quite going full blown paleo or following a specific diet, but I’m cutting back on carbs, refined sugar, and dairy during the week. I have been seriously struggling getting back into a gym routine post holidays, and gave myself the month of January to just mellow out — but my rule with myself is that it has to be at least one or the other: If I’m not working out I need to be eating right and if I’m not eating right I need to be working out. I’ve FINALLY made it to the gym three days in a row for the first time in forever, but until I can prove to myself that I’m really back at it, I’m restricting my diet AT LEAST Monday through Friday.

 

In the grand scheme of things, cutting carbs, sugar and dairy really isn’t that hard. I mean sure, it’s an adjustment. But once you get past that first week I think you realize that food is still enjoyable without noodles or between a bun.

 

The real struggle of dieting is when your options are limited to fast food chains for one reason or another.

 

Let’s get the obvious out of the way — if you’re trying to take more control of your nutrition and cut back on certain things, it’s best practice to prepare meals yourself. But if you’re busy, or lazy, or both like me, and you would pretty much rather be locked in a studio apartment with a rabid possum than meal prep every day, you’re probably going to find yourself in situations where fast food is the only option.

 

Plus no one wants to be that one person in a group of people that have finally decided where they’re going to eat that’s like “umm…actually I’m on a diet so…” They don’t care, Karen, and they’re hungry. So if you’re on a diet, it’s useful to know what you can get at fast food restaurants so you’re not the odd one out completely throwing everything off.

 

Here’s what you can eat at the major chains that won’t have you wallowing in self loathing for days after the fact:

 

McDonalds

 

Bacon ranch grilled chicken salad with no cheese

Southwest grilled chicken salad with no cheese or chips

 

Burger King

 

(Grilled) chicken garden salad, no croutons or cheese
(Grilled) chicken club sandwich, no croutons or cheese

 

Wendy’s

 

Parmesan chicken caesar salad (I honestly wouldn’t blame you if you kept the cheese on this one)

Southwest avocado chicken salad, no cheese

Taco salad, no chips or cheese

Apple pecan chicken salad

 

Taco Bell

 

Power bowl with no rice, beans, or cheese; add an extra meat/vegetable of your choice

 

Chipotle

 

Keto salad bowl

Paleo salad bowl

Whole 30 salad bowl

 

Chick-fil-A

 

Grilled chicken nuggets 

Cobb salad with grilled chicken

Spicy southwest salad, no croutons, chips or cheese

Market salad

 

Five Guys

 

Lettuce wrap or bowl substitute for bun, no cheese or mayo

 

Shake Shack

 

Lettuce wrap substitute for bun, no cheese or mayo

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