You pull out your phone to check the time. 5 minutes until lunch. The next 5 minutes are spent walking through a bunch of “what if” scenarios in your head:

  1. You could drive 25 minutes home, enjoy your 5 minutes of free time (lunch), then rush to your car for the return drive back to work.
  2. You could stop at a local grocery store, pick up sandwich ingredients, come back to work, assemble your sandwich and store the leftovers in the lunch room.
  3. You could go through the drive-thru at McDonalds, come back to work, and get caught up while you scarf down your meal.

We wrote this post for times you choose the third option. Nearly everybody has a natural hesitation and sense of guilt they experience when they order fast food. You know you could be making a healthier choice, but still, you allow yourself to indulge on the convenience.

There’s nothing wrong with using fast food strategically as long as you’re familiar with both the upside (convenience) and the downside (see below).

The purpose of this article is to  highlight fast food meals high in protein  and steer the reader away from empty calories. You may be surprised how many different fast food orders will fit into your diet.

By the end of this article the reader will have all of the information necessary to make healthier choices when ordering fast food.

Table of Contents

Why Fast Food Sucks

Fast food restaurants toe the line between food quality and affordability just enough to avoid trouble. This is a concerning contrast between your own intentions of finding a high quality food source.

Fast food typically lacks fiber, contains a lot of sodium, and is micro-nutrient deficient. Not to mention the quality of ingredients are highly questionable.

On top of all this it’s not very satiating. You will probably be hungry again soon after completing your meal.

Like most things in life you will probably be fine if you moderate. Regardless, we felt responsible to include this disclaimer.

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde


5 Tricks To Instantly Make Any Order Healthier

JamieOliver_FrenchFries
Jamie Oliver does not approve. Taken from Episode 3 of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Image source.

Before we dive in the data we want to share 5 high impact tips you can apply to any order, anywhere, to enjoy a healthier meal.

The secret to eating healthier is to  avoid empty calories.  Empty calories are foods consisting primarily of solid fats and added sugars. These foods provide energy (calories) but very little nutritional benefit (protein, vitamins, etc). Example: chocolate bar, donuts, cake.

The average fast food restaurant is home to dozens of menu items made up of empty calories. We found hundreds of empty calorie menu items in our research. Avoid ordering empty calories and you will instantly make your order considerably healthier:

  1. Skip the soda. Choose a diet drink if you refuse to lose the bubbles but don’t want the calories and carbs that come with them. Substituting a medium coke for a diet alternative (or water) saves you 200 calories (55 carbohydrates).
  2. Forget the fries. Leaving medium fries out of your next order saves you 340 empty calories (16g fat, 4g protein, 44g carbohydrates) – that’s pretty significant.
  3. Choose your salad dressing carefully. Wendy’s offers 5 different salad dressings ranging from 90 calories to 220 calories… those are empty calories coming exclusively from the dressing.
  4. Remove toppings you don’t love. The biggest impact on most sandwiches can be found removing mayo. Taking mayo off of a Wendy’s burger saves 60 calories and 6g fat. Just like that.
  5. Choose the chicken. 9 out of the 10 highest protein fast food meals (shown below) contain chicken as their primary ingredient. Grilled chicken is especially low calorie, if you’re looking for that kind of thing.

That’s 820 calories in tips. Using tips 1, 2, and 4 cuts 600 calories (22g fat, 4g protein, 99g carbohydrates) from your order at Wendy’s. Not to mention the money you save by choosing a “sandwich only” option instead of a combo.

The food items used in these examples: McDonalds medium Coke, McDonalds medium fries.


Finding The Food: How We Did It

Minion_Research
Real photo taken of the author in action.

Our mission was to find the highest protein fast food across all of the most popular fast restaurants across the United States and Canada.

We collected our data by copying publicly available nutritional information (specifically calories & macro-nutrients; fats, carbohydrates, protein) from the most popular fast food franchises into a master spreadsheet. The “protein (g) per 100 calories” metric was then added to help identify the meals most dense in protein.

It was interesting seeing how the public nutritional information varied from company to company. For example, Wendy’s includes salad dressing and croutons in their salad calculations, while KFC does not. Considering salad dressings can add over 300 calories to a salad – often blindly considered a healthy low calorie item – information like this is vital.

Taco Bell makes a point of showing a huge number of variations (chicken/steak/beef/veggies) for a large part of their 100+ item menu which we imagine is very helpful for the curious dieter, but very unfortunate for the person manually entering all of those items into a spreadsheet.

It is important to  seek out the fine print when relying on nutritional information you perceive as accurate. We’ve included the fine print for all of our research in this article (to our knowledge) and will mention these details when relevant throughout this page.

There are a few ways the data in this post could prove inaccurate:

  1. Author error. Manually copying nutritional information for over 700 menu items from 10+ different websites all with different layouts and font sizes could result in a couple typos. If you see one, please point it out so we can fix it immediately.
  2. Server error. Many new-age fast food chains are adopting an under-promise, over-deliver type policy. This tends to result in generous portion sizes being given with good intent by your server, but the nutritional information provided by the company doesn’t represent the extra generosity.

We’ve gone over our research and checked it twice but we are still human. Trust us at your own risk.

 Top 10 Fast Food Meals Highest in Protein

Top 10 Fast Food Protein

IMPORTANT - Error in Subway Data
Mistakes were made. We copied “weight (g)” instead of “calories” for a lot of Subway products. It is safe to assume this means all of our Subway calculations are inaccurate. Please ignore them while we run around and fix them. Thanks /u/Auntfanny on Reddit for the eagle eyes!
  1. Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken + Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette by McDonalds. 305 calories, 10.5g fat, 23g carbs, 32g protein/10.49g per 100 calories.
  2. Grilled Chicken BLT Salad + Light Italian Dressing by Dairy Queen. 400 calories, 20g fat, 11g carbs, 42g protein/10.5g per 100 calories.
  3. Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap by Chic-Fil-A. 340 calories, 13g fat, 30g carbs, 36g protein/10.58g per 100 calories.
  4. Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken +Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette by McDonalds. 345 calories, 15.5g fat, 14g carbs, 38g protein/11g per 100 calories.
  5. Original Recipe Chicken Breast by KFC. 320 calories, 14g fat, 13g carbs, 37g protein/11.56g per 100 calories.
  6. 6″ Steak, Egg, and Cheese Breakfast Sub by Subway. 216 calories, 15g fat, 47 carbs, 28g protein/96g per 100 calories.
  7. Grilled Chicken Garden Greens Salad+ Light Italian Dressing by Dairy Queen. 170 calories, 3g fat, 10g carbs, 23g protein/13.5g per 100 calories.
  8. Blackened Tenders (3 pieces) by Popeyes. 170 calories, 2g fat, 2g carbs, 26g protein/15.3g per 100 calories.
  9. Grilled Nuggets (8 pieces) by Chic-Fil-A.140 calories, 3g fat, 4g carbs, 23g protein/16.6g per 100 calories.
  10. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast (1 piece) by KFC. 220 calories, 7g fat, 0g carbs, 40g protein/18.2g per 100 calories.

Here is some fine print we want to bring to your attention regarding some items purposely left out of this list:

  • Our data shows that KFC’s Original Recipe Chicken Breast without skin or breading should be #1. Because we couldn’t find any information (pictures, reviews, comments… anything) on this item outside of the restaurant’s nutrition sheet we left it out.
  • KFC’s Kentucky Grilled Chicken Drumstick, Kentucky Grilled Chicken Whole Wing, and Kentucky Grilled Thigh would have all placed in the top 5, but were left out for sake of avoiding redundancy. KFC’s grilled chicken is high in protein. We get it.
  • We also excluded Subway’s 6″ Black Forest Ham, Egg and Cheese breakfast sandwich, as well as their 6″ Egg and Cheese sandwich for this same reason. They would have placed 7th and 8th respectively.
  • Chipotle’s 4oz chicken, 4oz steak, 4oz barbacoa, and 4oz carnitas were left out because they are just ingredients. That said the least protein dense out of them (carnitas) provides 10.95g protein per 100 calories. Good stuff.
  • Finally, all the salads have had dressings added to their totals by us. This can be deceiving because we used the lowest calorie dressing for each salad. When you order a “Premium Bacon Ranch” salad you expect ranch dressing, not low fat balsamic vinaigrette. Please note the dressing specified in each of the salads listed to avoid confusion.
  • Because we added the lowest calorie dressing to the restaurant items which don’t already add dressings to their nutritional information (Dairy Queen, McDonalds) it may be unfair that the restaurants that naturally include dressing (Wendys, Burger King) are left out for honestly including their natural dressing instead of handpicking the lowest calorie dressing. Keep this in mind.

Bonus: Top 3 Healthy Fast Food Breakfast Spots

  1. Subway. We found 8 breakfast items on Subway’s menu and 6 of them contain greater than 6.2 gram of protein per 100 calories. The other 2 items aren’t far off at 5.9g, and 5.7g per 100 calories.
  2. Tim Hortons. Canadian’s rejoice! Tim Horton’s has 7 breakfast items with 6 grams of protein per 100 calories or greater. Choose anything with egg white and turkey sausage for highest protein per calorie ratio.
  3. McDonalds. It should be noted there is a pretty big gap between McDonalds and the previously mentioned restaurants. After Subway/Tim Hortons the list begins to bounce around across many different restaurants without much consistency. The Egg White Delight McMuffin and the Steak, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin are the 2 items 6g protein/100 calories on the McDonalds breakfast menu.

High Protein Fast Food Near You

Graph

This graph shows the amount of menu items from each fast food restaurant that contain 5.95 grams of protein per 100 calories or more. Follow the X axis left to right while reading the legend to get an idea of how each restaurant scored.

It should be noted that this graph favors restaurants with a large menu because it does not reveal how many low protein options each restaurants offers.

For example, McDonalds scored a 14 but has nearly 50 menu items low in protein. In-N-Out scored only a 2, but has a menu of only 10 items. Therefore this graph offers insight into how many high protein options a restaurant offers but not an overall idea into the average amount of protein per menu item.

The Best High Protein Fast Food For your Diet

To give you a better idea of what high protein options are available we’ve highlighted the best high protein orders from the most popular fast food restaurants across the United States.

These selections were made by taking the data presented above and sorting by highest protein (grams) per 100 calories. We then chose a low calorie/high protein option for weight loss, and a high calorie/high protein option for weight gain.

Choosing items that qualified as “high calorie” and “low calorie” was a completely subjective process made relative to each menu. There was no global number used to define “high” or “low” across all of the restaurants.

Here are the highest protein fast food meals you can order across the country:

Burger King

BurgerKing_Logo

Burger King

Fine print:

  • Burger King includes dressing and croutons in their salad nutrition calculations.
  • You cut 140 calories and 15g fat off of a Whopper sandwich by asking for no mayo.
  • You can cut 180 calories and 19g fat from the Big Fish sandwich by removing tartar sauce.

High Protein Burger King Orders

Burger King offers 8 menu items high in protein.

BK_Chicken Caesar SAlad TenderGrill

Best low calorie order from Burger King: Chicken Caesar Salad with TenderGrill and Dressing

  • Calories: 450
  • Fats: 27g
  • Carbs: 20g
  • Protein: 35g

BK_A1 Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

Best high calorie order from Burger King: A.1. Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger

  • Calories: 810
  • Fats: 49g
  • Carbs: 41g
  • Protein: 49g

Honorable mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Chicken BLT Salad with TenderGrill and Dressing (450 calories, 29g fats, 33g protein)
  2. A.1. Hearty Mozzarella Bacon Cheeseburger (800 calories, 48g fats, 42g carbs, 52g protein)
  3. Chicken Strips (5pc) (570 calories, 28g fats, 44g carbs, 36g protein)
  4. Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap (Grilled) (340 calories, 16g fats, 33g carbs, 21g protein)
  5. Ranch Grilled Chicken Wrap (310 calories, 16g fats, 21g carbs, 19g protein)
  6. Extra Long Pulled Pork (420 calories, 10g fats, 48g carbs, 25g protein)

Chic-Fil-A

ChicFilA_logo

Chic-Fil-A

Fine print:

  • We could not find out if Chic-Fil-A includes dressing in their salad nutrition calculations. We could not find any information about this on their website.
  • Chic-Fil-A’s salad dressings range from 310 calories (Avocado Lime Ranch) to 25 calories (Light Italian Dressing).
  • The only other dressing under 100 calories is Fat Free Honey Mustard.
  • There are two other dressings under 200 calories: Honey Sesame and Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette.

High Protein Chic-Fil-A Orders

Chic-Fil-A has 15 menu items high in protein.

ChicFilA_grilled nuggets

Best low calorie order from Chic-Fil-A: Grilled Nuggets (8 pieces)

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 3g
  • Carbs: 4g
  • Protein: 23g

ChickfilA_ChicknStrips

Best high calorie order from Chic-Fil-A: Chick-n-Strips (4 pieces)

  • Calories: 470
  • Fat: 24
  • Carbs: 21
  • Protein: 43g

Honorable mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Chicken Cool Wrap (340 calories, 13g fats, 30g carbs, 36g protein)
  2. Nuggets (8pc) (270 calories, 13g fat, 10g carbs, 28g protein)
  3. Grilled Market Salad with Light Italian Dressing (225 calories, 6.5g fats, 20g carbs, 23g protein)
  4. Grilled Chicken Sandwich (320 calories, 5g fats, 40g carbs, 30g protein)
  5. Grilled Chicken Club (440 calories, 14g fats, 41g carbs, 38g protein)
  6. Cobb Salad with Light Italian Dressing (455 calories, 23.5g fats, 25g carbs, 39g protein)
  7. Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup (Medium) (140 calories, 2.5g fats, 18g carbs, 12g protein)
  8. Asian Salad with Light Italian Dressing (355 calories, 14.5g fats, 27g carbs, 29g protein)
  9. Chicken Salad Cup (360 calories, 24g fats, 7g carbs, 28g protein)
  10. Chicken Deluxe Sandwich (500 calories, 23g fats, 43g carbs, 32g protein)
  11. Chicken Sandwich (440 calories, 18g fats, 41g carbs, 28g protein)
  12. Spicy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich (570 calories, 27g fats, 47g carbs, 35g protein)
  13. Spicy Chicken Sandwich (490 calories, 21g fats, 45g carbs, 30g protein)

Chipotle

Chipotle_logojpg

Chipotle

Fine print:

  • The burrito tortilla (300 calories, 10g fat, 56g carbs, 7g protein) should be avoided on low calorie diets.
  • Tacos (210-255 calories for 3g-6g of protein) are about this same.
  • The burrito bowl appears to be the key to eating healthy at Chipotle.

Because Chipotle is a DIY meal, we need your help to complete this section! Please let us know in the comments what your favorite high protein Chipotle combination is.

Dairy Queen

DQ_logo

Dairy Queen

 

Fine print:

  • Dairy Queen does not include dressings in their salad nutrition calculations.
  • Dairy Queen has 2 salad dressing options under 100 calories: Marzetti Light Ranch and Marzetti Light Italian.
  • The rest of DQ’s dressings are all 210 calories (1) or under (4)

High Protein Dairy Queen Orders:

Dairy Queen has 7 menu items high in protein.

DQ_ChickenBaconBBQMelt

Best low calorie order from Dairy Queen: Chicken Bacon BBQ Melt

  • Calories: 280
  • Fat: 11g
  • Carbs: 29g
  • Protein: 17g

DQ_OriginalDoubleCheeseburger

Best high calorie order from Dairy Queen: Original Double Cheeseburger

  • Calories: 580
  • Fat: 34g
  • Carbs: 35g
  • Protein: 37g

Honorable mentions: 

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Grilled Chicken Garden Greens Salad with Marzetti Light Italian Dressing (170 calories, 3g fats, 10g carbs, 23g protein)
  2. Grilled Chicken BLT Salad with Marzetti Light Italian Dressing (400 calories, 20g fats, 11g carbs, 42g protein)
  3. Crispy Chicken BLT Salad with Marzetti Light Italian Dressing (540 calories, 31g fats, 26g carbs, 37g protein)
  4. 3 Chicken Strips (350 calories, 20g fats, 22g carbs, 22g protein)
  5. Chicken Quesadilla Snack Melt (280 calories, 13g fats, 25g carbs, 17g protein)

Five Guys

FiveGuys_logo

Five Guys

Fine print:

  • Five Guys has 0 menu items that meet our previously established definition of “high protein” (5.95g per 100 calories or greater).
  • You should not eat at Five Guys if your goal is to lose weight (unless it’s your cheat day).
  • The Five Guys Cheeseburger has a protein (g) to 100 calorie ratio of 5.6 – a number that is still appealing to readers looking to gain weight.

High Protein Five Guys Orders:

Five Guys has 0 high protein orders. See the fine print above for details.

FiverGuys_Cheeseburger

Best high calorie order from Five Guys: Cheeseburger

  • Calories: 840
  • Fat: 55g
  • Carbs: 40g
  • Protein: 47g

It’s really your call between this (Cheeseburger, 5.59g protein per 100 calories) and the Bacon Cheeseburger (5.54g protein per 100 calories).

No honorable mentions.

IN-N-Out

InNOut_logo

In-N-Out

Fine Print: 

  • The featured Double Double with Onion below swaps the In-N-Out “spread” for mustard and ketchup to cut back on empty calories.
  • “Protein Style” means replacing the bun for a lettuce wrap.
  • In-N-Out does not have a high protein low calorie option. The highest protein per 100 calories on any item 400 calories or lower is the Cheeseburger with Onion, with spread swapped for ketchup and mustard.

High Protein In-N-Out Orders

In-N-Out has 1 high protein menu item, and 1 variation of that item. In-N-Out, like Five Guys, does not have a high protein low calorie option.

InNOut_DoubleDobule

Best order from In-N-Out: Double Double with Onion (Mustard and Ketchup instead of Spread)

  • Calories: 590
  • Fat: 32g
  • Carbs: 41g
  • Protein: 37g

Honorable Mention:

  • Double Double with Onion [Protein Style] (520 calories, 39g fats, 11g carbs, 33g protein]

KFC

KFC_logo

KFC

Fine print:

  • KFC’s salad nutrition calculations do not include dressing or croutons
  • KFC has 2 dressings under 100 calories: Hidden Valley Ranch (35) and Marzetti Light Italian (15), and 2 dressings over 100 calories: Heinz Buttermilk (160) and Creamy Parmesan Caesar (260)

High Protein KFC Orders:

It is difficult to say how many high protein menu items KFC has because many of them are basic variations. Breast, thigh, drumstick, etc.

We will say KFC has 11 high protein menu items, but include all the variation in the honorable mention section below.

KFC_GrilledChickenBreast

Best low calorie order from KFC: Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast

  • Calories: 220
  • Fat: 7g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 40g

KFC_ExtraCrispyChickenBreast

Best high calorie order from KFC: Extra Crispy Chicken Breast

  • Calories:490
  • Fat: 29g
  • Carbs: 20g
  • Protein: 35g

Honorable mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Original Recipe Chicken Breast without Skin or Breading (130 calories, 2g fats, 0g carbs, 29g protein)
  2. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast (220 calories, 7g fats, 0g carbs, 40g protein)
  3. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Drumstick (90 calories, 7g fats, 0g carbs, 13g protein)
  4. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Whole Wing (80 calories, 4.5g fat, 0g carbs, 10g protein)
  5. Original Recipe Chicken Breast (320 calories, 14g fats, 13g carbs, 37g protein)
  6. Kentucky Grilled Chicken Thigh (170 calories, 10g fats, 0g carbs, 19g protein)
  7. Original Recipe Chicken Drumstick (120 calories, 7g fats, 3g carbs, 11g protein)
  8. Extra Crispy Tender (130 calories, 7g fats, 6g carbs, 11g protein)
  9. Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad with Marzetti Light Italian Dressing (345 calories, 17.5g fats, 18g carbs, 29g protein)
  10. Crispy Chicken BLT Salad with Marzetti Light Italian Dressing (365 calories, 18.5g fats, 20g carbs, 30g protein)
  11. Extra Crispy Chicken Drumstick (160 calories, 10g fats, 5g carbs, 13g protein)
  12. Original Recipe Chicken Whole Wing (140 calories, 8g fat, 5g carbs, 11g protein)
  13. Honey BBQ Sandwich (320 calories, 3.5g fat, 47g carbs, 24g protein)
  14. Spicy Crispy Chicken Drumstick (150 calories, 10g fats, 5g carbs, 11g protein)
  15. KFC Livers (150 calories, 8g fats, 8g carbs, 11g protein)
  16. Extra Crispy Chicken Breast (490 calories, 29g fats, 20g carbs, 35g protein)
  17. KFC Gizzards (190 calories, 11g fats, 11g carbs, 13g protein)
  18. Original Recipe Chicken Thigh (290 calories, 21g fats, 8 g carbs, 18g protein)
  19. Kentucky Baked Beans (Individual) (230 calories, 1.5g fats, 39g carbs, 14g protein)

McDonalds

McDonalds_logo

McDonalds

Fine print:

  • McDonalds has 2 salad dressing under 100 calories: Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (35) and Newman’s Own Low Fat Italian Dressing (50). The other 2 dressings are Creamy Southwest dressing (120) and Ranch (200), both of the Newman’s Own brand.

High Protein McDonalds Orders

McDonalds has 14 high protein menu items.

McDonalds_ArtisianChickenSandwich

Best low calorie order from McDonalds: Artisian Grilled Chicken Sandwich

  • Calories: 360
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbs: 43g
  • Protein: 33g

McDonalds_DblQuarterPounderWithCheese

Best high calorie order from McDonalds: Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese

  • Calories: 780
  • Fat: 45g
  • Carbs: 43g
  • Protein: 50g

Honorable Mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken [Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette] (345 calories, 15.5g fats, 14g carbs, 38g protein)
  2. Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken [Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette] (305 calories, 10.5g fats, 23g carbs, 32g protein)
  3. Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken [Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette] (365 calories, 12.5g fats, 31g carbs, 33g protein)
  4. Premium McWrap Chicken and Bacon [Grilled] (500 calories, 19g fats, 41g carbs, 41g protein)
  5. Premium McWrap Sweet Chili Chicken [Grilled] (400 calories, 10g fats, 46g carbs, 31g protein)
  6. Premium McWrap Chicken and Ranch [Grilled] (470 calories 19g fats, 41g carbs, 35g protein)
  7. Premium Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich (610 calories, 26g fats, 50g carbs, 45g protein)
  8. Egg White Delight McMuffin (250 calories, 8g fats, 30g carbs, 18g protein)
  9. Ranch Snack Wrap [Grilled] (290 calories, 13g fats, 25g carbs, 19g protein)
  10. Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Buttermilk Crispy Chicken [Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette] (525 calories, 31.5g fats, 31g carbs, 34g protein)
  11. Bacon McDouble (460 calories, 23g fats, 34g carbs, 28g protein)
  12. Steak, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin (430 calories, 23g fats, 31g carbs, 26g protein)

Popeyes

Popeyes_logo

Popeyes

Fine print:

  • We did not include all of Popeyes’ sides. Some weren’t worth considering.

High Protein Popeyes Orders

Popeyes, like KFC and Subway, has many variations of high protein menu items we will highlight in the honorable mentions. Not counting these variations, Popeyes has 5 high protein menu items.

Popeyes_blackenedtenders

Best low calorie order at Popeyes: Blackened Chicken Tenders (3 pieces)

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Protein: 26g

Popeyes_BonafideChicken

Best high calorie order at Popeyes: Bonafide Mild Chicken Breast (1 piece)

  • Calories: 440
  • Fat: 27g
  • Carbs: 16g
  • Protein: 35g

Honorable mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Spicy Tenders (3pc) (310 calories, 15g fats, 16g carbs, 28g protein)
  2. Bonafide Mild Chicken – Leg (1pc) (160 calories, 9g fats, 5g carbs, 14g protein)
  3. Bonafide Milkd Chicken – Breast (1pc) (440 calories, 27g fats, 16g carbs, 35g protein)
  4. Mild Tenders (3pc) (340 calories, 14g fats, 26g carbs, 27g protein)
  5. Bonafide Spicy Chicken – Breast (1pc) (420 calories, 27g fats, 13g carbs, 33g protein)
  6. Bonafide Spicy Chicken – Leg (1pc) (170 calories, 10g fats, 5g carbs, 13g protein)
  7. Blackened BBQ Chicken Po’ Boy (340 calories, 7g fats, 49g carbs, 24g protein)
  8. Bonafide Milk Chicken – Wing (1pc) (210 calories, 14g fat, 8g carbs, 13g protein)
  9. Bonafide Spicy Chicken – Wing (1pc) (210 calories, 14g fats, 8g carbs, 13g protein)
  10. Shrimp Po’ Boy (690 calories, 42g fats, 66 carbs, 42g protein)

Starbucks

Starbucks_logo

Starbucks

Fine print:

  • Not a lot of protein to be found at Starbucks. Only 6 items 5g (protein) per 100 calories.
  • We didn’t include any bakery items in our research. They are very low in protein with exception to the Asiago and Cheddar Pretzel.
  • The “Protein Bistro Box” actually has 2g less protein than the “Cheese and Fruit Bistro Box”, but also has 10g less fat and 5g less carbs.

High Protein Starbucks Orders

Starbucks has 2 menu items that meet our criteria of high protein. We included the Chicken Santa Fe Panini, which measures in at 5.94g protein per 100 calories, to make it 3 items.

Starbucks_ChickenSantaFePaninni

Best low calorie order at Starbucks: Chicken Santa Fe Panini

  • Calories: 370
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbs: 45g
  • Protein: 22g

Starbucks_TurkeyRustico

Best high calorie order at Starbucks: Turkey Rustico Panini

  • Calories: 480
  • Fat: 18g
  • Carbs: 53g
  • Protein: 33g

Honorable Mention:

  • Spinach, Feta, and Egg White Breakfast Wrap (290 calories, 10g fats, 33g carbs, 19g protein)

Subway

IMPORTANT - Error in Subway Data
Mistakes were made. We copied “weight (g)” instead of “calories” for a lot of Subway products. It is safe to assume this means all of our Subway calculations are inaccurate. Please ignore them while we run around and fix them. Thanks /u/Auntfanny on Reddit for the eagle eyes!

Subway_logo

Subway

Fine print:

  • Sandwich nutrition values include 9-Grain Wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and cucumbers. Values do not include cheese unless noted.
  • Italian and Herbs is the highest calories bread (250 for 6″) while Italian White is the lowest (200 calories per 6″)
  • Top 3 highest calorie toppings: Mayo (110), Chipotle Southwest sauce (100), and Ranch (100). The next highest is Pepperoni at 80 calories.

High Protein Subway Orders:

Subway, like KFC, makes it difficult to pin point exactly how many high protein menu items they have because of the huge number of variations. We counted 13 high protein menu items, but will list all of the variations.

Subway_6inchClub

Best low calorie order from Subway: 6″ Subway Club

  • Calories: 310
  • Fat: 4.5g
  • Carbs: 46g
  • Protein: 23g

Subway_12inchRoastBeef

Best high calorie order from Subway: 12″ Roast Beef

  • Calories: 640
  • Fat: 10g
  • Carbs: 90g
  • Protein: 48g

Honorable mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. 6″ Steak, Egg, and Cheese (216 calories, 25g fat, 47g carbs, 28 protein)
  2. 6″ Black Forest Ham, Egg, and Cheese (202 calories, 13g fats, 45g carbs, 24 protein)
  3. 6″ Egg and Cheese (174 calories, 12g fats, 44g carbs, 19g protein)
  4. 12″ Black Forest Ham (434 calories, 9g fats, 92g carbs, 36g protein)
  5. 6″ Monterey Chicken Melt (360 calories, 8g fats, 45g carbs, 28g protein)
  6. 6″ Roast Beef (320 calories, 5g fats, 45g carbs, 28g protein)
  7. 12″ Subway Club (310 calories, 4.5g fats, 46g carbs, 23g protein)
  8. 12″ Oven Roasted Chicken (640 calories, 10g fats, 94g carbs, 46g protein)
  9. 6″ Oven Roasted Chicken (320 calories, 5g fats, 47 g carbs, 23g protein)
  10. 6″ Steak, Egg White, and Cheese (390 calories, 10g fats, 47g carbs, 28g protein)
  11. Roast Beef Mini Sub (200 calories, 3g fats, 30g carbs, 14g protein)
  12. 6″ Egg White and Cheese with Ham (350 calories, 9g fats, 45g carbs, 24g protein)
  13. 12″ Steak and Cheese (760 calories, 20g fats, 96g carbs, 52g protein)
  14. 6″ Steak and Cheese (380 calories, 10g fats, 48g carbs, 26g protein)
  15. 6″ Turkey Breast and Ham (280 calories, 4g fats, 46g carbs, 19g protein)
  16. 12″ Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (740 calories, 9g fats, 114 carbs, 50g protein)
  17. 6″ Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki (370 calories, 4.5g fats, 57g carbs, 25g protein)
  18. 12″ Turkey Breast (560 calories, 7g fats, 92g carbs, 36g protein)
  19. 12″ Turkey Breast and Black Forest Ham (560 calories, 8g fats, 92g carbs, 36g protein)
  20. 6″ Turkey Breast (280 calories, 3.5g fats, 46g carbs, 18g protein)
  21. 6″ Bacon, Egg White, and Cheese (370 calories, 11g fats, 45g carbs, 23g protein)
  22. 6″ Subway Melt (Includes Cheese) (370 calories, 11g fats, 47g carbs, 23g protein)
  23. 6″ Black Forest Ham (290 calories, 4.5g fats, 46g carbs, 18g protein)
  24. 12″ Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt (Includes Cheese) (1140 calories, 56g fats, 94g carbs, 70 protein)
  25. 6″ Chicken and Bacon Ranch Melt (Includes Cheese) (570 calories, 28g fats, 47g carbs, 35g protein)

Taco Bell

TacoBell_logo

Taco Bell

Fine print:

  • Taco Bell has a “Fresco” line of items which have 350 calories or less and are under 10g of fat.
  • Fresco style items are available for most standard items.
  • Asking for Fresco style means mayo based sauces/guac/sour cream/cheese is replaced with pico de gallo (salsa).

High Protein Taco Bell Orders

Taco Bell has 7 menu items high in protein.

TacoBell_FrescoSoftTacoSteak

Best low calorie order from Taco Bell: Fresco Soft Taco (Steak)

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 4g
  • Carbs: 16g
  • Protein: 12g

TacoBell_CantinoPowerChickenBowl

Best high calorie order from Taco Bell: Cantina Power Bowl (Chicken)

  • Calories: 490
  • Fat: 20g
  • Carbs: 49g
  • Protein: 29g

Honorable Mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Soft Taco [Chicken] (160 calories, 5g fats, 16g carbs, 12g protein)
  2. Fresco Soft Taco [Shredded Chicken] (140 calories, 3.5g fats, 16g carbs, 12g protein)
  3. Quesarito [Steak] (360 calories, 31g fats, 63g carbs, 25g protein)
  4. Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla (180 calories, 8g fats, 15g carbs, 12g protein)
  5. Gordita Supreme [Chicken] (260 calories, 9g fats, 30g carbs, 17g protein)
  6. Soft Taco [Grilled Steak] (200 calories, 10g fats, 16g carbs, 13g protein)
  7. Gordita Supreme [Steak] (270 calories, 10g fats, 29g carbs, 17g protein)
  8. Cantina Power Burrito [Chicken] (450 calories, 19g fats, 43g carbs, 28g protein)
  9. Cantina Power Burrito [Steak] (470 calories, 21g fats, 47g carbs, 29g protein)

Tim Hortons

TimHortons_logo

Tim Hortons

High Protein Tim Hortons Orders

Tim Hortons has 11 high protein menu items.

TimHortons_RanchWrapSnacker

Best low calorie Tim Hortons order: Chicken Ranch Wrap Snacker

  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 6g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Protein: 12g

TimHortons_TuscanChickenPanini

Best high calorie Tim Horton’s order: Tuscan Chicken Paninni

  • Calories: 440
  • Fat: 16g
  • Carbs: 46g
  • Protein: 30g

Honorable Mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Multigrain Flatbread, Turkey Sausage, Egg White, Cheese [Breakfast] (280 calories, 11g fats, 27g carbs, 20g protein)
  2. English Muffin, Turkey Sausage, Egg White, Cheese [Breakfast] (280 calories, 9g fats, 20g protein)
  3. Turkey Sausage Egg, Cheese, Wrap [Breakfast] (260 calories, 10g fats, 23g carbs, 18g protein)
  4. Multigrain Flatbread, Turkey Sausage, Egg, Cheese [Breakfast] (330 calories, 16g fats, 28 carbs, 21g protein)
  5. Turkey Bacon Club Sandwich (410 calories, 11g fats, 53g carbs, 26g protein)
  6. Steak and Cheese Panini (460 calories, 17g fats, 48g carbs, 29g protein)
  7. Chili (290 calories, 16g fats, 20g carbs, 18g protein)
  8. Multigrain Flatbread, Bacon, Egg White, Cheese [Breakfast] (280 calories, 12g fats, 27g carbs, 17g protein)
  9. English Muffin, Bacon, Egg White, Cheese [Breakfast] (280 calories, 10g fats, 29g carbs, 17g protein)
  10. English Muffin, Turkey Sausage, Egg, Cheese (330 calories, 14g fats, 30g carbs, 20g protein)
  11. Chicken Salad Sandwich (330 calories, 9g fats, 45g carbs, 20g protein)
  12. Ham and Swiss Sandwich (380 calories, 11g fats, 48g carbs, 23g protein)

Wendy’s

Wendys_logo

Wendy's

Fine print:

  • Wendy’s does include dressing in their salad nutrition calculations. Very refreshing.
  • Ask for no mayo on your Baconator to save 60 calories (6g fat)
  • Ask for no ranch sauce on your Asiago Ranch Chicken Club to save 80 calories (9g fat, 1g carbs, 1g protein). Doing this bumps the protein per 100 calories up to 6.6 grams.

High Protein Wendy’s Orders

Wendy’s has 14 high protein menu items.

Wendys_GrilledChickenSandwich

Best low calorie order from Wendy’s: Grilled Chicken Sandwich

  • Calories: 350
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbs: 35g
  • Protein: 33g

Wendys_baconator

Best high calorie order from Wendy’s: Baconator

  • Calories: 960
  • Fat: 62g
  • Carbs: 41g
  • Protein: 60g

Honorable mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Asian Cashew Salad with Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette (Full Size) (380 calories, 14g fats, 32g carbs, 36g protein)
  2. Ultimate Chicken Grill (380 calories, 8g fats, 42g carbs, 35g protein)
  3. Large Rich and Meaty Chili (250 calories, 7g fats, 23g carbs, 23g protein)
  4. Small Rich and Meaty Chili (170 calories, 5g fats, 16g carbs, 15g protein)
  5. Strawberry Fields Chicken Salad with Apple Balsamic Vinaigrette (Full Size) (550 calories, 30g fats, 32g carbs, 42g protein)
  6. Grilled Chicken Wrap (270 calories, 10g fats, 24g carbs, 20g protein)
  7. BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad with BBQ Ranch Dressing (Full Size) (600 calories, 30g fats, 44g carbs, 42g protein)
  8. Dave’s Hot N’ Juicy 3/4lb Triple (1100 calories, 72g fat, 44g carbs, 73g protein)
  9. Double Stack (390 calories, 21g fat, 25g carbs, 25g protein)
  10. Apple Pecan Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing (Full Size) (590 calories, 27g fats, 52g carbs, 37g protein)
  11. Dave’s Hot N’ Juicy 1/2lb Double (830 calories, 51g fats, 43g carbs, 51g protein)
  12. Spicy Chicken Sandwich (520 calories, 20g fats, 54g carbs, 31g protein)

Whataburger

Whataburger_logo

Whataburger

High Protein Whataburger Orders

Whataburger has 6 high protein menu items.

Whataburger_ChickenFajitaTaco

Best low calorie order from Whataburger: Chicken Fajita Taco

  • Calories: 340
  • Fat: 12g
  • Carbs: 29g
  • Protein: 28g

Whataburger_TripleMeat

Best high calorie order from Whataburger: Triple Meat Whataburger

  • Calories: 1080
  • Fat: 63g
  • Carbs: 62g
  • Protein: 65g

Honorable Mentions:

Ranked by highest protein (g) per 100 calories.

  1. Grilled Chicken Melt (390 calories, 12g fats, 37g carbs, 32g protein)
  2. Grilled Chicken Sandwich (430 calories, 13g fats, 49g carbs, 35g protein)
  3. Garden Salad (160 calories, 10g fats, 10g carbs, 10g protein)
  4. Whatachick’n Bites (9pc) (540 calories, 27g fats, 43g carbs, 33g protein)

The Raw data

Here it is: the master spreadsheet of high protein fast food, sorted by highest protein (grams) per 100 calories.


Unfortunately Google Sheets does not allow us to embed sortable spreadsheets, so we’re left with a result that is a little awkward and uncomfortable. It should be noted that all measurements of carbs, fats, and protein are in grams (g).

We’re sending out copies of our master file, which includes the low carb sheet, and the high protein breakfast sheet, to all new subscribers to our email list. We email our subscribers once a week (at most) with a roundup of our new content.

Low Carb, High Protein Fast Food

We know there are a lot of people interested in low carb fast food options when they’re on the go. This table was made by deleting all items with more than 30g of carbohydrates right off the bat and then deleting all items with less than 6g protein per 100 calories.

As mentioned above, this sheet is included in the master file. Here’s what we got:


Sources

Click here to skip this section.

Nutritional information was taken from the official website for each respective restaurant:

Enjoy Your Meal

We hope you learned something new from our guide to high protein fast food. We’re openly accepting tips on any fast food hacks you’ve used to make your order healthier. Let us know in the comments below and we’ll edit the best contributions into this post.

You can share this article via the colorful social icons below this post. We are open to adding other popular fast food restaurants for the next week or so before we move onto another article. Leave a comment below with your favorite missing restaurant and we’ll take a look.

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