Low-Carb Fast-Food Choices

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Order a veggie burger without the bun for a low-carb lunch.
Order a veggie burger without the bun for a low-carb lunch. (Image: VeselovaElena/iStock/Getty Images)

A low-carb diet prohibits or severely limits sugary desserts, starchy vegetables and grains and, in turn, can lead to weight loss. Many fast-food options are high in carbohydrates and poor choices for your diet, but you can have a low-carb meal at a fast-food restaurant. Skip the milkshakes and fries, and opt for proteins and vegetables instead.

Try Your Sandwich “Naked”

Order a sandwich without the bread to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your meal. If the fast-food restaurant will not permit this, just eat the sandwich filling and leave the bread. Choose a sandwich with a high-protein, carb-free or low-carb filling, such as a beef burrito, hamburger or grilled chicken sandwich. Breaded fillings, such as fried chicken and fish fillets, are higher in carbs.

Go for the Greens

A small green salad is far lower in carbs than are sides such as fried potatoes, sweet potato fries, biscuits and corn. A cup of romaine lettuce contains 1.6 grams of carbohydrates, while a small order of fries has 30 grams of carbohydrates. A green salad with some protein, such as strips of grilled chicken breast, can be a low-carb main course. Avoid high-carb toppings such as croutons and chow mein noodles.

Enjoy Ethnic Options

If you go to a Chinese restaurant, skip the steamed and fried rice, chow mein noodles and egg rolls, all of which have a high carb content. For example, an egg roll contains 24.3 grams of carbohydrates. Try dishes focused around proteins and vegetables, such as beef with broccoli, chicken with mushrooms and tofu with vegetables. Ask the chef what's in the sauce -- there's often hidden sugar. Order grilled chicken or beef teriyaki at Japanese restaurants, and try a taco salad without the shell or tortilla chips from Mexican fast-food joints.

Choose the Right Drinks and Condiments

A large regular soft drink contains 69 grams of carbohydrates, and an 8-ounce serving of orange juice has 28 grams of carbohydrates. Water is free from calories and carbs. Milk is another option, with each cup of skim milk containing 12 grams of carbohydrates. Avoid sugary condiments, such as honey barbecue sauce. Instead, use low-carb alternatives such as yellow or deli mustard or salsa.

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