How to Choose High-Protein Fast Food for Weight Loss

It’s time to take a fast food tour of high-protein fast food options that will keep you on track with weight loss.

With 20 years of experience helping people with weight loss, I know that cooking every dish isn’t realistic. Many of my clients admit to turning to fast food one or two nights a week. And because protein is such a key element to weight loss, high-protein fast food options are important to focus on.

So I’m here to show you that there are ways to enjoy fast food and still stay on track. Here are six popular places and advice on how to order high-protein meals.

General Nutrient Guidelines to Follow

  • 700 calories for men, 600 calories for women
  • ~30g of lean protein
  • be mindful of the fat
  • add on veggies for fiber

And remember, I’m not here to dictate your order. I’m here to take you on a fast food tour to guide you on how to choose wisely.

Stop #1: Eating High-Protein at Chipotle

High protein fast food at chipotle

Crafting a protein-packed bowl that isn’t loaded with calories is your goal. You can also choose the salad option so that you have more leafy greens as your base. Ask for double protein if you’re feeling extra determined.

My Dietitian Order

Brown rice and black or pinto beans (one scoop not loaded scoop – don’t be afraid to ask for a light amount), beef or chicken, veggies, extra salsa, corn, and lettuce.

Stop #2: Eating High-Protein at El Pollo Loco

High protein fast food at el pollo loco

The protein star here is dark and or white meat chicken but with the skin removed. The skin is in the calories. If you want to also pair it with beans for added protein and carbs, keep to one scoop.

My Dietitian Order

My order is the chicken with skin removed and paired with a salad.

Stop #3: Eating High-Protein at Subway

high protein fast food at subway

It’s time to build a protein-packed sandwich. This often saves me when I’m traveling at the airport. The protein star here is turkey. Ask for a 6” sandwich and choose the honey oat or whole wheat bread. You can also ask for extra turkey, then pack on the veggies for fiber to help with satiety.

My Dietitian Order

My order is a 6” turkey sandwich with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, other veggies, and mustard.

Stop #4: Eating High-Protein at Panda Express

High protein fast food at panda express

Craving Panda Express? Well, it’s next up on our list. Opt for a chicken, tofu, or beef main for your protein target, and pair it with brown rice. The key here is to watch those portion sizes and steer clear of the fried stuff that has a lot of added fat and calories.

My Dietitian Order

My go-to is teriyaki chicken with a little sauce, and beef broccoli with brown rice. Yum!

Stop # 5: Eating High-Protein at In-N-Out

High protein fast food at in n out

And if you’re familiar at all with this place, you probably guessed that protein style is the way to go! Don’t get me wrong, I love bread, but here I like to focus on protein over carbs. It’s not about fear; it’s about a double-double protein treat!

My Dietitian Order

Double double protein style (wrapped in lettuce), no cheese, but keep the secret sauce because that’s what you go there for.

Final Stop: Eating High-Protein at MIXT

choosing a high protein salad at mixt

The haven of high-protein salads. I love this place because I actually use MIXT with my clients. You can easily build a bowl online to see the nutritional value before you order!

I always say to not choose more than 2 fats. This is cheese, nuts, avocado, etc. And remember, roasted veggies come with oil. Remember that some carbohydrates can also count as some protein, such as quinoa and beans.

My Dietitian Order

I opt for a salad with a mix of leafy greens, chicken or beef, balsamic vinegar, avocado, and a lot of veggies.

Key Things to Remember for High-Protein Fast Food Options

And that concludes our fast food tour! This is obviously only some of the places you know, but take these principles and apply them elsewhere.

Remember, when it comes to fast food and weight loss, knowledge is power. Understand your choices, and remember – it’s all about protein, balance, portion control, and mindful eating.

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