Finding yourself at a fast food restaurant does not mean that you have an excuse to break your eating patterns with low-carb high-fat food. Fast food has earned its bad reputation in this country, because a lot of it is very carbohydrate rich, has a poor macronutrient balance, may contain genetically-modified foods, and is arguably produced in ways that are not the most beneficial to society.
On the other hand, most fast food chains do provide a complete listing of the nutrients in their menu items. This is more than you can say for other restaurants, where you just have to trust that what you’re ordering and what you’re eating are the same thing. You may need to do some math to figure out how much fat and protein are in each part of a given menu item, but it’s worth the effort
Most fast food restaurants these days do sell salads. For some of them, the salad is not the most popular item on the menu, therefore you may be able to get a pretty good bargain on a salad. For example, McDonald’s sells a side salad for $1.00 that makes an excellent foundation for a low-carb high-fat meal. Pair it with the ranch dressing, and you have a good healthy start. Most of the dressings of these restaurants do tend to have some sugars of them, so be judicious in your choices. Definitely avoid the low-fat dressings.
There are very few sandwich places now where you can’t order a sandwich without the bread. Most of them have heard this request at least once before, and they tend to offer you the sandwiches on a bed of lettuce, or even wrapped in lettuce. One of my favorite places to go for a sandwich without the bread is Togo’s. They’ll give you your sandwich on a bed of shredded lettuce, with all of the condiments and toppings you prefer, and even provide dressing for you if you want.
The quick and obvious choice at a lot of restaurants is to order a burger. It’s hard to go wrong with a patty of fried ground meat, served with some onions and some mustard and mayonnaise. A lot of places will put catchup on their burgers directly, so watch your carbohydrates, and see how you can customize your order. In ‘n Out burgers has a protein style burger on their secret menu. They take their regular burgers, and wrap them in generous portions of delicious ice berg lettuce. The eating experience can be a little bit messy, but it’s one of the best low carb high-fat fast foods out there
Southwestern and Mexican food to getting to be more popular as a fast food option. A lot of restaurants that serve these foods are more than happy to provide you with a meal that doesn’t include the traditional taco shells, rice, beans, or tortillas. Just specify what you want them to include, and they’ll make you a bowl with lettuce, meats, vegetables, and sauces that’s always more satisfying and healthy than their regular fare. I often find places like Chipotle are one of the best bargains out there for a hearty and fast meal with good ingredients.
(Not) Fried Chicken
Places that sell fried chicken and chicken wings are among the best places to go for a protein rich, low-carb high-fat meal. While most of the chicken parts these places sell are covered in carb-rich fried breading, several of them have started selling grilled or otherwise coating free chicken for their customers who demand it. The Kentucky Fried Chicken chain has very good grilled chicken, which can be purchased now at all of their locations across the United States. They even have some sides like coleslaw that you can order on a low-carb high-fat diet, and be fairly confident that you’re staying within your carb allotment for the day.
In general, I don’t approve of the way that fast food companies treat their employees, source their livestock, or deal with issues of safe and healthy food choices for families. However, sometimes you may find yourself in a position where the only food available to you is fast food. Here are some tips for dealing with that.
It’s probably not something that you want to do every day, but in an emergency, it’s good to know that it’s possible to get a good low-carb high-fat meal wherever you happen to find yourself.