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The Best Low-Carb Fast Food Options

GrilledChickenSalad_400It can be hard to avoid fast food when you’re traveling or grabbing a quick bite between errands. Here’s what to order (and what to avoid) at 12 national chains when following The New Atkins Made Easy.

Arby’s is primarily about roasted meat and poultry sandwiches, so if you order a chicken, turkey, ham, beef, corned beef, or BLT sandwich, you’ll have to remove the bun, submarine roll, or biscuit. Or order the roast chopped turkey salad with ranch dressing, which clocks in at 7 grams of Net Carbs. Website: arbys.com.

A&W menu items mostly come on burger buns or are breaded. Ditch the bun and have a hot dog, or a burger or cheeseburger with tomato and lettuce. Or order the grilled (not the crispy) chicken with ranch dipping sauce. Again, go bunless. Wash it down with A&W’s sugar-free root beer. Website: awrestaurants.com.

Blimpie is also basically a sandwich shop. Again, make a meal from cheesesteak, hot pastrami, or antipasto sandwich fillings minus the bun. Or have a buffalo chicken or grilled chicken Caesar salad with blue cheese or buttermilk ranch dressing, neither of which has added sugar. Other acceptable options (although not necessarily for all Atkins phases) include tuna salad, chicken
gumbo, cream of broccoli soup, beef stew, and Yankee pot roast. Website: blimpie.com.

Burger King. Again, lose the bun, and most burgers, Whoppers, and the broiled chicken patty pass muster. Salads are usually full of high-carb additions, but two exceptions are the Chicken BLT and Caesar Garden Fresh Salads. Be sure to order either with the grilled (not fried) chicken, remove the croutons, and top with Ken’s ranch dressing. Website: bk.com.

Carl’s Jr. actually offers low-carb choices, including the Low-Carb Six-Dollar Burger (wrapped in lettuce leaves) and the (bunless) Low-Carb Charbroiled Chicken Club. Other options minus the bun that pass muster: the Famous Star, Big Carl, Guacamole Bacon Burger, and most other burgers and cheeseburgers. Or order the Charbroiled Chicken Salad but lose the croutons. House and blue cheese salad dressings are sugar free, as are the house and buffalo wing sauces. Website: carlsjr.com.

Chick-fil-A has some acceptable options once you remove the biscuit or bread on the breakfast egg, cheese, sausage, and bacon dishes. Or unwrap and discard the tortilla on the sausage breakfast burrito. Skip the breaded chicken and order a Chargrilled Chicken Club or Chicken Salad sandwich (minus the bread) or a Chargrilled Chicken Garden or Southwest Chargrilled Salad. Top with blue cheese, Caesar, or buttermilk ranch salad dressing. Website: chick-fil-a.com.

Dairy Queen. It’s possible to fuel up here with a burger, cheeseburger, hot dog, cheese dog, or grilled chicken or turkey sandwich, minus the bun. BBQ, Wild Buffalo, and ranch dipping sauces are acceptable, as is the side salad. Website: dairyqueen.com.

Hardee’s also has some low-carb specialties. Try the Low-Carb Thickburger or the Charbroiled Chicken Club “Sandwich,” wrapped in lettuce leaves. Website: hardees.com.

KFC offers at least one acceptable dish, the Kentucky Grilled Chicken. Pass on the biscuits and mashed potatoes; instead, have a side of green beans. Website: kfc.com.

McDonald’s burgers and cheeseburgers are fine “naked,” as is the grilled chicken club, the Premium Bacon Ranch or Caesar salad with or without grilled chicken, and scrambled eggs and sausage patties. Ask for Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing. Website: mcdonalds.com.

Subway subs can be ordered as a salad (request no croutons), including the cold cut combo, Subway Club, tuna fish, BLT, Black Forest ham, turkey breast, and roast beef. Also okay are the vinaigrette dressing and omelets minus the sandwich. Website: subwayfreshbuzz.com.

Wendy’s. Once more, say bye-bye to the bun and have the rest of any burger or cheeseburger; also okay are the chicken BLT or the Caesar salad (omit croutons) with Ultimate Chicken Grill Fillet and Supreme Caesar Dressing. Website: wendys.com.

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