Finding a fast food restaurant that offers foods that fit within your macronutrient goals can be difficult.
However, there are a few restaurants that offer great options for those tracking your macros.
In this blog post, we will discuss the top three macro-friendly foods from 18 different fast food restaurants.
Stay tuned for tips on how to order these items when you’re out and about!
What is macro-friendly fast food:
What is macro-friendly fast food? It’s food that contains the right amount of macronutrients to help you reach your goals.
The number of macros that each individual needs can vary, however in general when looking for fast food options that will not break your macro bank, look for items with the following:
- Lower saturated fat content
- 20-30 grams of protein
- Reasonable calories
- Lower sodium content
- Carbohydrate (Does it have fiber)
- Get some sort of fruit or vegetable with your meal
By following these general guidelines you will be able to find Macro-Friendly foods no matter where you go!
5 tips for eating fast food and tracking macros
Here are five tips for eating fast food and tracking macros:
1. Plan ahead by meeting your macros throughout the day, you’ll set yourself up for success, and therefore that one meal will have a much lesser impact. This is where macro meal planning can help.
2. Look for restaurants that have options that fit your goals. An example, if you’re trying to get in more protein, look for a place that offers lean protein options and steamed veggies.
3. Log the food you plan to eat. This will help you keep track of your macros and make sure you’re staying on track.
4. Focus on getting the most nutrition for your buck. Look for foods that are high in fiber and lean protein, and avoid foods that are high in saturated fat and simple carbs.
5. Don’t sweat it. Today fast food has been demonized and if that’s the only option you’ve got, that’s ok. I have worked one on one with people that struggle with being perfect on their “diet.” Let me tell you, there is no such thing.
18 Macro-Friendly Fast Food Restaurants
When it comes to affordable and convenient Mexican food, Taco Bell is often the go-to option. However, many people are unaware that Taco Bell offers some great healthy options as well. Here are the top three macro-friendly foods from Taco Bell:
The Macro-friendly options at Taco Bell are:
Power menu bowl with grilled chicken
460 calories, 27g protein, 41g carbs, 21g fat
Burrito Supreme Chicken
370 calories, 19g protein, 49g carbs, 11 g fat
Chicken soft taco
160 calories, 12g protein, 16g carbs, 5g fat
McDonald’s is often seen as an unhealthy choice, but there are actually some great options on the menu if you’re looking for macro-friendly foods. Here are the top three macro-friendly choices at McDonald’s:
The Macro-friendly options at McDonald’s are:
Artisan grilled chicken sandwich
380 calories, 36 g protein, 45 g carbs, 6 g fat
310 calories, 17 g protein, 30 g carbs, 13 g fat
400 calories, 14 g protein, 39 g carbs, 21 g fat
With only the two options of a hamburger or cheeseburger, In-n-out is limited. I am going one step further and ringing the bell of high sodium and high saturated fat content. With all of that, In-n-out is a personal favorite place to get a burger, so I had to include it. Your option is limited to the single with or without a bun.
The Macro-friendly options at In-n-Out are:
Hamburger with onion (one patty)
380 calories, 16 g protein, 39 g carbs, 17 g fat
Hamburger protein style
240 calories, 13 g protein, 11 g carbs, 17 g fat
The Macro-friendly options at Chick-fil-A are:
Grilled nuggets (eight counts)
130 calories, 25 g protein, 1 g carbs, 3 g fat
Grilled chicken sandwich
380 calories, 28 g protein, 44 g carbs, 11 g fat
Egg White Grill
290 calories, 26 g protein, 30 g carbs, 8 g fat
With the steamed veggies, whole grain carbohydrates, and lean protein sources you can make a ton of macro-friendly combinations at Panda Express. Using a serving size of a bowl, base of brown rice, steam veggies, and then the choice of your protein source.
The Macro-friendly options at Panda Express are:
1 entree bowl with brown rice (Base)
310 calories, 9 g protein, 43 g carbs, 4 g fat
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
300 calories, 13 g protein, 8 g carbs, 13 g fat
Kung Pao chicken
320 calories, 22 g protein, 19 g carbs, 17g fat
150 calories, 9 g protein, 13 g carbs, 7 g fat
Smashburger is a restaurant that is often seen as a healthier option than other fast food chains, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. A majority of options are high in saturated fat and sodium. Here are the top three macro-friendly foods from Smashburger:
The Macro-friendly options at Smashburger are:
Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich
470 calories, 34 g protein, 36 g carbs, 8 g fat
Avocado chicken club sandwich
580 calories, 36 g protein, 37 g carbs, 35 g fat
Truffle Mushroom Swiss Grilled Sandwich
560 calories, 40 g protein, 33 g carbs, 33 g fat
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is a fast food chain that has a reputation for being “unhealthy.” While yes a majority of their options are higher in calories, fat, and sugar, there are a few macro-friendly choices on the menu.
The Macro-friendly options at Jack in The Box are:
Southwest Chicken Salad w/ Grilled Chicken Strips
350 calories, 34 g protein, 28 g carbs, 15g fat
Chicken fajita pita
330 calories, 24 g protein, 33 g carbs, 11 g fat
Grilled Chicken Strips with Teriyaki Dipping Sauce
310 calories, 44 g protein, 16 g carbs, 8 g fat
Need a refresher on counting macros? Read more on counting macros for beginners.
The Macro-friendly options at Subway are:
6″ Oven Roasted Turkey and Ham
270 calories, 19 g protein, 40 g carbs, 4 g fat
6″ Oven Roasted Turkey
260 calories, 19g protein, 39g carbs, 3 g fat
6″ Oven roasted chicken
280 calories, 21 g protein, 41 g carbs, 5 g fat
Qdoba is a great choice for those looking for a Mexican fast food restaurant. They have a variety of options that are all relatively healthy and Macro-friendly.
The Macro-friendly options at Qdoba are:
The base of your burrito bowl is Cilantro Lime Rice, Black Beans, Fajita Veggies, and Salsa.
455 P16 C65 F 16
Grilled Chicken adobo
190 calories, 16 g protein, 2 g carbs, 9 g fat
140 calories, 17 g protein, 9 g carbs, 4 g fat
230 calories, 19 g protein, 3 g carbs, 15 g fat
Are you surprised to see that KFC has macro-friendly options? Of course, there are less optimal food choices however it is important to remember that there is no “healthy” food. You are better off focusing on your overall nutritional eating pattern rather than focusing on a single food.
The Macro-friendly options at KFC are:
Honey BBQ Sandwich
350 calories, 24 g protein, 22 g carbs, 3.5 g fat
Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast, Green Beans, & Mashed Potatoes
350 calories, 41 g protein, 23 g carbs, 8 g fat
Kentucky Grilled Chicken thighs, Green beans, & Mashed potatoes with gravy
310 calories, 21 g protein, 25 g carbs, 14 g fat
Jimmy John’s is a sandwich restaurant chain that is popular for its quick, easy and affordable sandwiches. The whole grain bread that Jimmy John’s uses are a source of fiber which can increase your total daily fiber intake.
The Macro-friendly options at Jimmy John’s are:
Turkey Tom #4 SF
480 calories, 23 g protein, 48 g carbs, 19 g fat
Slim #2 SW
460 calories, 33 g protein, 57 g carbs, 11 g fat
Slim #4 SW
460 calories, 30 g protein, 59 g carbs, 9 g fat
Popeye’s did not have a long selection of macro-friendly fast food meals however they do have Blackened chicken breast with green beans and mashed potatoes which comes out to 410 calories, 53 g protein, 28 g carbs, 9 g fat
The Macro-friendly options at Popeye’s are:
Blackened chicken breast
280 calories, 43g protein, 3g carbs, 3g fat
20 calories, 3g protein, 7g carbs, 2g fat
Mashed potatoes with Cajun gravy
110 calories, 3g protein, 18g carbs, 4g fat
Chipotle is a classic Macro-friendly restaurant. They have a variety of healthy and delicious options that will fit into your diet. I must warn you though, that the saturated fat and sodium content of these meals can add up quickly.
The Macro-friendly options at Chipotle are:
Chicken bowl with brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa
565 calories, 45g protein, 15 g fat
Steak bowl with brown rice, black beans, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa
535 calories, 34g protein, 68 g carbs, 14 g fat
Barbacoa Bowl with white rice, pinto beans, fajita veggies, green tomatillo salsa
545 calories, 37 g protein, 68 g carbs, 15 g fat
You will notice that there is no sour cream, cheese, or guacamole on any of these. Three servings of fat are not recommended for the general population. With that, choose one source of fat, sour cream cheese or guac.
Wendy’s is dishing out some great macro-friendly meals with the Summer Strawberry, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and the Grilled Asiago Ranch Chicken Club.
The Macro-friendly options at Wendy’s are:
Summer Strawberry Salad
380 calories, 37g protein, 15g carbs, 19g fat
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
350 calories, 32g protein, 35g carbs, 8g fat
Grilled Asiago Ranch Chicken Club
490 calories, 40 g protein, 34g carbs, 21g fat
Taco John’s is known for their potato ole’s and fresh-made tacos. Surprisingly, they also offer a few Macro-friendly meals. The Chicken or Steak Soft Taco, Chicken Super Burrito, and the chicken Boss Bowl are all great Macro-friendly options.
The Macro-friendly options at Taco John’s are:
Street Taco Chicken or Steak
190 calories, 14g protein, 13g carbs, 5g fat
Super Burrito, Chicken
440 calories, 24g protein, 64g carbs, 17g fat
Boss Bowl, Chicken, Pico de Gallo
610 calories, 32g protein, 79g carbs, 20g fat
Did you know that a Route 44 fountain soda drink has 105 grams of sugar!!!
While Sonic is known for its delicious drinks, they also offer some macro-friendly food options. The Sonic Grilled Chicken Wrap, Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and the Crispy Chicken Tenders are all Macro-friendly meals.
The Macro-friendly options at Sonic are:
480 calories, 31g protein, 39g carbs, 14g fat
Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich
470 calories, 30g protein, 39g carbs, 22g fat
Crispy Chicken Tenders (3 counts)
260 calories, 21 g protein, 16g carbs, 12g fat
Panera Bread is known for its pastry sandwiches and soups. While these items might not be Macro-friendly, they do offer a variety of Macro-friendly salads and sandwiches. The Egg & Cheese on Artisan Ciabatta, Strawberry Poppyseed with Chicken, and the Deli Turkey on Country Rustic Sourdough are all Macro-friendly meals.
The Macro-friendly options at Panera Bread are:
Egg & Cheese on Artisan Ciabatta
360 calories, 19g protein, 40g carbs, 14g fat
Strawberry Poppyseed with Chicken – Whole
350 calories, 23g protein, 37g carbs, 14g fat
Deli Turkey on Country Rustic Sourdough – Whole
600 calories, 35 g protein, 73g carbs, 19g fat
Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard
Good Time’s is a really difficult place to find food options low in saturated fats and sodium. The Macro-friendly options at Good Time’s included are still relatively high in both.
The Macro-friendly options at Good Time’s Burgers & Frozen Cust
Burger, Old Fashioned Burger
380 calories, 37g protein, 15g carbs, 19g fat
Burger, Mushroom Swiss Burger
350 calories, 32g protein, 35g carbs, 8g fat
Black Bean Burger, Southwestern
430 calories, 21 g protein, 46g carbs, 15g fat
In this roundup, we’ve listed 18 of the best Macro-friendly fast food restaurants. No matter where you are in the United States, there is sure to be a restaurant near you that will fit into your diet.
In addition to listing some great options, we also reviewed three recipes from each restaurant. Lastly, we provided five tips to help you make the best choices when dining out.
Macro-friendly eating does not have to be difficult or boring. With a little planning and these tips, you can enjoy delicious meals while still staying on track with your fitness goals. Thanks for reading!
Are struggling with your macros. You are tracking them and not seeing any progress? Schedule an appointment with me I have helped hundreds in the same situation.
Noah Quezada, ia a registered dietitian nutritionist. Noah specializes in helping people develop lifelong habits and skills that lead to a long and productive healthy life. This includes using evidence-based weight-loss strategies as well as ways to improve sleep, self-care, and being more physically active.