Fat & Weight Loss , Nutrition, food, & eating

High-Protein Fast Food Picks for Busy People

Author: Kevin Driscoll
February 03, 2024

You can order from DoorDash or get your groceries delivered right to our front steps.


You can get an Amazon package delivered right to our door within 24 hours.


You text and Facetime anyone to feel engaged by their presence.


Life is full of convenience!


Here's the challenge you're facing...


You value your health and have goals to drop 20-50 lbs, but once in a while, you want to grab something quick and easy after work and before the kids' school play.


That's when you find yourself stuffing your face at McDonald's with a meal over 1,200 calories.


I don't blame you; I'm not judging. Fast food is quick, cheap, and, let's be honest, it tastes f*cking great! But this is also keeping you from achieving your goals.


I'm here to tell you that you can find harmony between grabbing a quick bite and making a choice aligned with your weight loss goals. 


Let's discuss the highest-protein, best fast food picks for busy people!



As a fitness and nutrition coach, my mission is to help you achieve your weight loss goals while enjoying the occasional indulgence. Want to learn about personalized, 1-on-1 coaching? Schedule a free, no-obligation meeting.

Here's how we break down each fast-food option:


1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)

This category means the option will be the highest protein option they have. The calories will not be considered (so it could have 50 grams of protein, but may also be 1,500 calories)


2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)

This category is just what I would get if I were trying to lose weight but needed something quickly. This doesn't have to be your option, so no offense taken if you choose something else, but this also may give you a better idea or a helpful choice for you!


3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)

This category includes some other good options. My goal is to find options of roughly 500 calories or less and be around 25% protein or higher.


Before we dive in, a crucial reminder: Weight loss requires you to be in a calorie deficit. You can still enjoy your favorite foods while losing weight – it's all about harmony.



🍔 Quick Links:


McDonald's - Wikipedia


High-protein options at McDonalds

The world's most popular fast food chain. And honestly, it's my favorite. (Big Macs and McFlurries for life!)


1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)


Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese

  • Calories: 740
  • Protein: 48 grams (26%)

This option has a decent protein-to-calorie ratio. For fast food options, this is still a little higher calories, but if we can get at least 25% of those calories from protein, that is what I’ll consider a good protein-to-calorie ratio, and as we see here, the Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese is about 26% Protein.


2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)

Grilled Chicken SandwichGrilled Chicken Sandwich | McDonald's Canada

  • Protein: 33 grams (32.4%)
  • Calories: 420

3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
McCrispy 27g (23%) 470
Double Hamburger 48g (22.9%) 350
Quarter Pounder with Cheese 29g (22.3%) 520
Double Cheeseburger 25g (22.2%) 450
McDouble 22g (22%) 400
Egg McMuffin 48g (21.9%) 310



Subway Logo


High-protein options at Subway

Subway has a great variety of high-protein, calorie-friendly options for fast food.


The go-to choice at Subway are the ... well, subs. But their wraps and bowls make fantastic choices to help you hit your calorie and protein target. At the same time, they're quick and easy to grab and go.


1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)


Baja Steak & Jack Wrap

(Wrap) Steak & Cheese

  • Calories: 570
  • Protein: 43 (30.2%)

(6” Sub) Grilled Chicken

  • Calories: 290
  • Protein: 27 grams (37.2%)

(Bowl) Steak N Cheese

  • Calories: 380
  • Protein: 42 grams (44.2.2%)

2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)


I am choosing any of the Grilled Chicken options -- the wrap, 6’’ Sub, or Bowl. However, any of the bowl options are good.


Rotisserie-Style Chicken on Spinach Wrap

(Wrap) Grilled Chicken

  • Calories: 470
  • Protein: 42 grams (35.7%)

(6” Sub) Grilled Chicken

  • Calories: 290
  • Protein: 27 grams (37.2%)

(Bowl) Grilled Chicken

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 35 grams (70%)

Other bowl options below are good, too!


3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calorie
Rotisserie Chicken Bowl 31g (56.4%) 220
Buffalo Chicken Bowl 42g (44.2%) 380
Chicken Teriyaki Bowl 34g (38.9%) 350
Oven Roasted Turkey 6" Sub 22g (32.6%) 270
Roast Beef 6" Sub 25g (32.3%) 310
Rotisserie Chicken 6" Sub 25g (32.3%) 310
Roast Beef Wrap 38g (30.4%) 500
Rotisserie Chicken Wrap 38g (30.4%) 500
Buffalo Chicken Wrap 42g (30%) 560
Turkey & Ham 6" Sub 21g (30%) 280
Oven Roasted Turkey Wrap 32g (29.8%) 430
Chicken Teriyaki 6" Sub 26g (28.9%) 360
Steak & Cheese 6" Sub 26g (28.9%) 360
Black Forest Ham 6" Sub 20g (28.6%) 280
Chicken Teriyaki Wrap 41g (27.8%) 590


Note: These do not take into account condiments or sauces, so be conscious of what you add. Low-calorie options like mustard (0 calories) are preferable to high-calorie options like mayo (100 calories per tablespoon). But this is going to be an excellent guideline for you above!



KFC - Wikipedia


High-protein options at Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)KFC Keto Fried Chicken


Chicken Breast

  • Calories: 390
  • Protein: 39 grams (40.2%)

2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)


The grilled chicken options are currently unavailable right now, but if they were, those would likely be my choice (so keep that in mind if they come back).


Here, I like the idea of sticking with the Chicken Breast. But I know myself; I would want more than just one chicken breast. So I’m going with the drumstick, where I could have a couple without putting a huge dent in my calories yet still getting a decent amount of protein.



  • Calories: 130
  • Protein: 12 grams (36.9%)
3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
8 Piece Nuggets 24g (34.3%) 280
Chicken Wing 10g (30.8%) 130
Chicken Thigh 19g (27.1%) 280



Starbucks - Wikipedia


High-protein options at Starbucks

1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)Turkey, Provolone & Pesto on Ciabatta: Starbucks Coffee Company


Turkey, Provolone, and Pesto Sandwich 

  • Calories: 520
  • Protein: 32 (24.6%)
2️⃣  The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)

Yes, I have two choices because these are both my go-to's. Not only because they have an excellent protein-to-calorie ratio, but they are also freaking delicious! 


Spinach, Feta, Egg White WrapSpinach, Feta & Egg White Wrap: Nutrition: Starbucks Coffee Company

  • Calories: 290
  • Protein: 20 (27.5%)

Turkey Bacon Egg White Sandwich:

  • Calories: 230
  • Protein: 17 (29.5%)

3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
Egg White & Red Pepper Bites 12g (28%) 170
Kale & Mushroom Egg Bites 15g (26.1%) 230
Bacon & Gruyere Egg Bites 19 (25.3%) 300


A funny thing I saw while researching this is the Protein Box Options that Starbucks offers. They are marketed to make you think you are getting a great protein option when, in reality, their protein-to-calorie ratios are all under 20%.


I thought you should know there are so many better protein options that I would choose over them. Don't always trust the marketing!



Burger King Logo History | BrandCrowd blog


High-protein options at Burger King

Burger King makes it tough to follow the 25% protein rule! There were a couple of options for manipulating add-ons and condiments, but I’m also going to be flexible here and open up the range to 20% or higher.


1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)Whopper® & Beef Burgers - Hungry Jack's Australia


Triple Whopper With Cheese

  • Calories: 1,300
  • Protein: 78 grams (24%)

2️⃣ The KPD Option(Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)


BK Royal Crispy Chicken (No Sauce)

  • Calories: 440
  • Protein: 31 ( 28.2%)
  • Note: With sauce adds 160 calories and 0 protein

3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% 20% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
4 Piece Chicken Fries 7g (25.5%) 110
Bacon Double Cheeseburger 27g (24.5%) 440
Double Cheeseburger 24g (24%) 400
Bacon Cheeseburger 15g (21.1%) 340
Hamburger 13g (20.8%) 250
Cheeseburger 15g (20.7%) 290
Honey Mustard BK Royal Chicken Wrap 15g (20.7%) 290



Dunkin’ Home


High-protein options at Dunkin’

Before we get into this, if you are looking for a great laugh that has nothing to do with this blog, check out this extended cut of Dunkin's 2024 Super Bowl commercial


1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich | Bacon Egg Sandwich | Dunkin'®


Sourdough Sandwich

  • Calories: 650
  • Protein: 31 grams (19.1%)

2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)Dunkin's Omelet Bites Are Now on the Dunkin' Winter Menu | POPSUGAR Food


Egg White Omelette Bites

  • Calories: 180
  • Protein: 13 grams (28.9%)

3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% 20% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
Bacon Cheddar Omelette Bites 17g (24.3%) 280
Wake Up Egg White Veggie Wrap 11g (23.2%) 190



Taco Bell® | Live Más


High-protein options at Taco Bell

1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)Grilled Cheese Burrito - Order Online | Taco Bell®


Grilled Chicken Cheese Burrito

  • Calories: 700
  • Protein: 28 grams (16%)

2️⃣ The KPD Options (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)


Power Bowl (no rice or beans)Power Menu Bowl - Order Online | Taco Bell®

  • Calories: 240
  • Protein: 21 grams (31%)

Another great option is to customize your own taco. Sticking to the high-protein, calorie-friendly theme, just be aware of your toppings (like cheese or sour cream), as they can add up the calorie with minimal protein. In fact, may not be a bad idea to exclude them altogether.


Stick with a hard or soft shell with grilled chicken, lettuce, and tomato on top (and maybe even a little hot sauce for flavor).


3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
Soft Grilled Chicken Taco (no cheese or sour cream) 11g (33.8%) 130
Power Bowl (with everything) 27g (23.5%) 460
Soft Taco 9g (20%) 180



Chick-fil-A Restaurant Opening ...


High-protein options at Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A, will you please open on Sundays!!!


Chick-Fil-A is another fantastic spot that has a bunch of high-protein, calorie-friendly options, making it one of my favorite spots to go for fast food while I’m trying to lose weight (it's also one of my favorite spots even if i’m not trying to lose weight)! 


1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)Chick-fil-A® Cool Wrap Nutrition and ...


Cool Wrap

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 42 grams (48%)

2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)Grilled Nuggets Nutrition and Description | Chick-fil-A


12 Grilled Nuggets

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 38 grams (76%)
3️⃣ Honorable Mentions (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Menu item Protein Calories
12 Nuggets 40g (42%) 380
3 Chick-N-Strips 29g (37.4%) 310
Grilled Chicken Sandwich 28 (29.5%) 380
Grilled Chicken Club 37g (28.5%) 520
Chicken Tortilla Soup 23g (27%) 340
Chicken Sandwich 29g (26.4%) 440
Chicken Deluxe Sandwich 31g (25.6%) 500


Now, salads can also be a great option, but the thing to be aware of is the dressing, which will take you out of the 25% protein target. You're welcome to snag a salad; still, just be careful about the dressing portion.



Wendy's - YouTube


High-protein options at Wendy's 

1️⃣ Highest Protein Option (Does NOT consider calories)A Twist of Fate: Wendy's Unveils the New Pretzel Baconator


Pretzel Baconator

  • Calories: 1,050
  • Protein: 61 grams (23.2%)

2️⃣ The KPD Option (Quick and Weight-Loss Friendly)Grilled Chicken | Wendy's


Grilled Chicken Sandwich

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 33 grams (37.7%)

3️⃣ Honorable Mention (Around 500 calories, 25% protein or higher)


Grilled Asiago Ranch Club

  • Calories: 490
  • Protein: 40 grams (32.7%)

Again, the salads can also be a great option here, but be aware of the dressing, which will take you out of the 25% protein target. If you want a salad, go for it! Just be cautious about the portion of dressing.



Chipotle Mexican Grill

High-protein options at Chipotle

Okay, since you get to customize your order at Chipotle, I'll break this down by the calories and protein of each ingredient. That way, you can pick and choose what fits your nutrition goals when you create your meal.


I'll also share my go-to order from Chipotle afterward!


First, I recommend getting a bowl or a salad as your meal choice.


Pick your meat:


Menu item Protein Calories
Chicken 32g (71.1%) 180
Steak 21g (56%) 150
Barbacoa 24g (56%) 170
Carne Asada 29g (46.4%) 250
Carnitas 23g (43.8%) 210
Sofritas 8g (21.3%) 150




Menu item Protein Calories
Black Beans 8g (24.6%) 130
Pinto Beans 8g (24.6%) 130


Add-ons to be aware of:


The reason I say "be aware of" is that most salsas and fajitas are 15-25 calories per serving, so those are not going to put much of a dent into your calories.


P.S. -- I’m a big fan of doubling up on the fajitas get some extra volume to fill me up.


Menu item Protein Calories
Cheese 6g (21.8%) 110
Guacamole 2g (3.5%) 230
Sour Cream 2g (7.3%) 110
Queso 5g (16.7%) 120
Corn Salsa 3g (15%) 80
Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette 1g (1.8%) 220


1️⃣ The KPD Options


Bowl #1Healthy Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls • One Lovely Life


Fajita Veggies

Mild Salsa

Corn Salsa



Calories: 295

Protein: 36 grams (48.8%) 


Bowl #2

Double Chicken

Fajita Veggies

Half Order of Black Beans

Mild Salsa

Corn Salsa

Half Serving of Cheese



Calories: 520

Protein: 75 grams (57.7%)


Life Hack!

One thing I always do once I bring my order home is add Plain Fat-Free Greek Yogurt to my bowl to mimic sour cream. It tastes the same and has way fewer calories and way more protein! Greek yogurt is great for weight loss.  



Closing thoughts

Now, going a step further on the KPD Options, if I were to choose the top 3 Restaurants I would go to that would allow me to hit both my protein and calorie targets easily, I'm going to prioritize getting Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, or Subway. 


They have the best protein-to-calorie ratios with obviously a lot of variety compared to other spots.


Lastly, this is important so take the last minute or two to finish reading this...


In order to lose weight (Ultimate Fat Loss Guide), you have to be in a calorie deficit. This means the overall amount of calories you eat in a day has to be less than the overall calories you burn in a day.


If you do this consistently, over time, you will lose weight.


Now, these suggestions above I have found for you are protein and calorie-friendly, meaning you can include them in your overall food intake without putting a huge dent into your calories and helping you hit your protein.


As the options I provided for you will be great options, you can still enjoy the food items on the menu and still lose weight!


As long as you keep your calories in a deficit, you will lose weight.


Whether that is from Twinkies, Big Macs, or dog food, as long as you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight over time.


Seriously, here is a professor who lost 27 pounds in 2 months eating a majority of his diet of Twinkies, Hostess, Little Debbie, Doritos, sugary cereals, and even Oreos.


Also, here is a personal trainer who ate a Big Mac every single day for a month and lost 7 lbs throughout the month.


How did they do such a thing?!


Calorie Deficit.


It's never one donut that causes someone to gain fat, just like how there's never one salad that got someone shredded. It’s about your overall calorie intake that determines what happens with your weight.


(By the way, if you want to know what your calorie target should be, be sure to use my Free Calorie and Protein Calculator to find out!)


So, as I said, you can still have any food you want to lose weight, and as long as you manage your overall calories to keep you in a calorie deficit most of the time, you will be totally fine!


I hope you found this blog helpful and is able to be useful in your weight loss journey.


As I Am




About Author
Kevin Driscoll

Hey there! I'm an online personal trainer and nutrition coach, and I've helped hundreds of people achieve their weight loss and fitness goals without restricting them from their favorite foods or spending overtime in the gym. Let's work together!



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