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11 Best Low-Calorie Fast Food Menu Items

April 13, 2024
Courtesy of Taco Bell

Sometimes life calls for fast food, but the calories, excess fat, and sodium can add up quickly. While we don’t endorse a regular diet of fast food, we also don’t think anything needs to be off the table completely (so to speak). The good news is, there is such a thing as low-calorie fast food. Whether you sometimes hit the drive-through because you’re craving something in particular, or you’re traveling with limited options, you can indulge in a fast food meal strategically. Here are our suggestions for the best low-calorie menu items at several major fast-food chains. 

Note: For full nutritional information, visit the “Nutrition” tab of each menu item linked below.

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1. McDonald’s Bacon McDouble

low-calorie fast food: McDonald's bacon McDouble

Courtesy of McDonald’s

At 470 calories, the Bacon McDouble is the most indulgent item on our list (and one of the most surprising). This double cheeseburger, topped with applewood smoked bacon, minced onions, pickles, and ketchup on a toasted bun, actually has 26 grams of protein and 20% of your day’s iron. But sodium is also high at 49% of your daily value, so we’d recommend keeping an eye on your salt intake for the rest of the day.

2. Wendy’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Wendy's Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Courtesy of Wendy’s

This menu staple at Wendy’s is a crowd favorite for a good reason: it’s crispy and crunchy, and made with all white meat. Topped with lettuce and mayo, it has 330 calories, with 14 grams of protein.

3. Taco Bell Black Bean Crunchwrap Fresco Style

low-calorie fast food: Taco Bell black bean crunch wrap fresco style

Courtesy of Taco Bell

Much of Taco Bell’s menu comes in at more than 500 calories, but the Crunchwrap Supreme is an exception — as long as you customize it strategically. If you order this item “fresco style,” you get fresh pico de gallo instead of nacho cheese sauce and sour cream. As a result, this taco wrap comes in lighter at 440 calories, with 8 grams of fiber. It also comes close to half of your day’s sodium, so be mindful of salt for the rest of the day.

4. Chick-Fil-A Chicken, Egg, and Cheese Muffin

Chick-fil-a chicken egg and cheese English muffin sandwich

Courtesy of Chick-Fil-A

Chicken for breakfast — why not? At Chick-fil-A, a savory multigrain English muffin with chicken, egg, and cheese clocks in at 420 calories.  A whopping 27 grams of protein will keep you full all morning, which explains why it’s such a popular menu item.

5. Burger King Double Cheeseburger

low-calorie fast food: Burger King double cheeseburger

Courtesy of Wiki Commons

When you’re craving a burger, here’s another convenient option.  With two beef patties topped with two slices of American cheese, pickles, mustard, and ketchup, this double cheeseburger has 400 calories and 24 grams of protein.

Related: 5 Low-Calorie Trader Joe’s Snacks We’re Obsessed With

6. Sonic Drive-In All-American Dog

Sonic drive-in All-American hot dog

Courtesy of Sonic

This retro-feeling chain’s hot dogs are 100 percent beef and topped with ketchup, mustard, relish, and diced onions. At 410 calories each, this hot dog actually has less trans fat than some other fast food menu items. This is another option that’s especially high in sodium, so keep that in mind when planning the rest of the day’s meals.

7. KFC 8-Piece Chicken Nuggets

low-calorie fast food: KFC 8-piece Chicken Nuggets

Courtesy of KFC

On their own, the 8-piece all-white-meat nuggets contain 280 calories, with 24 grams of protein. Just beware of the dipping sauces — some, like the ranch, buffalo ranch, and honey mustard — add another 100+ calories per serving. Opt for BBQ instead, at 45 calories.

8. Checkers and Rally’s Jacked BBQ Burger 

Checkers and Rally's Jacked BBQ burger

Courtesy of Checkers and Rally’s

Spicy and flavorful, this burger is topped with pepper jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and seasoned grilled onions, and contains 430 calories. Skip the fries and other sides here — but if you want something more, a serving of the soft serve vanilla ice cream has 130 calories. 

9. Jack in the Box Chicken Fajita in a Pita

low-calorie fast food: Jack in the Box Chicken Fajita

Courtesy of Jack in the Box

If you order this Jack in the Box item as is, it’s 330 calories, and you get grilled chicken strips, melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions in a whole-grain pita. Served with a side of fire-roasted salsa, this is a great low-calorie option off the Jack in the Box menu.

10. Domino’s Pacific West Vegetarian Pizza

Domino's Pacific West vegetarian pizza

Courtesy of Domino’s

“Pizza” and “low calorie” almost never go together (sigh), but two slices of the 12-inch hand-tossed Pacific West vegetarian pizza, loaded with mushrooms, baby spinach, black olives, and diced tomatoes, clocks in at about 360 calories. This pie has less cheese than the chain’s regular pizza, but with everything else going on here, you won’t miss it. You can also build your own veggie pie if those ingredients don’t speak to you. 

11. In-N-Out Protein Style Burger

low-calorie fast food: In-N-Out Protein style burger

Courtesy of Flickr

If you love this particular burger chain, you know they don’t offer a wide range of low-calorie fast food items. However, order the “Protein Style” burger off their “not so secret menu” and it’ll arrive wrapped in lettuce in place of a bun. It’s a mere 200 calories, with 13 grams of protein; add 70 more calories for a cheeseburger.

Read Next: 10 Low-Calorie Costco Snacks We’re Loving Right Now

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