Paleo and Fast Food? Really?
When you think of fast food, you probably think of all things not Paleo – French fries, giant sugary sodas, hamburger buns, milkshakes, and loads of other pitfalls you’re looking to avoid. In an ideal world, nobody following a diet plan would step foot in a fast food restaurant or zip through the drive-through, but I know for many of us, the perfect diet just doesn’t happen. Maybe you’re short on time between running errands and an important event, or maybe you’re on a road trip with nothing but fast food chains on the highway. Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t mean you need to throw Paleo out the window and succumb to potatoes and grains. I’ll show you how you can find the best available Paleo meal items from a fast food restaurant using my website Fast Food Protein to find nutritional information that looks like real food.
Know your Tools
Using Fast Food Protein is going to have some unique advantages that’ll make hunting for healthy choices quicker and easier.Here’s some key time savers:
• Compare multiple restaurants at once. If you have a Burger King, KFC, and McDonalds in the area, select those and compare all menu items in one table rather than downloading nutritional information PDF’s and trying to compare with no sorting or filtering capabilities.
• Simple Overviews. Rather than using something like MyFitnessPal which makes click through multiple options just to see one item’s nutritional values, we displayed everything you deem relevant on the screen at once for all menu items.
• Advanced statistics such as Protein/100 kcal makes avoiding junk easier.
Start the Hunt
First, let’s talk about what we’re hunting for. Looking for any quality carbohydrates from a typical fast food joint is going to be a waste of time, so let’s focus on quality meat and fish. I’m going to select data columns “Sugars”, “Sodium”, and “
” to display as well to make sure they’re not sneaking anything by us (spoiler alert: everything is high in sodium), and I’m just going to compare all restaurants (leave none selected from the list) to give you an idea of what the best choices are. To see this list for yourself, just
. By default, our options are sorted by Protein/100 kcal which should help us find the best choices.
Let’s just jump right in to analyzing some of the top results, giving you the most Paleo-friendly choices for some of the top chains:
• Long John Silver’s Baked Cod
160 calories, 36g protein, 1g fat, 1g carbs.
Surprise, surprise! Nutritionally, this looks exactly how we would expect baked cod from any other source to look! The sodium is the only drawback, which is higher than we’d expect, but that’s the cost of fast food we’ll see in every menu item.
• KFC Original Recipe Chicken Breast (No skin or breading!)
130 calories, 29g protein, 2g fat, 0g carbs.
Here’s another option that nutritionally looks just like chicken you’d get from the supermarket, just make sure you don’t get the skin or breading on it. Again, the sodium is very high here so you’ll want to take it easy on salt for the rest of the day.
• Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Nuggets
140 calories, 23g protein, 3g fat, 4g carbs.
Here we start to take a step down in quality, as nutritionally this chicken has a little more fat and carbs than we’d expect from what we could make at home. There’s also 1 gram of sugar, explaining some of those carbs, and the sodium is high as always. Still not a terrible choice, though.
• Wendy’s Asian Cashew Chicken Salad (No cashews or dressing!)
210 calories, 33g protein, 4g fats, 13g carbs.
We’re seeing more sugar here (5 grams) than we’d want to, but in a pinch this is the best Wendy’s item.
• McDonalds Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Grilled Chicken (No dressing!)
220 calories, 29g protein, 8g fats, 8g carbs.
Similar to Wendy’s salad, this isn’t perfect but it’s the best available at McDonalds. 4g of sugar, high in sodium, but no trans fats.