25 Best Low-Calorie Fast Food Options in 2024

Published on July 5, 2024 | 0 Comments
low-calorie fast food

Finding the best options for low-calorie fast food doesn’t have to be tricky. Are you craving fast food but wanting something healthy instead? With an increase in awareness among health-conscious individuals, comes an evolving fast-food industry, with chains focused on providing healthier choices on their menus for patrons.

Finding fast food has always been easy but finding healthy fast food was a challenge. However, that has changed over the past several years. Restaurants have grown increasingly aware of the need to provide low-calorie fast food options to serve the needs and demands of everyone. And as you’ll see from this list of the 25 best low-calorie fast food options, there’s lots for every palate.

 

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What Fast Food is Low in Calories?

A low-calorie diet is a plan that reduces daily calorie intake to achieve a goal, typically for weight loss or health motivations. Depending on a person’s goals and body weight, the general intake is reduced to between 1200 to 1800 calories for women and between 1500 to 2000 calories for men. When you commit to a low-calorie diet, your daily choices will demand healthier options. For example, maybe you’ll pick a side salad instead of French fries. 

Many popular fast-food chains now offer low-calorie fast food options to fit the needs of those on a calorie-reduced diet. You can usually find salads, grilled chicken instead of fried chicken and the opportunity to omit ingredients like cheese and sauces that add extra calories to the count.

A salad is a great low-calorie fast food.
via Canva

The 25 Best Low-Calorie Fast Food Options

1. Cava Greek Salad

The fresh and tangy flavors of the Mediterranean are captured in this low-calorie fast food option. It tastes so nutritious, you won’t even know you’ve ordered it from a fast food restaurant. This scrumptious salad available at Cava is loaded with grilled chicken, tzatziki, feta, cucumber, tomato, Kalamata olives and a light Greek vinaigrette. You can always omit the tzatziki and feta if you want to consume even less calories.

That means a base of romaine and arugula, with hummus and everything that makes a Greek salad so great: grilled chicken, tzatziki, feta, Persian cucumber, tomato, Kalamata olives, Greek vinaigrette.
via Canva

2. Chipotle Chicken Salad

At Chipotle, you can order a salad and add your choice of meat but for the lowest calorie option, opt for the Chipotle chicken salad. This low-calorie fast food meal comes with grilled chicken, fajita vegetables, beans and fresh tomato salsa. Chipotle is also considered one of several low-calorie fast food restaurants, so you’ll likely find other healthy creations here too.

3. Taco Bell Bean Burrito

Taco Bell is known as one of the healthiest fast food chains and one of its most popular low-calorie fast food choices is the bean burrito. With rice, it totals about 480 calories but you can always omit the rice to still savor this tasty protein-packed and filling treat. Taco Bell has earned its place on this list of low-calorie fast food restaurants because of its flexibility and menu options.

Bean burrito is a low-calorie fast food.
via Canva

4. Pizza Hut Medium Thin ‘N Crispy Cheese Pizza

It’s hard to resist the temptation of biting into a hot and cheesy slice of pizza. Thankfully, Pizza Hut has the perfect slice for health-conscious people looking for low-calorie fast food. The Thin ‘N Crispy cheese pizza has only 180 calories, seven grams of fat and 22 grams of carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice when those cravings creep up on you.

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5. Dunkin' Donuts Wake-Up Wrap

Lucky for us, Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t only have doughnuts! When you’re on the go and looking for low-calorie fast food breakfast options, a Wake-Up Wrap will satisfy your hunger and your calorie count. There are several variations to how you can order this wrap to suit your caloric preferences. A simple bacon, egg and cheese wrap has 210 calories which includes 13 grams of fat and 14 grams of carbohydrates.

Wake-Up Wrap® Sandwiches are made with egg and cheese.
via Dunkin' Donuts

6. Burger King Classic Royal Crispy Wrap

You’ll discover that some of the healthiest items at Burger King clock in under 400 calories. The Royal Crispy Wrap, for example, is a low-calorie fast food item that’s only 310 calories. This wrap comes without cheese, a decent 15 grams of protein and only three grams of saturated fat. It’s marketed as a snack wrap, so while it may not suffice as a full meal, it will tie you over when you’re feeling snacky.

7. McDonald’s McChicken Sandwich 

This classic low-calorie fast food option is only 400 calories and contains 14 grams of protein. For a satisfying crunch and juicy, tender chicken, the McChicken checks all the boxes. 

McChicken is a low-calorie fast food item.
via McDonald's

8. Jack in the Box Garden Salad With Grilled Chicken

Jack in the Box has some of the best fast food salads that can be enjoyed as low-calorie fast food items. This salad is a scrumptious choice, with grilled chicken strips, grape tomatoes, shredded carrots and cheddar atop a bed of mixed greens. It has only 200 calories, not including the salad dressing or crunchy toppings, freeing up lots of space on your daily calorie counter.

9. Shake Shack BLT

The Shake Shack BLT is a great low-calorie fast food choice because it has a small number of ingredients yet qualifies as a full meal. The BLT is actually a Shake Shack secret menu item but it’s common so you can simply ask for it and they will prepare it for you. The BLT is about 300 calories with three slices of bacon, tomato and lettuce on a potato bun.

All-natural Applewood Smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce.
via Shake Shack

10. Subway 6-Inch Turkey Breast Sub

Health-conscious individuals frequent Subway for its delicious and filling subs. One of the healthiest items at Subway is the six-inch turkey breast sub. The sub alone is only 280 calories so you’ll have some room to add additional toppings that suit your preference or add a salad on the side. It’s a simple low-calorie fast food option and large enough to be a full meal.

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11. Arby’s Jalapeño Roast Beef Slider

Arby’s jalapeño roast beef slider contains only 220 calories, nine grams of fat and 21 grams of carbohydrates. It’s a low-calorie fast food snack option that comes packed with flavor. This delightful sandwich comes with roast beef, jalapeños and melted cheese on a slider bun.

Jalapeño Roast Beef Slider is a low-calorie fast food burger.
via Arby's

12. Taco Bell Crunchy Taco

The Taco Bell crunchy taco is a low-calorie fast food item that you can order two of. It’s just 170 calories and packs eight grams of protein. These crunchy tacos are irresistible, so you’ll likely want to order another. Since it’s so low in calories, you might even choose to add on a side and indulge a little.

13. Panda Express Mixed Veggies & Mushroom Chicken Bowl

You may not know it, but you can score some of the best low-calorie fast foods at Panda Express. The mixed veggie and mushroom chicken bowl is just 250 calories of flavor and goodness. The best part about ordering at Panda Express is that you won’t even feel like you’re eating fast food.

 

Freshly cut and wok-tossed Mixed Veggies in a wok.
via Panda Express

14. Wendy’s Crispy Chicken BLT

The crispy chicken BLT at Wendy’s is a hard-to-beat low-calorie fast food choice. It will fill you up with only 420 calories of goodness and that's with all the ingredients — no omissions! It’s made with applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, American cheese and mayonnaise and is tender and crispy all in one delectable bite. If you prefer to opt for fewer calories, you can always ask for the cheese to be omitted.

15. Wendy’s Apple Pecan Salad

This salad is low in calories but high in fiber and protein. It’s a great low-calorie fast food option that makes a fresh and crispy snack or lunch. It’s 410 calories and is made with a mix of greens, cheese, apples, dried cranberries and grilled chicken breast.   

Apple pecan salad is a low-calorie fast food.
via Wendy's

16. Chick-Fil-A Kale Crunch Salad

Another low-calorie fast food option can be found at the one and only Chick-Fil-A. The Kale Crunch salad is only 170 calories with 12 grams of fat. It’s made with kale, green cabbage and salted almonds which give it its crunch. The savory dressing that tops it is made with apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. It comes without chicken but to make it a meal and increase your protein intake, you can ask for a grilled chicken breast to be added.

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17. Popeyes Red Beans and Rice

Popeye’s red beans and rice is probably the tastiest side dish on the Popeyes menu. It’s your best bet for protein, fiber and low-calorie fast food. This side dish is also a go-to for vegans and vegetarians. Enjoy all 210 delicious calories of it!

Red beans and rice
via Popeyes

18. Taco Bell Veggie Power Bowl

Another good call for vegans and vegetarians is the veggie Power Bowl at Taco Bell. This low-calorie fast food option comes with rice, black beans, guacamole, tomatoes and lettuce, is 420 calories and provides 40% of your daily fiber intake.

19. Starbucks Rolled and Steel Cut Oatmeal

For a hearty, low-calorie fast food breakfast, the Starbucks rolled and steel cut oatmeal won’t disappoint. This breakfast favorite is recommended by doctors and nutritionists because of its high fiber, vitamin and mineral content. Plus, oatmeal assists in lowering cholesterol and weight loss. It’s 160 calories and is made with water but you can request milk to be added for a creamier texture as long as you're okay with adding a few extra calories.

Rolled Steel-Cut Oatmeal is a low-calorie fast food option.
via Starbucks

20. In N Out Protein Style Burger

At this beloved burger joint, you can order their smash-style burger minus the bun. That’s where the name Protein Style burger comes from. This low-calorie fast food choice is packed with protein and low on carbs. A great choice for health-conscious people wanting to make gains.

21. Wendy’s Small Chili

For an adequate dose of protein and fiber, Wendy’s chili is a side that can pose as a meal or a snack while staying under 250 calories. If you need a warm and hearty bowl of goodness, this is it.

A cup of spicy stew with ground beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, pepper.
via Wendy's

22. Sonic Spicy Chicken Slinger

Sonic managed to pack all the flavor you crave into these tempting little sandwiches that are just 350 calories. This low-calorie fast food option is perfect if you’re feeling a little spicy. It’s a breaded chicken breast topped with spicy ranch and pickles, and it's the perfect size for a light bite.

23. Popeyes Blackened Tenders

The Popeye’s blackened tenders are a lower-calorie alternative to the classic tenders since they are not battered and fried. Tasty and healthy, these five tenders are only 280 calories. A mouthwatering break from a burger, they pair perfectly with a regular coleslaw at just 140 calories. You can add hot sauce to give them some more zing if you like.

The Popeye’s Blackened Tenders are a lower-calorie option to the classic tenders as they are not battered and fried.
via Popeyes

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24. Carl's Jr. Double Cheeseburger

If you can’t avoid the enticing call of a succulent and juicy burger, a Carl's Jr. double cheeseburger is the way to go. You don’t have to feel bad for indulging because it’s still under 400 calories, clocking in at only 380 calories of burger delight. Enjoy it.

25. Chick-Fil-A Chick-N-Strips

Fresh, tender and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside, you can’t just eat one Chick-Fil-A Chick-N-Strip. But that’s okay because a full order is just 310 calories. This low-calorie fast food option has always come through for health-conscious individuals.

Boneless chicken tenders seasoned to perfection, freshly breaded and pressure cooked in 100% refined peanut oil.
via Chick-Fil-A

Learn To Cook Healthy Food

Fast food options are convenient and with the ever-expanding fast food industry, it’s easier than it’s ever been to find low-calorie fast food choices. But how amazing would it be to learn essential skills for easily crafting healthy food at home? Making your own healthy food has many benefits, including convenience and saving money. Other great benefits you’ll receive from making healthy food at home are more mindful consumption and gratitude, and you’ll get to channel your love and flair into your creations. Look for a cooking class near you to discover more.

Fast food is a modern convenience that has become popular over the years because it’s easy and quick. Nowadays you can find almost anything to suit your preferences and diet. Eating out doesn’t have to be unhealthy and by selecting healthier foods and tweaking some ingredients, it’s easier to keep the calorie count down and rewards high. It should feel easy to be healthy and enjoy a healthier lifestyle by exploring some of these low-calorie fast food choices. 

For even more ways to explore your favorite foods, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.