The Best Trim Healthy Mama Fast Food Choices:
Trim Healthy Mama is a way of life, not a diet, so it’s impractical to expect you’ll never be eating out. We get it! You can’t stay tied to your kitchen. But you can easily eat out on plan as a THM and yes… you can even eat fast food options! This is your resource for how to do it!
Before we list the optimum choices at the most common fast food chains, here are two points to remember:
1. It’s a little harder to do E meals (E meals are energizing meals that include carbs on the THM plan.) when eating out because most fast food restaurants don’t have whole grains or sweet potatoes on the menu. For this reason, most of the choices below are S options (S meals are satisfying meals that include fats on the THM plan). However, we do list some E options that we call an “almost E” or “close-enough”. They’re not perfect but you can get away with them every now and then for a fast food option.
2. Salads are often a great and easy choice at fast food restaurants, but we have a word of caution! It may seem obsessive to worry about little items like croutons, but they can turn a wonderful S weight loss meal into a fat-promoting meal due to their carb content from the white flour. Simply ask them to leave croutons out or toss them off yourself. Also remember to choose a dressing that is not sweet and full of sugar.
McDonald’s & Burger King:
For an S meal, swap out their buns for lettuce, or get a salad with grilled chicken. You can also ask for their breakfast sandwiches to come without the biscuits and buns. Stay away from anything breaded. Another breakfast option is to just ask for eggs, bacon, or sausage by themselves or with a side salad (which they often will serve even during breakfast hours). Or try ordering a breakfast burrito or two with salsa and pour the insides only over a side salad. For an almost E, you can have McDonald’s Egg White Delight. For more protein, ask them to add an extra egg white.
Try their grilled chicken nuggets for an FP, or eat them alongside their fruit cup for an E meal. Many of their salads are on plan. Just skip any sugary dips or dressings, granola or glazed nuts. Another fun option is the Grilled Cool Wrap. They do not advertise it as low-carb, but it is created on a very high fiber wrap, which brings the carbs on the wrap itself down to about 6 net carbs, which will fit the personal choice criteria for low-carb breads. If you order it as is, with a dressing like Avocado Ranch, it will be an S. If you eat it without the dressing and skip the cheese, it can even be FP! A THM favorite way to enjoy it is as a Light S… order it as it comes, but skip the dressing and then dip it in Dijon mustard! YUM!
Hardee’s / Carl’s Jr:
You can ask for any of their burgers to be wrapped in lettuce. Hardee’s has a low-carb breakfast bowl that’s comprised of an omelet, bacon bits, a sausage patty, and Swiss cheese as an S. It may not be shown on their menu, but you can request it. Carl’s Jr. has a Charbroiled Chicken Salad that will be great for an S (due to the cheese and dressing), if you leave out the croutons.
You can either get one of their burgers wrapped in lettuce, or without the bun in a to-go box. Just think of it as a build-your-own-burger-bowl! This would be an S meal. Another fun thing about Five Guys is that you can eat peanuts as a side item! But, skip the fries!
Order grilled chicken instead of fried. A grilled chicken breast or wing can be FP; while a leg or thigh will be an S. You can order a double side of green beans to keep the carbs low if you are feeling hungry… or add corn to make it a Crossover. Most of the other sides items are not on-plan. Leave out the biscuits!
They have a Power Menu Bowl that you customize (just leave out the rice, though you can do a small amount of black beans in an S setting). Consider asking for extra lettuce for filling power. Alternatively, you can order some things a la cart and have them layer it in a bowl for you. An example would be a couple of sides of lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, beef, and sour cream for your own personalized S taco salad.
One of the few Drive Thru’s where you can have an E meal! One small chili will work for an E. Add a side salad with low-fat dressing to make your meal go further to fill you up. Or you could pour the chili over the side salad to create your own version of their Old Fiesta Salad…. Super yummy! Their Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad will work for an S, and so will their Caesar Salad if you leave out the croutons. The same rule applies for getting their burgers without the buns for an S. If you want to add a small chili as a side to that, it would be a Crossover.
You can ask for any of their subs to be made into a salad bowl for an S (when you include cheese and dressing)! For an E, you could also get a 6-inch sub on wheat for an almost E option. Ask them to scoop out the bread in the middle. Choose lean meats, veggies, and a light dressing or mustard, to keep it an E. Add apple slices as a side!
And the list continues…
The entrees with the least amount of sugar are the Kung Pao Chicken, Mushroom Chicken, String Bean Chicken Breast, Beef and Broccoli, and Black Pepper Chicken. Pair any of those with a side of steamed veggies for an S, or half the serving of brown rice for a Crossover (Note: The brown rice is usually not displayed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have it. You will just need to request it.)
Chipotle/Moe’s Southwest Grill:
Both places offer burrito bowls. Just think of it as a build-your-own-taco-salad! Start with lettuce and pick your own toppings. You can make an E bowl if there is an option for lean meats such as grilled chicken or fish. Pair with a small amount of mozzarella or some other low-fat cheese, beans, a little brown rice, and any other veggies. For an S, you can do any of the meats, lots of veggies, grated cheese, sour cream, and guacamole. Keep the beans to a 1/4 cup size for your S… or if you add more it would simply make it a Crossover. Nix the rice if you are having an S.
Drip coffee, Americanos, iced coffee, and teas, are all the obvious choice for drinks. For creamer, you can add half and half, or ask for heavy cream, if you want it to be an S drink. If they don’t have any on-plan sweeteners, bring a packet of your own THM approved sweetener to sweeten it with (brands that use stevia or erythritol or use THM’s own packets of Super Sweet Blend or Gentle Sweet that you can find on our website). Skip the lattes as the milk is weight promoting. Even the almond milk and coconut milk are not likely to be “unsweetened”, and their sugar-free syrups are not on-plan as they are artificially sweetened. For Breakfast: their Classic Oatmeal (not the Hearty Blueberry) will work for an E if you leave out the optional brown sugar… the same rule applies for sweetening it with your own sweetener. Like McDonald’s Egg White Delight, Starbucks has a Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon & Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Sandwich you can use for an occasional almost E. The Sous Vide Egg Bites: Egg White & Red Pepper are a light S. The Sous Vide Egg Bites: Bacon & Gruyere are an S.
Sorry to disappoint you, but none of their donuts are on plan! That doesn’t mean you can never go there, however! Most of their breakfast options, as long as you ask for it to be served without the bread are good S options. Example: Ask for their Sausage Egg & Cheese (no croissant). Good news for coffee lovers, their flavor shots are completely unsweetened, so you can enjoy those in your hot or iced coffees and add your own sweetener, if desired.
Denny’s/Waffle House/IHOP (International House of Pancakes):
Denny’s has a build-your own Grand Slam, where you can choose from S options like eggs, bacon, sausage and ham, or you can get their omelets… no toast for an S.
At Waffle House, you can also request their omelets without the toast and hash browns. To make the omelet go further, you can ask for a side of chili on top of a cheese-omelet for a chili-cheese omelet as an S! Waffle House also offers steaks. Get the garden salad for the side, but once again, no hash browns or toast. You can get their grilled chicken or ask for any of their burgers without the buns.
At IHOP, their omelets are not on-plan since they add pancake batter to the egg mixture. But we’ve heard that you can request they make their own omelets “eggs only”, just make sure they’re pretty clear that means no pancake batter. Their Simple & Fit 2-Egg Breakfast with egg whites, turkey bacon, whole wheat toast, and mixed fruit can work for an E. Usually THM only encourages sprouted or whole wheat sourdough bread on plan. The bread in this meal is not perfect, but it can sneak in for an every now and then options. You could also get creative with IHOP’s breakfast and ask for your own on-plan side combos – like scrambled eggs with cheese on top, a side of avocado, a side of strawberries (no glaze), and a side of bacon or sausage. You can also get their T-bone steak and eggs for an S, if you leave out the side of pancakes. Their Grilled Chicken & Veggie salad is an S, if you leave out the vinaigrette or sub it for something that doesn’t have sugar. As for entrees, the Tilapia Florentine is on-plan if you sub the mashed potatoes. The Sirloin Steak Tips is an S but sub the mashed potatoes and buttered corn for something with less carbs like their side salad (or keep the corn to make it a Crossover). You could also ask for their steak burgers to be served without the buns.
Panera Bread works best with E meals. Their Black Bean Soup, Vegan Lentil Quinoa, or Lentil Quinoa with Chicken Broth Bowls could be paired with a half turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, or a light salad.
Jimmy John’s/Jersey Mike’s/Firehouse Subs:
Many sub shops offer their sandwiches to be made into a salad bowl, making an S option very easy. And Jimmy John’s offers an “unwhich” (sub served in lettuce).