Heidi-Approved (& Macro-Friendly) Fast Food Picks

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In a dream world, full of endless time and unlimited organization, each of my meals would be perfectly prepared, measured out with a food scale, and hot ‘n fresh exactly when I need it. But of course, as a busy, working mom of 4, this is the furthest thing from my reality most days. Although I really do try to make each meal at home, often I am caught in between dropping Marley at gymnastics and sending Matix off to football with only a few minutes to eat. In these situations, I turn to my hit list?my top macro-friendly fast food choices. Whether you are training for a physique show like me, or on your way to losing weight, these top 5 choices are the bomb.com com for any diet…with both high- and low-carb options.

I still try to limit my eating on-the-go to a minimum, but when I’m in a pinch, these are the best options. And I must tell you, these babies are lifesavers for me. I know I’m not the only busy mama in need of the occasional quick fix, so I’m breaking down some healthy options that’ll keep your bellies full and your goals on track.

Since sometimes there’s no predicting when a busy schedule is going to strike, I tried to include an option for both a high- and low-carb day for each fast food restaurant, as well as the breakdown of each item’s macros. Check it out below!!


Starbucks: Okay, if you’ve spent even a few minutes browsing through my social media, you know I am a MAJOR self-proclaimed Starbucks addict. I’ll admit, I need an extra dose of caffeine to get through some of my busiest days. After trying a few different options, I’ve found my go-to low-cal, low-fat coffee option that still tastes amazing! Occasionally, when there’s no time to cook breakfast, or even lunch, I’ll grab one of their delish breakfast sandwiches too. Beware, some of their sandwiches, although they look amazing, are full of fat and unwanted calories, but luckily, the Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Sandwich fits perfectly into my meal plan and is so good no matter what time of day. The only caution I have here?high sodium. Almost ALL fast food options will be though.

What I order:

Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich
230 cals, 6g F, 28g C, 13g P

Grande Iced Coffee, no Classic, 1 pump of Mocha
25 cal, .5g F, 6g C, .2g P

Chipotle: As a true AZ girl, Mexican food is my weakness. When the craving strikes and there’s just no taming it, a healthy option from Chipotle is my go-to. Although, if you don’t watch what you order, Chipotle can quickly become a threat to your diet. There are surprisingly quite a few options to keep you on the lighter side. My choice??The Burrito Bowl! Packed full of grilled chicken, brown rice, black beans, shredded lettuce, and a couple kinds of salsa, this bad boy totally curbs my cravings and fills me up. Love it!


What I order:

Burrito Bowl with grilled chicken, brown rice, ?black beans, grilled veggies, lettuce, pico de gallo
515 cals, 12.5g. F, 64g C, 44g P

In ?n Out: This is hands down one of Chris’ and my absolute favorite indulgences, fast food or not! I mean, who doesn’t love a good burger? The best part is that you can snag a satisfying burger without breaking the caloric bank…as long as you know how to order correctly. Beware of fatty spreads and greasy fries?they’re like a hidden caloric bomb and will absolutely kill your diet! Trying to cut carbs? No stress, this place has got you covered! Order it “protein style” to omit the bun and have your burger wrapped in a piece of crisp lettuce instead.


What I order:

High-carb day:

Single hamburger, animal style, no spread, add ketchup and mustard?NO ONIONS (okay, the onions are a personal preference, I just can’t stand onion breath. It lingers for days!!!)
310 cals, 10g F, 41g C, 16g P

Low-carb day:

Single cheeseburger, protein style, animal style, no spread, add ketchup and mustard?NO ONIONS.
245 cals, 16g F, 11g C, 18g P

Chick-Fil-A: Chris’ guilty pleasure..all day long, baby! On any given cheat day, you can find Chris rolling through a Chick-Fil-A drive thru window ordering up a big shake and a tasty sandwich. In fact, he’s been busted a few times with tagged pics on social media. Haha! But if it’s NOT a cheat day, there are still plenty of yummy, healthy options here! My personal favorite is the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich, but beware they have a “Club” version that adds bacon and cheese, making it a poor nutritional option in my opinion. On a low-carb day, their grilled nuggets are my saving grace! Occasionally I’ll grab these on the way home and throw in a big salad for some extra protein. Delish!


What I order:

High-carb day:

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich with ketchup and mustard
310 cals, 3.5g F, 46g C, 29g P

Low-carb day:

Grilled Nuggets
140 cals, 3g F, 4g c, 23g P

Never again can you use the excuse that you didn’t have any healthy options available! So when you forget to pack, prep, and bring your food with you, use this guide to help you choose wisely on-the-go. Tell me some of your fave healthy options on-the-go below!!



Related reading:

My Favorite Fast Food
Tip of The Day: Curb Those Cravings!
Kitchen Hacks: My Top 8 Tips and Tricks!


40 Responses

  1. A couple of questions from a fellow Phx Area foodie! We?re going to an event at Carlos O?Brien?s this afternoon/evening. I am gluten intolerant and usually get a curb tortilla taco ? at Mexican places. Is that the best bet? And what should I do for drinks? I mean towards margaritas but not sure if they have a light one.

    Also, for In N Out, how are you getting an animal style with no onions? Is it just pickles? (I love ? pickles!! I always get protein style and may try animal style tomorrow)

  2. Hi I have just read your book Extreme Transformation. I’m in the process of trying to lose weight and would like to do it in a healthy way. I have the exercise part pretty well down and I have currently just been Counting calories which has been working to lose the weight I currently way 72kgs and have been consuming roughly 740cals a day and am losing 1.5kgs a week sorry from Australia not sure the lbs. however I know the food is not real healthy and I would like to follow the diet plan you have in the book. but my problem is that I am the most fussiest eater and there is not very much food I actually like especially food that is good for you. Just the idea of even trying new foods tends to freak me out. So I was wondering if you guys had any tips for me to get over this food fear? So I can try to do it the right way.

    1. Hi Renee: Here’s a post that offers several options for meal planning on the Extreme Cycle, and I think it will help you figure out how to plan your meals with foods you like: https://heidipowell.net/10617. And keep in mind that you’ll eat around 1500 calories every day, except for your reward day, where you’ll eat up to 1000 extra calories. You can do this!

  3. Love this post! Thanks for sharing your guilty pleasures as we all have them… good choices, especially the Chipotle! Everyone deserves their cheats and treats πŸ˜‰

  4. Im confused on how you ordered. Why does it mention for both High Carbs and Low Carb Days that you can eat Fat, Carbs and Protein? I Thought the whole point of High carb was no fat and the whole point of Low Carb was no carb. Please do advise me. What is the ‘g’ about and how do I count those?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi H: The “g” is an abbreviation for grams. Since Heidi is macro counting (https://heidipowell.net/10990 and https://heidipowell.net/11127), she has a “bank” of proteins, carbs, and fats for the day, and her goal is to hit those numbers, in whatever combinations, each day. These two links I shared will hopefully help you understand how this works. If you’re following any of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles (https://heidipowell.net/2713), then you’ll follow the macros recommendations for each meal. Hope this helps!

  5. This is such great info and it will come in handy while traveling and on the 21 day cycle! If you have any more info and tips on meal prep and travelling that would be awesome!

  6. I’m having a hard time starting my macro diet. I’m eating a 100g of each a day, I just don’t have any quick ideas for breakfast?! Any suggestions anyone

    1. Hi Melissa: Heidi loves the iced coffee with one pump of mocha and no sweetener. Hope that helps!

  7. Does anyone have ideas for a protein bar, or something that can travel and doesn’t need to be refrigerated? I have to travel for work soon and need to be able to purchase things at the store that can go without being refrigerated for several days. Also would be great for hiking or backpacking? Any ideas or help would be appreciated! For high carb and low carb meals πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Heather: Here are some on-the-go ideas: protein powder, fruit, veggies, protein bars, nuts, nut butters, air popped popcorn. Hope that helps!

    2. Thanks, Team Powell! That is helpful, except that I’m really overwhelmed by the protein bar aisle at the store. Are there particular brands or ones that are better than others or can be recommended? It’s just so hard to go through all of them!

    3. It can be overwhelming! The key to knowing which bar is best for which type of meal is to look at both the carb and fat content. If more calories come from fat than carbs, then that bar is a good option for a low-carb meal. If the reverse is true, then that bar is a good option for a high-carb meal. Hope that helps!

    4. Heather, Check out Quest Bars. High in protein 21g, low in sugar and actually taste great. Tons of flavor options…cookies n creme, S’more and chocholate chip are my favorites. You do have to go to a nutrition store or online to get them though.

  8. Hi! I know what a big fan of Starbucks Heidi is, but what would be a healthy/delicious option for coffee from Dunkin Donuts?


    1. Hi Rese: Go for something similar to what Heidi gets at Starbucks – plain coffee (iced or not) with no sweetener and mocha. You can also look up Dunkin’ Donuts’ nutrition information for all of their products on their website which can help you make the best choices. Hope that helps!

  9. Hi I just ordered the burrito bowl as you specified for a high carb meal. When I calculated it on chipotles website it said it was 810 calories! Opposed to your 515 calculation. Can I get your thoughts on this. (Hoping I didn’t over do it)

    1. Hi Jodi: I just input what Heidi puts in her burrito bowl on Chipotle’s website and got about what she has listed in the post, so I’m not sure where the 810 calories is coming from. Maybe try it again?

  10. Muscle Maker Grill- El Mexicana 357 calories a serving. Brown Rice, Chicken, Red Beans, Salsa (homemade) a dash of cheese. Sour cream on the side, but I don’t use it.

  11. Awesome on the Chipotle! Double awesome that the Nutpods are a condiment πŸ™‚

    I did look up the So Delicious Creamer and its as follows:

    25 Calories
    1g Fat
    5g Carbs
    4g Sugar

    I am thinking this is a No No!

  12. Hello,

    If I order the burrito bowl without rice would this be okay for a low carb meal?

    Also, I was wondering if you could tell me what “SO Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Creamer” or “Nutpods” fall under so that I may be able to have some coffee? I am getting a lot of headaches and I think its because I haven’t had much coffee because I am unable to drink it black.

    1. Hi Nicole: To make a burrito bowl low-carb, you’d also need to skip the beans. I can’t find a nutrition label for the SO Delicious Creamer, so would you mind replying with that information please? I’ll need the calories, plus fat, carb, and protein grams. The Nutpods can be considered a condiment. ?

  13. In France we haven’t as many fast foods as you have in the US. We only have McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. We also have Starbucks but we have less choices than i can remember Starbucks i used to go when i was living in the US 10 years ago.
    What would you advice?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Magalie: Most fast food restaurants now have their nutritional information online, so I’d check there and decide what you’re going to order before you enter the restaurant.

  14. Love this! Thanks for sharing and explaining exactly what you get at these places. Saving this for future reference! πŸ™‚

  15. This is a great post. I eat like this as well if I have to go to fast food. Especially burgers. I mean the buns and spread kill an otherwise healthy meal.

  16. What is the difference between animal style and protien style? Do you just ask them to make it once way or the other?

    1. Animal style adds dill pickles and grilled onions to the burgers. Protein style means they skip the bun and wrap your burger in iceberg lettuce instead πŸ™‚ both are delish!!

  17. Thanks Heidi for always keeping it real. Chick fila is one of my fave cheats as well. I also made the barbecue chicken pizza. Tonight was stuffed peppers with brown rice and ground turkey. God bless you and Chris for all you do.

  18. Panda Express’ bowls are somewhat healthy and low carb if you skip the rice and get a single entree with the mixed veggies. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh, I should mention, the entree must be something not battered, like the string bean chicken or broccoli beef. They have calories listed on their menu to help people choose healthier options.

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