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High-Protein Fast Food: Choices That Support Your Health Goals

By Amber Jones

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This article was created after thorough research and has been improved with the assistance of AI technology. Furthermore, our dedicated editorial team has meticulously fact-checked and polished its content for accuracy and clarity.

In today’s fast-paced world, finding time to prepare nutritious meals can be challenging. Busy schedules often lead to relying on fast food for convenience, but this doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your health goals. Many fast-food chains have recognized the growing demand for protein-rich options and have adapted their menus accordingly. With a little know-how, you can navigate the drive-thru and still meet your daily protein requirements.

Key takeaways:

Fast food chains have evolved to offer healthier, high-protein options to cater to the needs of health-conscious consumers. This evolution allows individuals to maintain a balanced diet even when dining on-the-go.
Incorporating high-protein fast food meals into your diet can provide convenience, satiety, and support for muscle growth and repair, especially for those with busy schedules or active lifestyles.
While high-protein fast food can be a convenient option, it’s essential to prioritize moderation and balance by incorporating home-cooked meals with fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients for overall health and well-being.

As stated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and supporting a healthy immune system.” Ensuring adequate protein intake is vital for maintaining overall health and supporting an active lifestyle.

“Fast food has come a long way in recent years,” says Dr. Lisa Drayer, a registered dietitian and author. “Many chains now offer healthier options, including high-protein choices, to cater to the growing demand for more nutritious meals on-the-go.” With a little creativity and knowledge, you can find satisfying and protein-packed options at your favorite fast-food spots.

Importance Of High-Protein Diets

High-protein diets have gained popularity due to their numerous benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “A diet rich in protein can help build and maintain lean muscle mass, support weight loss efforts, and promote feelings of fullness and satiety.”

Adequate protein intake is especially crucial for individuals engaged in regular exercise or physical activity. As mentioned by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Protein supports muscle growth and repair, making it essential for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.”

Evolution Of Fast Food: From Convenience to Nutrition

Fast food has long been associated with unhealthy choices, but the industry has been evolving to meet the changing demands of health-conscious consumers. Many chains now offer a variety of protein-rich options, making it easier to maintain a balanced diet even when dining on the go.

High-Protein Fast Food Meals

“The fast-food industry has recognized the need for more nutritious options,” says Dr. Rachel Paul, a nutrition expert. “By providing high-protein meals, they are catering to a growing demographic of consumers who prioritize their health and fitness goals while still seeking convenience.”

10 High-Protein Fast Food Meals

Chipotle Burrito Bowl with Chicken and Sofritas

  • Protein: 46-56 grams (depending on portion size)
  • Chipotle’s burrito bowls allow for customization, making it easy to load up on protein-rich ingredients like chicken, sofritas (plant-based protein), and black or pinto beans.

Chick-fil-A Grilled Nuggets

  • Protein: 25-98 grams (depending on portion size)
  • These grilled chicken nuggets are a healthier alternative to the fried version, providing a substantial amount of protein without the added fat and calories from breading.

Panera Bread Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli Bowl

  • Protein: 46 grams
  • This bowl combines grilled chicken with nutrient-dense ingredients like broccoli, brown rice, and quinoa, making it a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Starbucks Protein Boxes

  • Protein: 20-26 grams (depending on variety)
  • Starbucks’ protein boxes offer a convenient and balanced combination of protein sources like eggs, cheese, and nut butter, along with fresh fruits and whole-grain crackers.

Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich

  • Protein: 28 grams
  • A simple yet satisfying option, Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich provides a good dose of protein without excessive fat or calories.

Subway Rotisserie-Style Chicken Sandwich

  • Protein: 25-42 grams (depending on portion size)
  • Subway’s rotisserie-style chicken sandwich is a protein-packed choice, and you can add extra veggies for added nutrients and fiber.

Taco Bell Power Menu Bowl

  • Protein: 26-37 grams (depending on portion size)
  • This bowl combines chicken or steak with beans, rice, and veggies, providing a balanced meal with a considerable amount of protein.

McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

  • Protein: 17 grams
  • A classic breakfast option, the Egg McMuffin offers a decent amount of protein from eggs, Canadian bacon, and cheese, making it a satisfying start to the day.

Burger King Impossible Whopper

  • Protein: 25 grams
  • For those seeking a plant-based option, the Impossible Whopper is a surprisingly protein-rich choice, made with soy and potato protein.

Panda Express Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

  • Protein: 36 grams
  • Panda Express’ grilled teriyaki chicken is a leaner alternative to their fried options, providing a substantial amount of protein without excessive fat or calories.

Related: How To Lose Weight Naturally? 20 Easy Ways That Actually Work!

    Quick High-Protein Meals You Can Make

    While fast food can be a convenient option, preparing meals at home allows for greater control over ingredients and nutrition. Here are some quick and easy high-protein meal ideas you can whip up in no time:

    1. Grilled Chicken and Veggie Skewers: Marinate chicken breast in your favorite seasonings, thread onto skewers with bell peppers, zucchini, and onions, and grill for a protein-packed and flavorful meal.
    2. Overnight Oats with Protein Powder: Combine rolled oats, protein powder, milk or plant-based milk, and your favorite toppings like berries and nuts for a grab-and-go breakfast packed with protein.
    3. Tuna or Salmon Avocado Boats: Stuff avocado halves with canned tuna or salmon, diced tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon for a simple yet satisfying high-protein snack or light meal.
    4. Greek Yogurt Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries, granola, and a drizzle of honey for a protein-rich and nutritious parfait.
    5. Lentil and Quinoa Salad: Combine cooked lentils, quinoa, diced vegetables, and a vinaigrette dressing for a plant-based, protein-packed salad that can be meal-prepped in advance.

    Benefits Of High-Protein Fast Food

    While fast food may not be the healthiest choice for every meal, incorporating high-protein fast food options into your diet can offer several benefits:

    1. Convenience: Fast food provides a convenient solution when time is limited, ensuring you don’t skip meals or make unhealthy choices due to hunger.
    2. Satiety: Protein is known for its ability to promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction, which can help prevent overeating and support weight management goals.
    3. Muscle Support: Adequate protein intake is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, especially for those who engage in regular exercise or strength training.
    4. Variety: Many fast-food chains now offer a range of protein-rich options, allowing for variety in your diet and preventing boredom or burnout.

    As Dr. Drayer notes, “While fast food should not be a daily habit, incorporating high-protein options from reputable chains can be a convenient and satisfying solution when you’re short on time or options.”


    In the ever-evolving world of fast food, finding high-protein options has become easier than ever before. By making informed choices and being mindful of portion sizes and additional ingredients, you can enjoy the convenience of fast food while still meeting your daily protein needs.

    Remember, moderation is key, and fast food should be enjoyed as an occasional treat rather than a daily habit. Whenever possible, prioritize home-cooked meals using fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients for optimal health and well-being.

    As the CDC advises, “A balanced diet that includes a variety of protein sources, along with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, is essential for maintaining overall health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.” (https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/protein-intake.html)


    1. What fast foods have most protein?

    The article lists several high-protein fast food options, including Chipotle burrito bowls with chicken or sofritas (46-56g protein), Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets (25-98g), Panera’s Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli Bowl (46g), and Taco Bell’s Power Menu Bowl (26-37g).

    2. What fast food to eat after gym? 

    Good post-workout options mentioned are Chipotle burrito bowls with chicken or sofritas, Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets, and Panda Express’ Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (36g protein).

    3. What fast food can bodybuilders eat?

    Bodybuilders can opt for high-protein fast food choices like Chipotle burrito bowls, Chick-fil-A grilled nuggets, Panera’s Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli Bowl, and Taco Bell’s Power Menu Bowl.

    4. What easy food has the most protein?

    The article suggests quick high-protein meals like grilled chicken and veggie skewers, overnight oats with protein powder, tuna/salmon avocado boats, Greek yogurt parfaits, and lentil and quinoa salads.

    4. How to get 150g of protein a day?

    The article does not specifically address this, but mentions that a balanced diet with a variety of protein sources, along with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, is essential for meeting protein needs.

    5. What does 30 grams of protein look like?

    The article does not provide a visual representation of 30 grams of protein, but lists the protein content of various fast food items, such as a Chipotle burrito bowl with chicken or sofritas (46-56g) or a Chick-fil-A grilled nugget serving (25-98g).

    Amber Jones

    Amber Jones is a highly experienced and trusted registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist. With over 12 years in clinical practice, she has helped countless individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through tailored nutrition plans and lifestyle modifications.

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