When you are in a rush and just need something to eat quickly, what do you turn to? Fast food. When you just don’t feel like cooking and are looking for an easy meal option, what do you do then? Fast food. When you are on the road traveling and need to stop somewhere to grab a bite to eat, then what do you do? Grab some fast food of course!
There are so many reasons why people turn to fast food and the most obvious one is pure convenience. Fast food is named “fast food” a reason, afterall! It is quick, reliable and almost always available wherever you go. However, no matter how much you love fast food, you are probably well aware that it is not the healthiest option out there. Fast food tends to be loaded with carbs, fats and additives that you may not want to be consuming, especially the carbs.
Yet, despite the health ramifications, everything from pizza recipes and tacos to gyros and buffalo wings, fast food is a tasty treat and is actually a standard part of modern life for people on the go. Almost everyone stops to pick up some fast food now and again. It is just so easy! No need to pack a lunch or make breakfast before heading to work when you know there is a fast food restaurant on your way.
There are also just so many fast food options available now that it is hard to compete in your own kitchen. How can you possibly make a variety of food that can compare to the quantity and choices of fast foods that are around? You can have burgers for lunch and then switch to Asian cuisine for dinner. Pancakes for breakfast, wings for lunch and then pizza for dinner- all without cooking a single thing! You would literally have to spend all day in the kitchen in order to make all of these foods. Then there would be a big mess to clean up, dishes to do, and you’d immediately have to start cooking for the next meal!
Also, while you may be a great chef, chances are the fast food you whip up isn’t guaranteed to taste great. When you just go to a fast food restaurant, you know exactly what you are going to get every time- consistency is key in a lot of those restaurants! No matter what fast food you choose, it is almost guaranteed to taste soooo good. One of the reasons fast food tastes amazing the second it hits your mouth is all that grease and sugar that they pack into every bite. it is hard to resist! Convenient, consistent and delicious….this sounds hard to beat.
However, once you do start thinking about what you are eating and really consider the fast food in your hand, you may realize that these restaurant favorites can be nutritional disasters. This is especially true for someone who is trying to stick to a diet especially a low carb one. You aren’t going to find may low carb options on any fast food menu no matter how hard you try. Thanks to their high content of fats, carbs and salt, they are largely off limits to health conscious dieters hoping to avoid simple carbs and other unhealthful ingredients. So while that food may taste good for a second, you are going to regret the decision to eat fast food later on down the road.
Eating a lot of fast food has been directly linked to obesity, heart issues and high blood pressure. In addition to these very serious long term issues, fast food just doesn’t make you feel very good after you eat. Have you ever had a big fast food meal and then felt a little sick afterward? That is most likely because you just consumed such a high amount of fats and sugars that your body is in shock and trying to process all the unnatural substances inside it. That feeling is something that you can surely do without!
Fast food also tends to move through your body quite quickly which means shortly after eating, you may feel hungry again. It is just simply not very filling. You don’t want to eat another meal a few minutes later, right? So why choose fast food in the first place? Oh yea, because it just tastes…so….good!
So there are clearly many reasons why you may want to eat fast foods and that is why there are fast food restaurants everywhere- people love them! Yet, you also can see all of the reasons not to eat fast food (and there are even more that we will get into later!) especially when you are trying to stick to a low carb diet. Low carb eating is already hard enough and now you’re going to take away fast food too! What is left to eat? What will you do without the convenience, taste and ease of fast food? Maybe give up that low carb diet…
Don’t quit just yet! If you can’t imagine life without fast food then you are in luck! There are better options that are just as quick and just as tasty. It may seem impossible but it is true. These amazing fast food recipes will help you fill our need for those fast food flavors while eating much healthier. In fact, all of these recipes are not only copy cats of regular fast food in taste but they are also all low carb. It is like a true miracle!
These fast food options that you can make or buy will satisfy your need for fast food flavor but in a healthful way. They have all found ways to cut back on the carbs that traditional fast foods are filed with. In fact, it is not that hard to do. For example, while many fast food restaurants put sugars and corn syrup into their sauces, these recipes do not. Why do you need corn syrup in your ketchup anyway? Isn’t ketchup just suppose to be made mainly of tomatoes? Goodbye to those unnecessary carbs!
A lot of these recipes also try to skip the breads and tortillas that you find in fast foods often. Things like burger buns and taco shells just won’t do when you are on a low carb diet. You may be wondering how you would eat a fast food burger then with no bun. Well, you can find a good low carb bun in a grocery store near you (there are actually a low of options), try a lower carb pita bread or give a lettuce wrap a try. You will find a lot of options in these recipes that will surprise and excite you. Aren’t regular old burger buns pretty boring anyway? It is time for something new!
These recipes and ideas are not only healthy but they are also quick to make (aka fast food!). Of course that is one of the requirements of all the foods on this list! It can’t be considered fast food if it takes hours to prepare no matter how similar it tastes to traditional fast food. While there may be a recipe out there for a mirror image KFC chicken wing, if it takes two hours to prepare, no one is going to make it, no matter how good it is.
In order for any of these recipes to be desirable to the typical fast food goer, they need to be fast or else everyone will just quit their diet and go back to those restaurants. No matter how much you want to eat healthier and have a good low carb diet, your will may lose to the convenience of other foods. It is hard for anyone to diet, to fight cravings, to change their habits and when you are also trying to fight time in order to make foods, things can just naturally fall apart. No one wants to see you fail which is why these fast food style recipes have also been screened for time. They won’t take long, they are not hard and you can easily make them whenever you get that fast food craving.
So now that you have started on your low carb quest, don’t get too upset just yet thinking that you will never again enjoy your favorite types of fast food! You will now be able to make it yourself and in a way that will make your body proud. Everything from pizza recipes to low carb fried chicken to low carb breakfasts are in here. You’re whole arsenal of recipes you eat everyday is about to change for the better! Not only are you getting healthier recipes but you are likely to find new things that you have never tried before. So you have your classic fast food favorites and some new fast foods that will bring a welcomed change to your diet. This list has it all!
While these meals are quick to put together, you may of course lose a little of the convenience of pulling up to a drive through and instantly being handed your food. There really isn’t a way to compete with that. However, a little planning ahead is all you need to combat this problem. The easiest way to do this is to sit down at the beginning of the week (maybe on a Sunday before you go back to work) and think about what you want to eat the rest of the week. Do you want burgers? Lettuce wraps? Sushi? Whatever it is, write it down. Don’t forget to think about every meal too (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!). From there, make your grocery list for the week and go low carb shopping!
Once you have your meals planned out, make as much as you can ahead of time and have it ready to go in the fridge. You can mix up burger patties and even grill them then store them in the fridge or freezer to take out and heat up at your convenience. You can mix up the seasonings you need to roast a chicken so all you have to do later on is sprinkle it on and bake. You can prebake a big batch of low carb pita breads and flat breads to have readily available for all kinds of sandwiches and wraps throughout the week. All of these little things will help you later on make your food more convenient and fast food worthy.
It can be a great idea to dedicate one afternoon to doing all of this meal prep. Spend a few hours in the kitchen, having fun and cooking up some delicious foods. Then, you are all set and ready for your week ahead! WHen you are craving fast food, just pull up next to your fridge, open it up and grab what you need. It’s just like driving up to a fast food window! When you find a food that you really like, always make extra, freeze it and then you can eat it anyday, any time!
While changing the way you cook and eat to be compliant with your new diet may sound challenging, it is worth it. And besides, isn’t that what dieting is all about? Changing your eating habits to be healthy is not something you can just do overnight! Planning what you eat and really thinking about your low carb options takes time and commitment. However, these recipes will have you excited to cook, excited to eat and definitely excited at the end of the day when you reach your fitness goals! Once you change your daily habits and start planning and cooking ahead of time in a low carb way, you will get fast in the kitchen too. It will no longer seem like a challenge but a fun game. How much can you get prepped in one day? HOw many fast food meals can you stock in your fridge. Can you think of any new creative recipes on your own? You’ll be a low carb pro chef in no time!
So what are you waiting for?! It is time to ditch those easy fast food lunches that make you feel sick after eating and switch over to something that is so much better. Goodbye to the health problems associated with fast food restaurants and fast food dining and say hello to health “fast foods” that you can make yourself. Say goodbye to spending lots of money at the drive through and start getting more bang for your buck in the supermarket. You will be surprised by how much you love these recipes and how much they taste like that fast food you crave! TIme to start cooking!
Best Ways to Make Your Own Low-Carb Fast Food Meals
1. Wraps in Peanut Sauce
Rich in vitamins A, E and K, collard greens have been called one of the world’s healthiest foods. Stuffed with fresh vegetables and fiber rich quinoa or hummus, fresh collard leaves make a sturdy, nutritious substitute for high carb sandwich wraps such as pitas or tortillas. Goodbye tortillas and hello tasty collards! Accompanied by a simple peanut sauce of peanut butter and a touch of maple syrup, these wraps make tasty quick low-carb meals.
2. Spicy Asian Chicken Salad
Taking just five minutes to prepare, this spicy salad is free of gluten, dairy and sugar – and carbs. Shredded rotisserie chicken and prepared salad mixes combine with Asian style seasonings including soy sauce and ginger for a quick low-carb fast food meal that gets a little kick from a bit of jalapeno. The entire dish can be tossed together in a plastic freezer bag to mix ingredients before serving this salad (how easy is that!)– one of the healthiest low-carb fast food ideas around!
3. Veggie “Sushi” Rolls
An Asian restaurant staple and fast food favorite, sushi rolls consist of raw fish wrapped in sheets of nori, a nutrient-rich seaweed. This quick variation on traditional sushi rolls combines avocado and fresh vegetables with a tamari and mustard based sauce for a nutritious and filling low-carb meal. Like traditional sushi, these rolls are wrapped in nori, a seaweed rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Mashed avocado delivers healthy Omega 3 oils and fiber, and alfalfa (or any other sprout you like) adds protein and fiber in one of the easiest low-carb fast food options. Even if you have never made sushi before, you will be able to master these rolls quickly.
Related: Tasty salmon cake patty recipe
4. Chipotle Turkey Burgers With Guacamole
Spicy peppers and guacamole add a southwestern kick to a low-fat, low-carb turkey burger that can be garnished with bacon, lettice, tomato..whatever you’d like! Lean ground turkey is mixed with chipotle peppers and garlic into patties and then grilled. Sprouted grain hamburger buns make this dish low-carb, not no-carb, but also add filling fiber and protein for an amazing, healthy Mexican style burger.
5. Low-carb Baked Chicken Tenders
A savory crust made of Parmesan cheese, parsley and spices replaces the breading in traditional chicken tender recipes and keeps this version virtually carb free. Fresh chicken tenders are dipped in butter, rolled in the crust mixture and then baked, not fried, for a healthy low-carb fast food option that ‘s an alternative to regular chicken tenders. No one needs those breaded, tasteless tenders you can get at a drive through anymore!
6. Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
Lettuce is a favorite addition to many low-carb food ideas. Lightly sautéed shrimp and fresh vegetables are wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves for one of the easiest low-carb fast food meals. These wraps combine antioxidant rich carrots, cucumber and cilantro with leafy romaine lettuce and high protein shrimp. Olive oil and avocado add heart healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Dip wraps in a spicy peanut-ginger sauce for a fast meal that’s virtually carb free. Consider wrapping other veggies in these leaves too to keep this recipe fresh.
7. Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks
Cheesy breadsticks make an amazing fast food appetizer but it comes with a hefty serving of simple carbs and calories. This version delivers breadstick taste without a bit of bread- how incredible! Versatile and nutritious, cauliflower substitutes for carb-rich pasta and rice in many low-carb fast food meals. Here, riced cauliflower combines with eggs, garlic and mozzarella cheese to make a bread free bread stick that’s baked, then topped with more cheese for one of the easiest low-carb fast food options for lunch or a snack. All that cheese is irresistable
8. Cauliflower Crust Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a fast food staple but the bread adds so many carbs. What to do?! This version replaces bread with a crusty alternative made from that low-carb staple riced cauliflower mixed with eggs and spices. This cauliflower mix is than shaped into bread-style slices and baked until golden. The “bread” slices are topped with sharp cheddar cheese and grilled for a carb-free and fiber rich alternative to traditional grilled cheese sandwiches. Carb free grilled cheese- now that is a fast food miracle.
9. Egg and Avocado Wrap
Sometimes a bread substitute just won’t do. But there’s a paleo and low-carb friendly alternative from Flatout that still meets the requirements of low-carb cooking. Rich in protein and healthy oils, this egg and avocado wrap relies on Flatout’s low-carb sandwich wraps to keep it low-carb and high fiber. Boiled egg and avocado slices combine with hot Sriracha sauce onions, cilantro and bacon for a healthy fast breakfast that’s low in carbs. Keep these wraps in mind for other low carb dishes as well! See also our tasteful Paleo Muffin breakfast recipes for those on a natural diet.
10. Low-Carb Cauliflower Hummus Recipe
One of the most versatile low-carb foods, high fiber cauliflower is a major player in low-carb cooking. It can substitute for pasta, rice, or just about any starch. In this easy recipe, it fills in for the relatively high carb chickpeas in an easy and tasty hummus recipe. Cooked pureed cauliflower is mixed with olive oil, tahini and spices to create a quick basic hummus that could be easily enhanced by the addition of roasted red peppers, garlic or other spicy veggies. Use it as a spread or sandwich topping for a low calorie and low-carb addition to other recipes. Dip some veggies in it for a fantastic quick snack.
More low-carb fast food recipes on the next page…
11. Taco Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
Tacos are a fast food favorite, but taco shells add carbs. Wrapping high protein, high fiber vegetarian ingredients in a “wrap” of fresh butter lettuce leaves makes a quick, healthier alternative that still delivers that spicy, cheesy taco taste without the fat and calories. Mushrooms, black beans, corn and other vegetables make a meat free filling that includes healthy fats from avocado slices and coconut oil. Top each wrap with shredded cheese for a very low-carb, tasty fast food alternative that’s also vegetarian friendly. Try the recipe with added ground beef for a meatier version of a healthy wrap.
12. Low-carb Pancake Sandwich
Muffin type sandwiches are a popular fast food breakfast option – but those muffins are high in carbs. Is it possible to have a low carb, fast food type muffin? This low-carb breakfast sandwich variation offers a new take on the classic sausage and egg fast food version. The pancake “bun” is made with another staple of low carb foods – almond flour, with a bit of pork rind and maple syrup for that traditional breakfast taste. The pancake sandwich is filled with sausage, egg and cheese for a fast, low-carb meal. Close your eyes and take a bit- it’s just like at a fast food restaurant! If you like this pancake sandwich then our top 50 out of the world pancake recipes is a must see.
13. Pickle Brined Fried Chicken
Traditional fried chicken recipes depend on breading for the crispy crust. But in many low-carb recipes crushed pork rinds make a bread crust and bread crumb alternative. In this simple recipe, chicken breasts are marinated overnight in the brine from a simple jar of pickles. The marinated chicken breasts are dipped in egg white and rolled in pork rinds before frying in peanut oil, or any other heart healthy oil. Use this chicken in other wrap recipes as well.
14. Cauliflower Hash Egg Cups
Carb free, high fiber cauliflower is mixed with panko bread crumbs and egg to form cups to hold an egg and cheese filling in this low-carb take on hash browns. Lightly steamed, chopped cauliflower subs for potatoes in this simple recipe that has only a few carbs from the seasoned breadcrumbs. The cauliflower cups are baked, not fried, in muffin tins for a quick breakfast meal that’s low in calories and fat as well as carbs. No flavor lacking here!
15. High Fat Low-carb Egg Salad For Egg Fast
For many low-carb dieters, a ketogenic egg fast rich in fats such as butter and coconut oil can be a way to kick start a weight loss program. Sticking to a short term egg-based diet that’s high in healthy fats and low in carbs can help dieters drop pounds without feeling hungry, and this egg salad fills the bill. Homemade mayonnaise with coconut oil and mustard adds flavor to chopped boiled eggs in this fast, simple recipe. Make a big batch and have it for the whole week!
16. Red Spinach and Mushroom Frittata
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with antioxidants and fiber. It’s a key ingredient in many recipes based on eggs – a protein rich food containing biotin, zeaxanthan and other key nutrients. In this quick addition to the list of low-carb foods, sweet red spinach adds a special touch to this mushroom rich frittata that gets extra flavor from garlic, onions and a sprinkling of rosemary on top.This recipe is not only healthy but a beautiful dish to start your day with.
17. Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
Taking just 20 minutes to make, this take on authentic Thai chicken gets a few carbs from rice but this mixture of chicken, lemon grass, onions and spices stays low-carb thanks to its lettuce wrapping. Fish sauce, lime juice and ginger add a traditional Thai flavor and the mixture can be spooned into lettuce leaves to eat by hand or scooped with a spoon for an easy low-carb fast food for lunch.
18. Grilled Chicken Souvlaki With Yogurt Sauce
Lean, high-protein chicken breast is marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar and spices, then lightly grilled in this souvlaki-style recipe that’s paleo and Atkins friendly. The chicken strips are dipped in a tangy, calcium rich sauce made from Greek yogurt, lemon juice and garlic for a simple, quick to make, low-carb meal.
19. Low-Carb Zucchini-Pizzen Mit Italianischer Salami
High in fiber and low in calories and carbs, zucchini is a versatile ingredient in low-carb foods. Here, sliced zucchini substitutes for the crust in these little pizzas topped with spicy Italian sausage and shredded Mozzarella cheese. Generously seasoned with oregano, salt and pepper, they’re baked until tender for a low-carb, low calorie snack or meal. Easy to pop right in your mouth and enjoy on the go!
20. Easy Curried Carrot Slaw With Smoky Maple Tempeh Triangles
Vitamin A-rich carrots and heart healthy walnuts are mixed with onions and a touch of cayenne pepper in a low calorie vegan salad. Tempeh slices fried with liquid smoke, tamari and maple syrup add a protein rich topping. For a zestier flavor, add a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for a low-carb, high protein lunch or dinner. You’re going to want to make this hearty meal all the time!
More low-carb fast foods on the next page…
21. Zucchini Pie
Who needs noodles to make a lasagna style pie? Not you! Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that’s almost always in plentiful supply – and this easy “pie” blends it with other healthy ingredients for a fiber rich one pan meal that gets a boost of healthy protein from eggs and cheeses. Onions add a dash of flavor, and only a few carbs come from a bit of baking mix for thickening. Substitute yellow squash if you like instead of zucchini in this low-carb meal that’s baked to a golden brown, then served hot.
22. Low-carb French Fries
French fries are a fast food favorite, but they’re high in carbs, fat and calories. Typical vegetarian alternatives are usually made from sweet potatoes, but they’re a relatively high carb vegetable as well. This low-carb version is made with rutabagas, which keeps the carb and calorie count low while adding healthy fiber and vitamins. Rutabagas are sliced into thick “fries” and coated with a mixture of olive oil and spices before baking. Paired with a creamy yogurt sauce for dipping, they’re a spicy, healthy alternative to standard fast food fare that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
23. Low-carb Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Mushrooms
Portobello mushrooms are a staple of paleo, vegetarian and low-carb cooking. Rich in vitamin D and thick enough to substitute for steak, portobellos can also add flavor and texture to meat dishes like this one. Portobello caps make a sturdy, low-carb container for a mixture of deli roast beef and spices that echoes the traditional Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. Lean beef provides essential iron, B vitamins and protein. Sliced Provolone cheese adds calcium and flavor to these stuffed mushroom caps for a fast, low-carb meal. And think of all the things you can do with aa portobello bun in the future…
Related: Best paleo pizza recipes you’ll love
24. Low-carb Buttermilk Waffles
Baking goes low-carb with substitutes such as hazelnut, almond and coconut flours which are higher in vitamins and oils, and gluten free. Here, the high carb count in traditional waffles is slashed in this quick recipe that replaces standard white flour with a combination of almond and coconut flours- so much more flavor and none of the carbs! Unsweetened coconut milk (or almond milk, if you prefer) and a bit of apple cider vinegar add that buttermilk taste, and low cab erythritol or coconut sugar provide a hint of sweetness for a low-carb take on a standard breakfast favorite.
25. Texas Chicken Nachos
Spicy, cheesy nachos are a Mexican food favorite, but they’re high in carbs thanks to the tortilla chips. This low-carb version substitutes baked chicken tenders seasoned with traditional Mexican spices in place of the chips. Topped with cheese, crumbled bacon and green onions, this protein rich substitute captures the flavor of traditional tortilla chip nachos with more lean protein and calcium – and almost no carbs. Add sliced jalapeno peppers to the topping for a spicier taste for a perfect low-carb fast food for lunch.
26. Low-Carb Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Everybody loves pizza, but the high carb bread crust makes it off limits for carb conscious diners. Cauliflower, that high fiber, low-carb substitute for rice, pasta and potatoes, can also be used to make “breads” that are virtually carb free. Here, lightly steamed cauliflower florets are chopped in a food processor, drained and mixed with seasonings, mozzarella cheese and an egg, then baked. Add your favorite toppings for a low-carb fast food option that’s guilt and carb free. Pick up and take a bite- you’ll be in love!
27. Lettuce Wrapped Cheeseburgers
Lean beef mixed with ketchup and oregano makes a healthy, high protein burger that’s kept low-carb by substituting high fiber butter lettuce leaves for traditional burger buns. Topped with cheese, pickle relish and the usual toppings, these burgers are a low-carb substitute for traditional cheeseburgers. Don’t like beef? Make these low carb fast food burgers with chicken or turkey instead. With everything wrapped up nicely in a lettuce leaf, it is easy to eat these on the go!
28. Spaghetti Squash And Meatballs
Spaghetti squash is high in vitamins A and C and has just 42 calories per cup. It fills in for high carb pasta in this recipe that adds beef or turkey meatballs and cheese to baked spaghetti sqash halves. It is so easy to make that you will be amazed! Top them with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese for a very low-carb and low calorie variation on traditional spaghetti and meatballs.
29. Chocolate Hazelnut Protein Waffles
Traditional waffles are high in carbs and also contain gluten, which can be a problem for some. These low-carb alternatives are also gluten free, thanks to the substitution of coconut flour and hazelnut meal. Chocolate protein powder adds protein and a rich chocolate taste, and the hazelnut flavor get s a boost from a bit of hazelnut extract. Stevia and erythritol add a dash of low-carb sweetness to this quick low-carb fast food idea. Who ever would have thought that you could have such a tasty dish on a low carb diet?!
30. Bacon Wrapped Avocadoes
Avocados are a key ingredient in low-carb cooking, thanks to their high content of Omega 3 fatty acids and creamy texture. This simple avocado recipe has just two main ingredients: fresh avocados and bacon slices. The bacon wrapped avocado slices are rolled in a mixture of brown sugar and chili powder for added flavor in this easy to make recipe. The dish gets a dash of sweetness and just a few carbs from a bit of brown sugar, but a baked avocado wrapped in strips of lean, high protein bacon keep this appetizer low in carbs overall. You are going to want to pop all of these in your mouth immediately after making them- beware!
More low-carb fast food ideas on the next page…
31. 3 Ingredient Paleo Flatbread
The high carb content of most breads make them off limits for those on paleo and low-carb plans, and finding substitutes can be a challenge. This paleo and low-carb-friendly flatbread requires just three main ingredients and a few herbs for flavor. Coconut flour substitutes for traditional wheat flour to keep the carb count low, and egg whites and baking powder round out the ingredient list. These baked flatbreads can be used as sandwich wraps, pizza crusts and more.
32. Bacon Lettuce Tomato Spring Roll
Blending the traditional BLT with the style of Vietnamese spring rolls, this recipe relies on rice paper to hold the fillings, which include lettuce, lean fried bacon, and tomatoes. Seasonings and avocado can be added for more nutrition and flavor. Dip the wraps in a sesame soy dipping sauce with a bit of mayonnaise for a creamy texture for a tasty addition to a low-carb eating plan. You will want to use this dressing in more recipes!
33. Riceless Soy Free Sushi
This alternative to traditional Japanese sushi features heart healthy salmon and shrimp, plus an assortment of fruits and vegetables including jicama, mango and avocado for a paleo friendly low-carb diet idea. Wasabi powder (or coconut aminos) adds flavor, and the entire roll is wrapped in a sheet of nori, the nutritious seaweed used in traditional sushi. An extremely creative dish that is luckily low carb!
34. Shawarma Chicken Bowls With Basil-Lemon Vinaigrette
Sea salt and lemon juice lend flavor to this low-carb and paleo friendly chicken recipe which features chicken breast cut into strips and marinated with garlic, curry, cumin and a bit of coriander. The cooked chicken strips are added to a salad of fresh greens, avocado and tomatoes and topped with vinaigrette of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil leaves for a quick and healthy meal.
35. Watercress with Seared Prosciutto and Peaches
Peaches wrapped in prosciutto slices and cooked until browned make a quick, low-carb salad when placed on a bed of tender watercress greens and topped with chopped pistachios. Drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, this recipe blends the natural sweetness of peaches with the lean protein of prosciutto for a low-carb treat. Sweet, salty and savory- what more could you need?!
36. Thai Stuffed Avocados
Avocados are full of healthy Omega 3 oils and protein. Here, they’re stuffed with a mixture of hummus, cream cheese and chili garlic sauce, then topped with sprouts, peanuts and spicy sriracha sauce for a Thai inspired meal that’s rich in healthy oils and protein, but very low in carbs. Total preparation time for this low-carb fast food meal is just ten minutes- you can’t beat that!
37. Shrimp and Cauliflower Salad
Cauliflower is a versatile, “go-to” vegetable in low-carb cooking, able to substitute for many high carb foods such as rice and pasta. In this simple recipe, this high fiber, cruciferous veggie combines with just two other main ingredients – shrimp and cucumber – for a quick low-carb salad. Cooked shrimp is tossed with lightly cooked cauliflower and cucumbers in a quick salad seasoned with lemon and dill. Full of flavor, low in carbs- just the way you like it!
38. Kale and Mushroom Spaghetti Squash Quiche
Kale is a leafy green vegetable high in nutrients including Vitamins A, C and K. Her, it’s mixed with chopped mushrooms and eggs for a low-carb, low calorie take on traditional quiche. The breadless “crust” is made from the sweet, noodle like strands of spaghetti squash, baked until tender and mixed with thyme and garlic for a low-carb diet alternative to standard bread style crusts (and much tastier!). Add a variety of veggies to make this quiche your own.
39. Tempeh ‘Bread” and My Kitchen Sink Sandwich
Versatile, high protein tempeh substitutes for bread in a sandwich that includes an assortment of vegetables, guacamole and mustard for flavor. A block of prepared tempeh is cut into bread-style slices, then baked for about ten minutes until firm and brown. Sandwich fillings are layered between slices of tempeh “bread” for a hearty sandwich that’s not only low in carbs, but also gluten-free and vegan friendly. The possibilities of this sandwich are endless!
40. Simple Crab Salad Stuffed Tomatoes
Like just about all seafood, crab is high in protein and rich in healthy oils. Combined with Paleo style mayonnaise and stuffed into a ripe tomato, it makes a hearty low-carb fast food lunch that’s also low in calories. Topped with parsley or sliced green onions, this simple lunch is easy to make and pack in a lunch box. If tomatoes don’t appeal to you, substitute bell peppers or cucumber cups.
41. Ultimate Clean and Lean Lettuce Wrap
Lean meats of your choice are wrapped in fresh, vitamin rich lettuce leaves with a bit of hummus and cucumber for a very simple, lean meal that works as a low-carb fast food lunch. Choose sturdy lettuce varieties with large leaves to contain all ingredients without spilling, and experiment with whatever ingredients are in the fridge. Top the fillings with a sprinkle of paprika for a dash of spice and flavor. These are perfect for the lunch box or on an appetizer tray at a party.
42. Paleo Sausage Egg “McMuffin”
The Egg McMuffin is a fast food icon, but its high fat and carb content aren’t so appealing to anyone on a low-carb diet. This low-carb and paleo friendly version skips the “muffin” part entirely and sandwiches a browned sausage patty between two firmly co0oked eggs. These “McMuffins” are sturdy enough to eat with your hands and virtually carb free. Biscuit cutters keep sausage patties and eggs uniform and perfectly shaped. Putting the egg on the outside of the sandwich is innovative and delicious!
43. BLT Lettuce Wraps
The BLT is a deli staple – but the signature ingredients of bacon, lettuce and tomato are typically served inside two slices of high carb bread. This version makes the list of low-carb fast food ideas by letting the lettuce wrap the remaining ingredients. Cooked bacon and tomato slices topped with mayonnaise and salt and pepper make a simple, low-carb lunch with all the flavor of the original BLT- you’ll never even miss the bread!
44. Vietnamese Shrimp (Prawn) Noodle Salad
Matchstick vegetables, bean sprouts and garlic shrimp make a Vietnamese style salad that’s low in carbs even with a few rice noodles. Plump shrimp are fried in garlic and olive oil, than tossed with lettuce, vegetables and sprouts. A slightly sweet, garlic rich dressing spiced with chili and lime adds flavor to this low-carb, low calorie salad rich in heart healthy protein. Make the dressing in large batches so all you have to do is pour it on and go!
45. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Celery and blue cheese add flavor to this buffalo chicken recipe served in cups of sturdy iceberg lettuce leaves. High fiber celery and celery seed are both added to cooked shredded chicken and tangy wing sauce. Topped with crumbled blue cheese and creamy ranch dressing, these wraps offer a low calorie take on traditional buffalo chicken wings that fit perfectly into a low-carb diet.
46. Gyro Salad
Gyros are a Greek style fast food favorite, but the pita bread wrap adds far too many to suit many low-carb diets. But this gyro salad “deconstructs” the traditional gyro, keeping the tangy Greek seasonings and tender lamb without the carbs. Seasoned lamb tops a bed of fresh salad greens instead of a pita wrap, and homemade mayonnaise replaces yogurt for a non-dairy, practically carb-free version of the standard gyro. All these incredible homemade components just can’t be beat!
47. Skinny Omelette
Eggs are packed with protein and key nutrients such as biotin and zeaxanthan, but traditional omelet recipes typically also add calories and carbs. This omelet recipe stays “skinny” with the addition of mixed salad greens, pesto and chives for flavor. Tangy goat cheese (or feta if you’d rather) substitutes for higher fat cheddar and adds calcium, too. The entire dish is quick, gluten and carb free. It will also make your mouth sing with joy as you take each bite!
48. Prosciutto Wrapped Min Frittata Muffins
Thin sliced prosciutto or Parma sausage makes the “muffin” base for these individual frittatas. Made with plenty of mushrooms and spinach and heart healthy coconut which subs for all the flour and oil in this recipe. Each muffin cup is filled with a slice of prosciutto and topped with the frittata mixture, then baked until golden brown to make a simple, low-carb fast food for lunch. Easy to pick up and pop into your mouth!
49. Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad
Nutrient rich broccoli is packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that can boost the immune system and ward off diseases including cancer. It takes center stage in this simple salad recipe that combines quick-cooked broccoli with a homemade sweet and sour sauce and heart healthy toasted cashews. Green scallions and black sesame seeds round out this quick, low-carb fast food for lunch ( or dinner…or maybe even breakfast!)
50. Peachy Pork Lettuce Wraps and Cherry Tomatoes
Ripe peaches add a little sweetness and vitamins to tender roasted pork in this simple lettuce wrap garnished with bright cherry tomatoes. Sturdy iceberg lettuce (romaine would work as well!) leaves are filled with pork slices topped with peach slices and strips of red onions for a low-carb and easy lunchtime meal. Peach jam or even a drizzle of peach juice can substitute for fresh peaches to add that dash of sweet flavor for a low-carb lunch.
Fast Food the Low-carb Way
The staples of low-carb cooking – lean protein, lots of fresh vegetables and healthy oils – can be combined in endless ways to create low-carb foods that mimic the taste and texture of just about any restaurant fare with only a fraction of the carbs and fat of the originals. You don’t need that fast food from take out restaurants anymore! Low-carb fast food cooking challenges traditional ways of preparing meals and eating out. But, with a little planning and some preparation, just about any cook can create healthier and more nutritious restaurant favorites at home.
With imaginative new uses for lettuce, cauliflower and more unusual ingredients like tempeh, carb-conscious cooks around the world are creating low-carb dishes that are just as fast and better for you. These are all meals you will be happy to eat!