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The 20 Best High-Protein Fast Food Meals

Take a bite out of these protein-rich fast-food meals, recommended by a registered dietitian.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Fast food may not be the first thing on your mind if you want a healthier meal. However, fast food is sometimes the best option due to its accessibility and affordability when you're in a hurry. Thankfully, if protein is a nutrient you're trying to focus on for your health, there are some decent high-protein fast-food options out there for you to enjoy, from sandwiches to salads to burgers.

"The following fast-food entrees are actually great sources of protein, which is important for building and repairing lean muscle, as well as keeping hunger at bay," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD. "Protein helps get you full faster and stay full longer, making it necessary to include at every meal, not just post-workout." Along with increasing satiety and building muscle, protein can also help boost metabolism, prevent injury, and support your immune system. The benefits of protein are truly endless.

But how much protein should we aim for when it comes to getting enough at every meal? According to Goodson, "The goal is to include 20–30 grams of high-quality protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

If you want to order a fast-food meal, try one of the following high-protein options. They can help you meet your protein goals for the day. Read on, then check out 20 Healthy Fast-Food Orders.

McDonald's McDouble (22 grams protein)

mcdonald's mcdouble
Nutrition (Per burger):
Calories: 400
Fat: 20 g (Saturated Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 1 g)
Sodium: 920 mg
Carbs: 33 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 7 g)
Protein: 22 g

The McDonald's McDouble certainly isn't considered "healthy," but it is a delicious way to get 22 grams of protein in your meal. The 9 grams of saturated fat aren't ideal, seeing as the American Heart Association recommends no more than around 13 grams per day, but this number is low when you compare it to other McDonald's sandwiches.

 The Entire McDonald's Menu, Ranked by Nutrition

Burger King Double Cheeseburger (24 grams protein)

Burger King double cheeseburger
Burger King
Nutrition (Per burger):
Calories: 400
Fat: 21 g (Saturated Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 0.5 g)
Sodium: 810 mg
Carbs: 32 g (Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 24 g

If Burger King is your fast food joint of choice, you have a few options for a higher protein meal. For instance, the Burger King Double Cheeseburger has 24 grams of protein per sandwich, which fits into Goodson's recommendation of sticking between 20 and 30 grams per meal. However, because the saturated fat and sodium are decently high, you may want to skip the fries with this one.

 The Best & Worst Menu Items at Burger King

Wendy's Cobb Salad (36 grams protein)

Plate of Wendy's Cobb Salad
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 420
Fat: 23 g (Saturated Fat: 8 g)
Sodium: 960 mg
Carbs: 16 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 36 g

"Packing in 36 grams of protein and just 420 calories, the Wendy's Cobb Salad is an excellent high-protein choice for those seeking a nutritious meal on the go," says Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD.

"This substantial protein content, derived from diverse sources like grilled chicken, chopped eggs, and smoked bacon, aids in muscle repair and maintenance while also promoting satiety, which can help manage hunger and reduce the likelihood of overeating later," Sabat says.

 All of Wendy's Burgers & Sandwiches—Ranked by Nutrition

Arby's Classic Roast Beef (23 grams protein)

Arby's Roast Beef Classic
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 360
Fat: 14 g (Saturated Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 0.5 g)
Sodium: 970 mg
Carbs: 37 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 23 g

According to Sabat, the Arby's Classic Roast Beef Sandwich is a great fast-food choice "because it offers a substantial amount of protein—23 grams—while maintaining a moderate calorie count at 360 calories."

She notes, "This protein-rich option can help satiate hunger and provide sustained energy, making it ideal for those with busy lifestyles who need quick yet nutritious meals. The high protein content benefits muscle repair and growth, especially if you're physically active. Furthermore, protein is essential for various bodily functions, including hormone production and immune response."

 The Best & Worst Menu Items at Arby's

Chick-fil-A Grilled Market Salad (28 grams protein)

Chick-fil-A market salad high-protein
Courtesy of Chick-fil-A
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 320
Fat: 12 g (Saturated Fat: 3 g)
Sodium: 560 mg
Carbs: 26 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 28 g

If a salad with plenty of protein and vegetables is the route you want to go, try the Chick-fil-A Market Salad with grilled chicken. Its 28 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber will work together to fill you up faster and longer. We also appreciate that this fast-food order is much lower in sodium than many other options.

 12 Healthy Chick-fil-A Orders

Subway Rotisserie-Style 'No Bready' Bowl (31 grams protein)

Subway bowl on a white background
Nutrition (Per bowl):
Calories: 220
Fat: 8 g (Saturated Fat: 3 g)
Sodium: 810 mg
Carbs: 8 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 31 g

Subway isn't just a place for subs. They also offer salads and protein bowls, which are great options when you want something healthier and more nutrient-dense. This Rotisserie-Style Bowl offers 31 grams of protein for only 220 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat—something that is very hard to find at many fast food restaurants.

 9 Healthiest Subway Sandwiches To Order

Taco Bell Burrito Supreme Chicken (16 grams protein)

Taco Bell Burrito Supreme on a white background
Taco Bell
Nutrition (Per burrito):
Calories: 400
Fat: 14 g (Saturated Fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 1,160 mg
Carbs: 51 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 16 g

Heading to Taco Bell may often result in a Crunchwrap Supreme or Bacon Chalupa, but a Chicken Burrito Supreme can help if you need something lighter. This one is just under the recommended 20 grams of protein per meal, but you can add a side of black beans and rice for four extra grams and a fiber boost.

 9 Healthiest Dishes to Order at Taco Bell

Panera Green Goddess Chicken Cobb Salad (40 grams protein)

Green Goddess Salad from Panera
Panera Bread
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 490
Fat: 27 g (Saturated Fat: 6 g)
Sodium: 1,160 mg
Carbs: 24 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 40 g

Panera has a ton of sandwiches, soups, and salads, but one of their most nutritious and protein-heavy options is their Green Goddess Chicken Cobb Salad, which has 40 grams of protein for under 500 calories.

"This high protein content, sourced primarily from chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and Greek yogurt, supports muscle repair and growth and helps sustain energy levels throughout the day," says Sabat. "Additionally, the 7 grams of fiber from ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado enhance satiety and aid digestion."

She also notes, "The Green Goddess dressing, made with healthy fats from oils and enriched with herbs, provides a refreshing taste while contributing beneficial fats."

 The 15 Healthiest Menu Items at Panera

Einstein Bros Bagels Turkey Sausage & Cheddar Egg Sandwich (27 grams protein)

Einstein breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg, and cheese
Einstein Bros.
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 490
Fat: 18 g (Saturated Fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 1,020 mg
Carbs: 57 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 27 g

Einstein Bros Bagels is the place to be when you need a high-protein fast-food breakfast on the go. They're known for their bagels and shmears, but they also have delicious breakfast sandwich options that can help you get that protein boost first thing in the morning. One of our favorites on their menu is the Turkey Sausage & Cheddar Egg Sandwich.

The sodium in this sandwich is definitely on the higher end, but that is what is to be expected with most fast food orders. Because it's made with turkey instead of red meat, this high-protein sandwich contains less saturated fat than some of the other menu items.

Chipotle Wholesome Lifestyle Bowl (35 grams protein)

chipotle wholesome lifestyle bowl
Nutrition (Per bowl):
Calories: 460
Fat: 29 g
Carbs: 18 g
Protein: 35 g

You can build your own burritos, bowls, tacos, salads, or quesadillas at Chipotle, but this chain also has a line of Lifestyle Bowls, which are premade bowls made to fit certain dietary plans and goals like Whole30, keto, plant-based, etc. One of their bowls—the Wholesome Bowl—is a deliciously healthy meal of lettuce, chicken, fajita veggies, salsa, and guacamole. This bowl is only 460 calories and has 35 grams of protein.

"This nutritional composition makes it particularly appealing for those following low-carb or ketogenic diets, as well as anyone aiming to increase their protein intake without significantly boosting their calorie or carbohydrate consumption," says Sabat. High protein content is essential for muscle repair, growth, and overall satiety, which can help manage appetite and reduce cravings between meals."

Chick-Fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich (28 grams protein)

Grilled chicken sandwich Chick-fil-A
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 390
Fat: 12 g (Saturated Fat: 2 g)
Sodium: 770 mg
Carbs: 44 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 12 g)
Protein: 28 g

For those who love Chick-fil-A but aren't in the mood for their Market Salad, their Grilled Chicken Sandwich is another healthier option. With almost 30 grams of protein and only 2 grams of saturated fat, you'll satisfy your cravings while simultaneously being able to stick to your health goals.

Starbucks Turkey Bacon, Cheddar & Egg White Sandwich (17 grams protein)

starbucks' turkey bacon, cheddar, and egg white sandwich
Courtesy of Starbucks
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 230
Fat: 5 g (Saturated Fat: 2.5 g)
Sodium: 560 mg
Carbs: 28 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 17 g

This breakfast sandwich from Starbucks is a perfect high-protein fast food option because it's lower in sodium, calories, total fat, and saturated fat than many other fast food sandwiches. Even though its 17 grams of protein is right under the recommended 20 grams, you'll still have some nutritional wiggle room to add a side of nuts or avocado.

 The Entire Starbucks Breakfast Menu—Ranked!

Wendy's Grilled Chicken Wrap (27 grams protein)

Wendy's grilled chicken wrap on a white background
Nutrition (Per wrap):
Calories: 420
Fat: 16 g (Saturated Fat: 5 g)
Sodium: 1,170 mg
Carbs: 42 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 2 g)
Protein: 27 g

Wendy's is home to some of the unhealthiest, fattiest, most caloric burgers and sandwiches ever—we're looking at you, Big Bacon Classic Triple Burger, which has over 1,200 calories. But even though this fast-food chain has its fair share of scary choices, it also provides a couple of healthier, high-protein menu items, like its Grilled Chicken Wrap.

This wrap has less than 420 calories and only 5 grams of saturated fat, but it still provides 27 grams of protein to help sustain you and keep you full.

Arby's Roast Beef Gyro (24 grams protein)

Roast Beef Gyro
Courtesy of Arby's
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 540
Fat: 29 g (Saturated Fat: 7 g, Trans Fat: 1 g)
Sodium: 1,300 mg
Carbs: 48 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 5 g)
Protein: 24 g

Arby's is known for its roast beef sandwiches, meaning many of its menu options are higher in saturated fat because of the quantity of red meat. However, we love this lighter Roast Beef Gyro option. It still has a bit more than half of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat, but with 3 grams of fiber and 24 grams of protein, this is a good fast food option that will leave you feeling full and satisfied afterward.

 11 Best & Worst Sandwiches at Arby's, According to Dietitians

Taco Bell Chicken Cantina Bowl (25 grams protein)

chicken rice bowl from Taco Bell on a white background
Taco Bell
Nutrition (Per bowl):
Calories: 490
Fat: 24 g (Saturated Fat: 7 g)
Sodium: 1,150 mg
Carbs: 44 g (Fiber: 11 g, Sugar: 3 g)
Protein: 25 g

This Cantina Chicken Bowl from Taco Bell delivers a hefty 25 grams of protein. The sodium is a bit high here, at 1,150 milligrams, but what we can't ignore about this bowl is that it provides 11 grams of fiber!

Fiber is tough to find in fast-food orders because it comes from vegetables, grains, beans, and legumes. However, this Taco Bell bowl gives you a nice dose of this nutrient, which means you'll feel more full and satiated after eating—especially when combined with the protein you're getting, too!

Panera Tuna Salad Sandwich (24 grams protein)

Panera Tuna Salad
Panera Bread
Nutrition (Per whole sandwich):
Calories: 550
Fat: 29 g (Saturated Fat: 4.5 g)
Sodium: 1,060 mg
Carbs: 50 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 24 g

The Panera Tuna Salad Sandwich "is a commendable, high-protein choice for lunch on the go, offering 24 grams of protein and 550 calories," says Sabat. "This amount of protein is substantial, aiding in maintaining muscle mass and promoting satiety, which can help manage hunger and reduce the likelihood of snacking later." She adds that not only does this sandwich provide protein, it also has 4 grams of fiber, which can contribute to digestive health and further enhance the feeling of fullness."

 Every Panera Sandwich—Ranked by Nutrition

Carl's Jr. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich (33 grams protein)

Carl's Jr high-protein fast food
Courtesy of Carl's Jr.
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 400
Fat: 40 g (Saturated Fat: 5 g, Trans Fat: 1 g)
Sodium: 1,330 mg
Carbs: 57 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 13 g)
Protein: 33 g

A fast food meal with lower levels of saturated fat is hard to come by, especially when it also contains 33 grams of protein as well. The amount of sodium in this Carl's Jr. BBQ Chicken Sandwich isn't the best (it's about half of the daily recommended max), but the calories, fat, and protein are hard to beat.

 The 18 Best & Worst Menu Items at Carl's Jr.

Chipotle Chicken Salad With Lettuce, Fajita Vegetables, & Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa (37 grams protein)

chipotle salad
Nutrition (Per salad):
Calories: 505
Fat: 25 g
Carbs: 40 g
Protein: 37 g

It's a satisfying feeling to go to Chipotle and load up on a burrito or burrito bowl with the exact ingredients you're craving, but a healthier, high-protein option at this Tex-Mex restaurant is to go for a chicken salad. With 37 grams of protein, you'll leave feeling satiated and with energy to last you the rest of the afternoon.

Panera Deli Turkey Sandwich (35 grams protein)

Panera Deli Turkey sandwich
Panera Bread
Nutrition (Per whole sandwich):
Calories: 560
Fat: 12 g (Saturated Fat: 2 g)
Sodium: 1,690 mg
Carbs: 79 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 7 g)
Protein: 35 g

Panera is known for its enormous menu of sandwiches, soups, and salads—ranging from healthy to unhealthy. When looking for a high-protein fast food meal that isn't going to break the saturated fat bank, the Deli Turkey Sandwich is an easy choice.

 Every Panera Soup—Ranked by Nutrition

Au Bon Pain Toasted Chicken & Avocado Sandwich (37 grams protein)

Au bon pain chicken avocado sandwich
Courtesy of Au Bon Pain
Nutrition (Per sandwich):
Calories: 620
Fat: 24 g (Saturated Fat: 5 g)
Sodium: 1,420 mg
Carbs: 67 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 4 g)
Protein: 37 g

Au Bon Pain is more often known for its coffee and pastries than anything else, but it also carries a wide variety of sandwiches and salads for when you need something light in a hurry. Their Toasted Chicken & Avocado Sandwich provides almost 40 grams of protein, making it a great option to help you meet your daily protein goals.

If you want to pair your sandwich with a coffee, try their brewed coffee or iced americano and add your own cream and sugar. This can give you more control over your nutrition than choosing something like the mocha latte, caramel macchiato, or chai latte.

This story has been updated to include new information, fact-checking, and copyedits.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
Sources referenced in this article
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