The Whole30 diet plan is less of a diet and more of an experiment in healthful living. Participants embark on a month-long journey wherein they can only eat meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. Added sugar, grains, dairy, alcohol, and legumes are all off-limits.
It’s hard to believe that you can eat at a fast-food restaurant on a strict diet, but even the most decadent fast-food chains have adapted their menus to accommodate dietary needs.
Many fast-food restaurants don’t explicitly state that their menu items are Whole30 compliant but are willing to make special orders. That way, it’s a win-win for fast-food businesses and customers alike. Fast food restaurants can still make profits while customers can still get their fast-food fix.
Fast Food Restaurants with Whole30 Options
If you’re on or about to begin the Whole30 journey, you can check out my list of fast-food restaurants with Whole30 options to start planning your weekly meal plan.
Chipotle is a fast-casual Mexican-style grill where large mission-style burritos, tacos, salads, and bowls are prepared in front of you.
All ingredients for every menu item are on display, and each menu item is completely customizable.
Incidentally, this is perfect for Whole30 compliance because you see all the prepared ingredients laid out before you, knowing which ingredients align with your diet.
Since legumes, dairy, and grains are out, I ordered a Chipotle salad with leafy romaine lettuce, steak, guacamole, red onions, tomatoes, cilantro, pico de gallo, and a red or green salsa instead of salad dressings to rule out added sugar.
Chipotle recently added cauliflower rice to their menu, which is a huge win for anyone doing Whole30!
Panera Bread started as an independent neighborhood bakery in St. Louis in 1987, selling scratch-made bread and artisanal sandwiches.
Today, Panera Bread is a wildly popular bakery and casual spot for healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinner, with locations in 48 states, Canada, and Mexico.
Bread and grains are completely off-limits for the Whole30 program, but Panera’s massive menu of whole foods like salads, warm bowls, and sides is adaptable enough to comply with the rules.
Panera’s salads can all be compliant with Whole30 by removing specific ingredients and opting for an olive oil and vinegar dressing.
I loved their Fuji Apple Salad with grilled chicken, arugula, baby kale, red leaf, grape tomatoes, and toasted pecan. I just ask them to omit the gorgonzola and sub the apple chips with real apple slices.
Five Guys is a family-owned burger joint and bar that started in Washington D.C. in 1986.
Owner and couple Janie and Jerry Murrell had a simple concept of fresh, never frozen beef hamburgers and brats and simple yet fresh ingredients for made-to-order hand-helds.
They brought their five kids into the business who have since taken over what has become a massive franchise.
I went for the bacon hot dog, sans bun, topped with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, jalapeno peppers, and green bell peppers.
Originating in 1948, In-N-Out Burger came to be during the first major wave of mass car ownership during the post-WWII baby boom era.
Owner Harry Snyder took full advantage of the automobile craze by making In-N-Out Burger California’s first drive-thru burger stand.
Today, In-N-Out Burger is still committed to the same fresh, quality ingredients that characterized their simple menu items. The menu has also stayed the same, offering only burgers, fries, and milkshakes.
They have added some “not so secret” menu items like a grilled cheese sandwich and veggie patties.
The secret menu item that benefits the Whole30 plan is their protein-style burgers, which are beef patties and raw veggies wrapped in lettuce instead of buns.
Red Lobster owner Bill Darden opened Red Lobster in 1968 in a small Florida town, intending to offer freshly caught seafood at an affordable price in an all-inclusive atmosphere.
Over 50 years later, there are more than 700 Red Lobsters worldwide.
Red Lobster has a massive menu of seafood sourced from sustainable and high-quality purveyors and served in a myriad of different dishes. Fresh seafood is a great Whole30 option as a great source of lean protein.
As long as you select a seafood dish that isn’t breaded and fried, there are dozens of options, from salads to entrees.
I loved the wild-caught crab legs that I ordered with a side of green beans and a plain baked potato.
Another Florida-based restaurant chain, Outback Steakhouse, is a classic American Steakhouse with a casual, family-friendly atmosphere and an Australian theme.
Owners and friends Chris Sullivan, Trudy Cooper, and Tim Gannon wanted to create an unpretentious, affordable, and fun steakhouse accessible to all budgets and ages.
Outback Steakhouse has high-quality cuts of steak and seafood options that fall under Whole30 rules.
It’s important to tell your server that you don’t want any meat cooked in butter, which is easy to do since most steaks and seafood are grilled over open flames.
I went for the utterly decadent bone-in ribeye steak topped with steamed lobster tail. It comes with a baked potato, which I ordered with green onions only.
Chick-Fil-A has a long and colorful history born of true Southern entrepreneurship.
Founder S. Truett Cathy owned a diner called the Dwarf Grill for 30 years, where he perfected the chicken sandwich that we all know and love today.
Cathy knew his chicken recipe was a winner, opening the first Chick-Fil-A in 1967.
While the original chicken sandwich is a tender breaded breast sandwich with pickles, Chick-Fil-A has since expanded its menu to include more sandwiches and salads.
Their Whole 30 compliant menu items include grilled chicken nuggets, grilled fish filets, and grilled chicken salads.
My favorite salad is the Market Fresh salad with grilled chicken or filet, green apple slices, roasted almonds, blueberries, and strawberries on a bed of greens. Just be sure to ask for no granola or blue cheese.
Subway’s motto has always been about providing the healthiest fast-food options possible.
If you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, you probably remember their wildly successful commercials featuring a man who lost half his body weight while eating subway sandwiches for every meal.
Like Chipotle, Subway prepares your sandwich in front of you as you choose which ingredients you want.
While bread isn’t an option for Whole30, Subway has a wholly customizable salad option, where you choose the meat, veggies, and sauces you want.
I like to turn the roast beef sandwich into a salad with every veggie ingredient and a drizzle of oil and vinegar.
Opened in Irving, California, in 1962 by Glen Bell, Taco Bell is Mexican inspired fast-food chain with a unique style and over-the-top menu items.
Especially popular with teens and young adults, Taco Bell might be the most decadent establishment on my list.
While you might wonder how any menu item can be Whole30 compliant, there are a few hacks you can use to get a Taco Bell fix in.
The only way to eliminate beans, cheese, corn, and wheat flour at Taco Bell is by ordering a power bowl.
I chose the power menu bowl with extra lettuce instead of rice and beans, plus grilled chicken, tomatoes, guacamole, and peppers.
Fast Food Restaurants with Whole30 Options
- Panera Bread
- Five Guys
- In-N-Out Burger
- Red Lobster
- Outback Steakhouse
- Taco Bell
The Whole30 program takes the utmost discipline and willpower. You might feel like you should hole up inside your home and refuse all invitations to share a meal with friends to avoid temptation.
Luckily, even fast-food chains are sympathetic to dietary restrictions. You can head to the drive-thru or have a social meal at your favorite fast-food chain guilt-free while still sticking to the Whole30 plan.
If you dine at any restaurant on my list, you can find tasty and satisfying Whole30 fast food options.
If you’re following a different diet, check out our favorite keto fast food options!
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